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Born: Margaret Melville 1928 Newtongrange

That's me as a lassieThe swimming pool is on the top of that hoosehouse now. There wiswas two upstairs bedrooms. My granny stayed in one of the bedrooms. She came from Ireland. My grandfather came over tae, but he didnae did not live long. I don’t mind much about him, but a ken ma granny know my grandmother. My granny went to Glasgow to stay. She got her own house, she wisnaewas not very auldold.

MaMy father wiswas born in 1900. He wiswas a miner and there was a man called Mungo Mackay, and mamy father came up the pit and he had a row with him. Mungo said “all right, you be out yeryour house at 5 o’clock”, and this was at 3 o’clock. So mamy mother took us down to Dalkeith to her sister's, the Andrews sisters. We stayed with them in a room. There wizwas May, Wullie, me and Elizabeth, and my mamy and dadad. MaMy father was lookin for a job. A was too wee to knowSmall to know what the argument was abootabout. He was a bad man that Mungo. We stayed for two or three months then mamy dad got a job at the Woolmet. We got a hoosehouse at 33 Whitehill Street, New Craighall. I was 8 years old. I didnae did not like it cause ma ma didnae because my mother did not like it. I liked the school alright.

That's me wi the bairnsWhen Mungo died we cam back to Nittenshort name for Newtongrange. MaMy father came back to the pit and we got the best hoose in Nittenhouse in Newtongrange. Ninth Street had the best hooseshouses. They had three bedrooms, one with a bay window and a veranda. Number 8 it wiswas, and ma faithermy father faither got a job in the pit as a contractor. He made all their wages up. He used to give me the weeSmall case with all the wages in it to carry up to the pit. They widnae widnae daewould not do that nowadays. I've still got it. I went back to Nittenshort name for Newtongrange School. Afore I went back I was staying with my Aunty Mary. MaMy mother was pregnant with Rena. I didnae ken ma mother wis havin'my mother was having a baby, and mamy uncle said “you'll never believe, this yeryour mums got another weeSmall baby”. She was in the Queen Mary and I told everybody mamy mother had a baby on the Queen Mary, the ship, that's what I thought!

I left the school at 14 and went to the carpet factory to work. The Ever-Ready came and asked if I would work wiwith them. He was a really nice man, Mr Darcy. I fancied him but I was only 14. After that I went doondown tae Newbattle where the miners stayed. There were Poles and West Country folk. They were all training to be miners and that's where I met mamy man. I worked in the kitchen serving ootout the meals. We used to just sit and talk at night. I worked in the tea bar at night. He used to come in and sit. It wisnaewas not love at first sight, but it gradually went lovely. But when I went to tell mamy mother and faitherFather they wurniewere not pleased at all, because he was a catholic and a Pole.

Bruno and me with the bairnsThey had an awfy job wiwith me. When I got married in the register office mamy sister May said come up to ma hoosemy house, and I will give you a Wedding reception at mamy place. When I went up an accordion player played here comes the bride when I went in. MaMy mother was sitting there, I was so pleased. A weeSmall while after that mamy man Bruno started greetin’. He said “I want to see your father”. He had a bottle of whiskey in his hand and I said “oh what if ma faithermy father hits him on the head wiwith it”?

So the best man went with him. Ma faitherMy father shook hands with him and said you cannycan not do nothin' abootabout it now son, so he came to the reception the way he was dressed wiwith his vest and gallusesSuspenders for trousers. He shouted “where's Wullie”, thats mamy brother, he wisnaewas not on for it either because he was an Orange man. Somebody went up for him ‘cause he stayed in Sixth Street and he came doondown. We all enjoyed oorselourself up to 4 o'clock in the mornin'. I was so happy cause they were all in and talking to Bruno.

Enjoying a family picnicBruno was in the German army during WW11, but he was left in the ditches. He was only sixteen. The Americans found him and realized he was Polish so they sent him here. Although he was not a prisoner, he was told he could not write to his people until the war was over. His people would have suffered for it if they knew he was here. He worked at the Lady VicLady Victoria Mine. The first letter he wrote they replied and asked him to come home, but he didnae did not want to because he had already met me. We went over to Poland after I had Wanda the bairnYoung Child or baby. The bairnYoung Child or baby was only two years old so we didnae did not have to pay for her. I was 20 when I got married. We got on the train and went for a meal. Coming back from the meal I was singing Tulips from Amsterdam but we didn’t know the regime had been uncoupled and we were in the wrong bit of the train. We were in the Russian bit so we had to pull the cord to stop the train. There was another couple in the same boat as us. We had to get taxis back to the station to get oorour cases and sleep at the station and wait for the next train. His family were waiting for us the day before, so we missed each other. When we eventually got to his folk's he could see them working in the fields, and instantly recognised his mother. They dropped everything and ran down, and to this day I cannot remember how I got to their house. Everybody was roarin and greetin so I gret taelaughing and crying with delight so I cried also. It was fantastic. The only thing wiswas they had naeno seen a woman smoking and drinkin. They used to say I could drink him under the table, which I could daedo. We had our ain hoosehouse in Sherwood before we went away. We had to go ootside and collect water in pales. We didnae did not have a sink. We dindae have a kitchen come to think abootabout it.

