Memories of an 83 year old
I was born on 25th October 1933.  My older sister, Elizabeth,  was born on 11th March 1932.  We lived in a tenement building at 334 Holmlea Road, Cathcart, SW Glasgow, owned by dad’s uncle . It was a red sandstone building and our flat was the only one on the lower level .  We had two rooms and the luxury of a bathroom. Both rooms had what in the olden days was called a “hole in the wall” area where both my mum and dad slept in the kitchen. Through in the front room was where my sister and I slept.
Elizabeth and I with our mum
Gran Brown with Elizabeth and Janet (rt)
When we started primary school it was just around the corner from where we lived.  Our chums lived in the tenements beside us. We had at the back of our building a “back court” where there was a “wash house” – each member in our close had a special day to do their washing.  On mum’s day my dad had to go out early in the morning to light the boiler, ready for mum to put our bed linen and everyday clothes into.  There was a mangle there to feed the clothes through, then they had all to be hung outside on the washing line my sister and I had to put up before we went to school.
Life was a very happy time for us as children but I often think of the life my parents had in these days.
As the war began, all railings around gardens, hand rails and anything that could be melted down was removed and taken away.  I remember Baffle Walls being erected in front of every close entry to help protect us from blasts from bombs being dropped. Everyone had to wear a white badge on their jacket or coat when going out so that we would not bump into anyone coming in our direction.
The most terrible memory I have when I was very young was when air raid shelters were built in our back courts. They were built of brick with a row of  seats at each side of the walls, very basic, no toilets. At anytime during the night, when the siren went off everyone had to make their way to the shelter.  When you are young and in bed asleep, suddenly being woken by your parents, being wrapped in blankets and taken out into the very cold night and into the damp , smelling, shelter was a nightmare never to be forgotten.
As war moved closer and evacuation was put into place during the 1930s,  both Elizabeth and I were sent to a place in Dumfries-shire out of harm’s way as the company Weirs Works, where my dad worked, made ammunition for guns, tanks and loads of other things to help the war effort.
I remember much happier times when the air raids were mainly at night and during the day we children played whip and Peary (a cone shaped object with a nail in the           bottom to make it spin) and a length of string as the whip. Many a time my sister and I spent hours decorating the top of our Peary to see who could make the prettiest colours as it went round and round in its spin.  We enjoyed playing peaver, a white coloured
flat chalk which we skipped from one box into another without touching any of the lines in any of the other boxes.  Many games we played, too many to list but all so much fun and the laughter from us was infectious.  When playing skipping ropes any adult passing would join in and again we all laughed.  Happy memories.
Elizabeth and Janet 1939
As everything was rationed and we all had a ration book,  parents had to make, for example, potatoes from a packet mixed with water, mock lemon curd,  and so on.
Sweets were rationed but we were lucky as my gran had a newsagents shop and she
always brought my sister and I sweets from friends who did not use their coupons.

Elizabeth and I were also very fortunate as my mum made us lovely clothes.  I remember my first kilt – it was yellow and black check with a cosy woollen jumper knitted for  each of us and admired by our chums.

            There was a time  when Elizabeth and I went to the Sadie Simpson school of dancing.  We learned ballet and tap dancing. Our first big dancing display was held in a theatre in Glasgow.  All nerves and full of excitement, dancing in front of an audience with our mum and dad watching, was very daunting and of course when one or other of us forgot to turn, causing a bit of a mix up, our reaction was, “but it wasn’t our fault”.  In the end the show was a great success and my big sister and I received a lovely posy of flowers which, unknown to us at the time, was handed in at the back stage by our mum.
 As time went on Elizabeth went to the Glasgow High school to learn Latin as she wanted to work in a pharmacy, which she did for many years. I had other plans and I went to Battlefield Secondary School and then on to Alpress College for Secretarial Courses which stood by me in years to come.
Walking down memory lane has been a mixture of emotions, happy ones and sad ones.
Life was very different when I was a young girl growing up.  We had to make our own fun.  There was no money but family was most important.  Many a night my sister and I played snakes and ladders, hang man, telling stories, all with mum and dad.  We had a small radio and every night we listened to Children’s Hour then homework, wash, teeth done and climb into our hole in the wall for a pleasant night’s sleep, all fresh for the new day starting.
Many years have gone by since my childhood.  It is so very difficult to realise just what
young children in the 1930s went through compared to the children of today.  I can’t help thinking perhaps the bad old days were in actual fact The good old days.
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