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Born: Sheila McCallion 1934 Glasgow

With my parents and FrankI went to St. Margaret's catholic school for a couple of months, and then we moved to near Bellshill. My new school was St. Columbus. My dad Frank was a miner, my mum Alice worked as a cleaner at Lady Marshall's house in Uddingston, near Bellshill. We lived between the two places. There were three brothers and me. John, Dan, me and Frankie. They are all dead now. Frank was eight years younger than me. It's no fair.

Bothwell Park Rows was where we lived. There were three rows and we were in the middle. Everybody knew everybody. We all played in the street. Peavery beds wiswas a game where we chalked on the road and hopped between the chalk marks with the peaver, a weesmall polish tin that we filled with dirt to give it weight. We were not well off but we got what we needed, shoes and clothes. My dad always worked. We were in what was called the single end and we all slept in the one bedroom. There were 3 or 4 toilets outside stretched out in a row and the people shared whichever toilet was nearest to them. The cleaning was shared as well. We had a zinc bath and Saturday was bath night 'cause we went to the chapel the next day.

I liked the school. The head mistress was a nun. At 11 I qualified to the high school in Uddingston. That was a bus journey away. My mother bought me a bike to cycle to school. It was great having mamy own bike. I never experienced any cruelty at school although a got the belt a few times. I had a male teacher, Joe Woods. I didnae did not like him. Ah wisnaeI was not into men teachers. I wiswas just a bairnYoung Child or baby.

Me in ma winchen days

I remember during the war having to run into the air raid shelters and stay there all night. It wisnaewas not nice at all. Even if an air raid came when you were out shopping you had to go to the nearest shelter. You couldnae go hame could not go home.

We all moved through here when I was still at school and I went to St. David's school in Mitchell Street in Dalkeith. It’s no there now. We lived in 39 Woodburn Medway in the ‘steel hooseshouses’ and then we swapped to 18 Pride Terrace in Bonnyrigg. We had to move fifrom the west 'cause the pits at Bothwell Castle closed down. My dad got work at Easthouses colliery and then the Lady VicLady Victoria Mine at Nittenshort name for Newtongrange.

I left school at fourteen and started work in Dobbies. I worked there for 11 months, but it was too cold working out in the fields, planting and pulling up weeds. My dad got me a job in the carpet factory at Eskbank. I was a weaver. I really loved that job. As money goes it was not too bad then.

Willie and me with oor first bornOn a Sunday night I went to the Dalkeith Masonic for the dancin' We did the Quick Step, Fox Trot and Tango. I liked the Fox Trot, but I just hobbled around really. It was proper dance steps in they days. The youngsters today just shuffle abootabout. I didnae winch did not To court, to keep company with one of the opposite sex. at the dancin'. Some lassies.Girls female siblings went home wi'with boys but no me. Goin' home meant taking you to the door, that was it. I did go oot wiout with two or three boys before I met mamy husband Willie Mackie. Bob Hopkins was one boy that I saw for longer, the rest were just one off's.

I didnae did not like mamy husband at all. He knew I didnae did not like him. My father worked with him and he didnae did not like him either. It was just that one time and that wizwas me. I think he done it deliberately. And then we had another five children, all quick. I used to think he didnae did not know how to do it with ootout the consequences. I never liked it anyway. But we loved oorour six children and Willie worked for his bairnsYoung Children, I'll say that for him. They never went with ootout. I was happy enough but my mother and father wurniewere not, what with one bairnYoung Child or baby after the other. My mother never called him by his first name. It was just Mackie all the time. Willie didnae did not bother what he was called. He died before he drew his pension. He was 63. He was a drinker and his liver was away. In they days yae didnae you did not know that though. I found Willie in bed asleep. Except he wisnaewas not asleep. It was awful. He worked hard in the pits all his days and never lived to draw the pension he worked for. Mind you, he only gave me £60 a week to live on. The rest was his for his drink.

I love all my children and their childrenEvery year for our holidays, we went to the same caravan at Port Seaton. It wisnaewas not even a caravan, it was just a big hut. That was the miner's holidays at the trade’s fortnight. It is still the trades to this day although there are no miners.

Willie and I first lived in an auldold miner's hoosehouse in Easthouses, right on the main road. Then we got the flat in Hawthorne Crescent in the same place. Then we got a brand new 5 apartment hoosehouse in Pankhurst Loan at the top of Woodburn. I didnae did not like it. I couldnae could not settle. I was in it 11 month and I hated every minute of it. It was too big, 'cause by then two of the family were married and away. The house I am in now had been standing empty for a long time. Everybody had been turning it down, but I was desperate to move. My mother and me cleaned it from top to bottom. I’ve been here for over 30 years now and I love my wee hoosesmall house.

There was a period where me, Willie and the bairnsYoung Children lived in Mansfield, near Nottingham. Willie got offered a job in the pits there. We were there for nine years. I liked it but Willie never really settled and when the pits closed we came straight back up here. I just accepted it.

All my children are great. Alison, Elizabeth and Mary are in Majorca. David is in Wisconsin in America. Callum is in Mansfield where we used to live. He met his wife there. Frances is the one that has stayed. She’s in Mayfield and she will never leave Scotland she says.

That's me aye knittingMy life changed drastically in September 2002. I had driven down to Mansfield in my weesmall Fiat Cinquichento and had a lovely weekend with my son and his family. His house was getting renovated at the time so we were in a house with stairs. I got up to the toilet, thinking it was straight ahead and forgot about the stairs. I fell all the way down, hit my head on the radiator and damaged the right side of my brain. I have lost the use my left arm and leg. I walk with a stick and my driving days are well and truly over. And I loved driving. It took away my independence. It was a tragedy, especially from the person I was to the person I am now. I was only 68 years old.

I go to Majorca for mamy holidays now and stay with Elizabeth. They own a bar there called the Casapila, which means 'The House of Pila'.

My weesmall darling is Dinky Boy, a cockatiel. He keeps me company in ma wee hoosemy small house. Frances is my darling too. I widnaewould not be in my own hoosehouse if it was not for her. Aye, life could have been so different now.


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Adapted by Iain Tait