Getting the water the auld wayAll ma bairns my children bairns were born in the hoosehouse. One in Sherwood, Wanda, and two in 50 Woodburn Avenue, Robert and Elizabeth. When Bruno saw Elizabeth being born he said I would never have another cause he widnaewould not want to put me through that again. Elizabeth was the only birth he was at. Then I adopted a bairnYoung Child or baby later on. I adopted Debbie after the barins were all up, I was 47. I was in Woodburn View then. I wanted a baby. We went through Social Work and adopted Debbie who was 2 years old. We had never seen her before. That was they way it was done then, but you know, people said she looked like me. Social work visited us every week until it went to court to make it official. Before that though, the Procurator Fiscal came to the hoosehouse late at night when we were in oorour bed. I think he came to see if we were ootout and somebody was lookin' after the bairnYoung Child or baby. He came to tell us it was going to court the next week, but why would he come at that time other than to check up on us? Bruno was brilliant with the bairns and wi meChildren and with me. me. When mamy mother was fifty she had a bairnYoung Child or baby, and when I got to that age I got sterilised.

At work wi the girlsMe and Bruno had a good life. We used to go to the Sun Inn and that's where we would meet yeryour Uncle Jimmy. He used to sing The Northern Light of Old Aberdeen, that was his favourite. In our later years Bruno would not go back to Poland ‘cause his parents were not there anymore. We had a caravanette and we used to travel all over Scotland, just oorour two selves. We sold that and got a car and every week we would go somewhere in the car, but the family came with us. I wanted to go just oorour two selves. One time at the Granits the granits are a local beauty spot in the South on Midlothian near North Middleton he took no well. We managed to get home and got the doctor ootout. He’d had a slight stroke. Seven years exactly after it he took a massive one. He was paralysed all doondown the one side. They had to use hoists to lift him.

Still young at hearThe doctor told us we will never get him home. I slept in the room next to him for about six or seven weeks. This day, my son came in, and I asked him to take me home to get some washing done for me and his dad. Elizabeth sat wiwith her dad while I was away. That was the first time I had left him. I just finished and packed the case again when the phone went. It was Margaret. I just said “don’t say anything, I am coming”. When we got there I said to Bruno “you bloody bugger, you didnae did not wait for me, you had to go when I wisnaewas not there”.

The doctor and the nurses were all there when I started shouting at him. I was mad at Bruno. I felt him and he was still warm. The side that was paralysed came back to normal colour. The nurse came to take a tube out of him, and said “excuse me Bruno I am just going to take this out”. I thought that was very polite, especially after I had just been roarinshouting at him. He was taken to Purves the Funeral Director. I gave mamy daughter in law Cathy all the stuff to take doondown to dress him. New shoes that he never had on. I had said I don't want viewing, but it got mixed up and the family thought they were not getting to view. Anyhow it was sorted out. Then I went to Poland after the funeral ‘cause he said we would never go back, but I went back ten days after he was buried. They were all greetincrying and I was greetincrying. When I came back I still couldnae stop greetincould not stop crying. Doctor Wilson sent a woman from Cruse to talk to me. Even to this day I still have wee greetsmall cry. That’s fifteen years ago.

Still havin' a rare timeI went wiwith his pal Rudy though, he was a neighbour. I had a New Year's party at ma hoosemy house one year and Rudy came doondown and when he was going away he kissed me. Debbie saw him and told everybody at the party. That’s when we started seeing each other. I was with him till he died, he had cancer in the stomach. We didnae did not live together. Debbie had children coming from Romania and she asked Rudy to take me ootout the road so I went to stay with him for ten weeks, ha. Then he would come to ma hoosemy house , and then we went to Ibiza. His family still come ootout yet, especially Maria.

I still think aboot maabout my man. Then there wiz another yinwas another one. The Provident man. His wife died and he was handy. I had naeno time for him, but he was alright for getting a run to Gullane home, and oot for maout for my tea.

I have to keep going. I still travel abroad and go on cruises to this day. There are some nice men on the cruises, the waiters an’ that. Me and mamy sister go and it's a laugh. There is not a man in my life now, but I’ve got great memories from long ago.

 

 

Margaret

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Adapted by Iain Tait