Mum’s Story (part 3)


Having had my 13th birthday and feeling all grown up, Connie another girlfriend who lived across from me, decided it would be a nice day out to take the train into the town centre.  After all we were teenagers!  The railway station was only a short walk up from where we lived so our mothers agreed we could go. The train line was known as the Glasgow Circle so we could not go wrong!

We duly bought our railway tickets and eagerly waited for our train to arrive. The journey into Glasgow took about half an hour. The puff puff of the train approaching was so exciting.  It finally stopped and the doors were opened for the passengers. It was a busy train with lots of children clamouring aboard, having a day like us going to the shops in Glasgow. As the train left the station we both felt really grown up and enjoyed our run to the big city.  The scenery was so nice – seeing the countryside, the cows, sheep, horses all nibbling at the grass, very peaceful.

After almost half an hour panic set in.  We were on the wrong train!  When eventually the ticket collector came around and looked at our tickets he told us we were on the express train to TROON, in Ayrshire!

“How can we get off?”

“You can’t until you reach your destination.”

Not having mobile phones in these days and having no money, we were in a complete state of panic. When we eventually disembarked we were no longer teenagers, we were two stranded little girls miles away from home, unable to let our parents know because there was no such thing as telephones in our homes.

Eventually when we made the return journey, around half past seven at night, we ran the whole way home to meet our frantic parents all out looking for us. I can’t remember ever being so happy to see my mum, dad and sister standing there with their arms outspread.

At the age of fifteen I started my first job working as a BAZADA girl! This was a filing cabinet with a queer name. The company was A & D Frazer, selling motor car parts, in Pollockshaws. I was grown up by this time and able to get on the right train to go to work and back. I loved my work. I felt so important talking to customers, asking their name, the chassis number of the car, looking up my BAZADA file to see if we had the part in stock. On occasion I had to go to another part of the factory which meant a long walk through the factory full of mechanics.  At first I felt very self-conscious but, as the time went by, I became used to the wolf whistles and exchanged many a laugh with the lads.

There was one lad there who seemed to be very interested in me, we got on very well. His family had a business and he also had a small business doing, what is now known as gigs.  I went with him and his friend at weekends – Jim was my boyfriend and John was there to help set up the music centre. The music was varied and the dancing was fun. Our relationship lasted a couple of years until he joined the Merchant Navy travelling on the well-known ship ‘Captain Cook’ to Australia and back.  Each trip was a six months stint.

Elizabeth and with Jim Waterston 1949

Mum, Jim and Elizabeth

Within that time I changed my job to work as a Dictaphone typist in a company called The Iron Trades Insurance Company. I worked with a fleet of typists, six of us in all. The insurance men dictated their letters onto a cylinder worked by a machine which was put into a sleeve then put into a box and brought through to the typing pool.  A typist picked up the cylinder and commenced typing the letter ready for signing and posting.

I had by then moved on to travelling in style by using a Corporation bus. It was during one of my journeys home that I was introduced by a friend to a handsome, dark-haired, young man, who incidentally lived two minutes away from me on the other side of the road. We occasionally met on our journey home and passed the time of day with each other.

It had been a while since our paths crossed then I found out that he had moved.  He had left his job and was now working as an insurance agent with the Prudential Assurance Company. During our conversations we found out that we both enjoyed ballroom dancing and arranged to meet at the Berkeley ballroom one Saturday night.


Bob (my dad)

Our relationship was an on/off kind of affair.   We both went out on dates in between seeing each other at the Berkeley where he danced me every dance!  We were well known where we lived. Everyone thought we were so well matched.  When travelling on the bus we did nothing but talk and laugh, a great friendship.

As we became more serious we went on holiday to the Isle of Man, dancing to Joe Loss’ Band in the evenings and meeting friends in the afternoon for strawberries and ice cream. There were also afternoons we would hire a row boat and sail into the sunset.  I remember it well as my muscles in my arms were getting bigger with all the rowing!

Mum and Dad on Isle of Man

By the time I turned twenty, my sister, Elizabeth was married to her sweetheart, Ian, a lovely person.  I was proud to call him my brother-in-law.

Elizabeth and Ian wedding photo067

Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Ian on their wedding day

Bob and I were now rightly known as a pair. We would go off to the dancing by bus waving to mum as we drove off but often missing the last bus home intentionally or by accident!  We had to get the last bus or it meant a long walk home from the terminus. While walking over the bridge by the river Bob used to sing to me a song that we used to call our song – ‘Oh Shenandoah, I Love your daughter’ in the most romantic voicse.  Please click – Oh Shenandoah

Remembering those wonderful days made me realise my teenage years were passing and my next stage in life, the 20s was only just beginning.

Four Generations of Women


4 generations026

This is a photo of my mother on her wedding day on 10 October 1956 in Glasgow.  In fact this is four generations of women in my family.  In the centre is my great-grandmother (Jemima Chapman b 1886);  sitting down is her daughter, my grandmother (Elizabeth Chapman b 1905); on the left is her daughter, my mother (Janet Brown b 1933) and on the right her sister (Elizabeth Brown b 1932).  The young girl is my cousin (Elaine Robertson b 1954).

This is a happy-sad photo for my mother I am sure.  Happy because it was her wedding day and she was surrounded by her family, but sad because her mother died unexpectedly just a few days later when mum and dad were on their honeymoon.  Gran Brown was a furrier and I was told that this contributed to her untimely death.  I am sure she also had a weak heart but am unsure if these two facts are connected.

I never got to meet her but sometimes my mum would say I looked just like her.  I would like to meet her now.  I am sure she could shed light on some of the mysteries of my family.

My great-grandmother passed away in 1977 and Aunt Elizabeth died in 2001.


2 worn-outs, their 2 eager children, a trusty dog...... and a boat. What's down the road?


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