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Born: Patricia Ann Keenan 1941 Piershill Edinburgh

At the ice rink in ma younger daysI was brought up in Piershill in a ground floor flat. I was the youngest of nine, but two died at infancy. There was Charles, Nancy, John, Betty, Robert, Helen and me. We had three bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchen. It was where the barracks used to be in Portobello Road. My mother Janet didnae did not work 'cause she looked after us lot. My dad Charlie was a builder's labourer. I was still at primary when he died of a heart attack. My mother had to go out to work after that. She got a job in Portobello laundry and worked there for years. She was well known. MaMy mother was a happy-go-lucky person and always good for a laugh. A bit like myself.

I was I bit of a tomboy. I was up a tree stealing apples one day and a policeman arrived. He stood at the bottom of the tree and when I saw him I threw an apple doondown at him. He caught it. When I came doon fidown from the tree I had a jumper full off apples. I had to get rid of them one by one.

I went to Parson's Green primary then Norton Park secondary. I got the belt a lot, for talking all the time. They were cruel in they days. I wid greet wiwould cry with the pain. The belt widwould go right up the wrist. At secondary I was made a prefect somehow. I was very proud of my prefect's badge. I had learned to keep my mouth shut. I was very good at art but I hated sports.

In the flats where I lived me and ma pals widmy friends would tie the door handles to the flats opposite each other together. Then we would rap on the doors and run for it. They couldnae could not open them.

I left school at 15 to work in the Leith Provident. I handed my wages over to mamy mother and I got money back for mamy tram fares. I used go to the dancing but I loved the ice-skating at Murrayfield Ice Rink. That's where I met John mamy husband. He kept knocking me doondown, giving me a wet arse. I did fancy him though. We kept meeting up at the rink. Sometimes we went to the pictures and if it was a scary film I would grab on to John's arm. He would come oot fiout from the pictures black and blue. We didnae dae did not do that too often. The last time we were at the pictures was in 1968 when we took oorour Sandra to see Dr. Doolittle.

John and me, we aye hus guid timesJohn was working on the railway as a cleaner fireman, cleaning the engines. We got married on August 15th 1959. Our son Ian was born in September 1959. These things happen. John was working in Dundee staying at a bed and breakfast. They had a wee But 'n Bensmall two roomed house in Scotland (but) the living room (ben) the bedroom next door and they let us stay there for about a year. I came back and stayed with John's mother, I didnae did not really like it in Dundee. I got on fine wi'with John's mother though, she was a great baker. John got a transfer back to Haymarket in Edinburgh. In 1961 we got a house in Woodburn Grove and have been here ever since. Sandra our daughter was born in 1963 and Ian our son in 1968. We also had a cat and a budgie. One of our pals had a big Alsatian and they were visiting one night. The budgie was flying round the living room and the Alsatian just grabbed it. John flew off his chair, grabbed the dog and took the budgie out of its mouth. The budgie was neither up nor doondown. John joined the police force in 1967. I worked in the store in Dalkeith as a clerkess. John never spoke about what went on in the force. I didnae did not worry about him though.

When John was wiwith the railways we used to go to Chesterfield to visit his stepsister for our holidays. We went by train 'cause we got free travel. One time we travelled with friends to Cromarty and fell in love with the place. We have been going there ever since. We love watching the dolphins at Channory point. Sandra our daughter is passionate about dogs. She has red and white Irish Setters she shows all over the country, including Crufts. She has rosettes all over her house. Sandra has three children Gillian, Nicola and Russell. John often took Russell up to Cromarty during the school holidays. Russell is a better fisher than me. He likes playing pool in the local pub at Cromarty. John and I were members of a number of bowling clubs. I wisnaewas not very good at it but John has some trophies though.

I worked in the Deli counter at the M & F store at Woodburn for 17 years. The chatter that went on there was constant. While I was cutting meat I would often say to them "Come on, get a move on". I had to leave because of my spondalitis Spondylitis is an inflammation of the vertebra. in my neck and arm. I think it was due to cutting the bloody meat with the cutting machine all these years with my arm going backwards and forwards. I dinnae do not miss it.

At the head o a braw familyOne day, life changed forever. I was heading for the toilet but never reached it, because I collapsed with a massive stoke. I was in hospital for three months. The stroke took away my speech, the use of my left arm and my left leg. We had great plans about what we were going to do when we retired but it has all been hit on the head. We were lucky in one sense, in that we were in Australia for three months before it happened. Ian our son lives there with his wife and three children Kevin, Kirsty and Stephen. It was lovely, marvellous. The children are all grown up now. It was like the calm before the storm.

John has been wonderful, a great support, apart from his fags. Before this happened we were out almost every night of the week. We had a great social life. Bowling, fishing and holidays. John would show me how to cast, but the line would end up in the trees. We had many friends then, but not now. I do get angry about it.

I go to the Stroke Club, Firhill Day Centre and Woodburn Day Care Club. I like all the clubs, but at Woodburn I wish they would warm their hands up, if you know what I mean.

Although it changed John and I's relationship, and we can argue, we never fall ootout. I still love that man.



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Adapted by Iain Tait