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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Poetry and Verse _ Oh Memories That Bless & Burn

Posted by: thebardau 27th Sep 2003, 07:49am

"Oh memories that bless and burn" - line from "The Rosary", a lovely song of yesteryear.

Anne from Oz posted a lovely poem on "Thoughts of Home" - her personal feelings, & you'll find it here http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/ggbb/index.php?showtopic=346&st=0?entry6836
I replied commenting on her lovely words. And it started me thinking about my own past memories. In my case, alas, these memories are limited to Glasgow alone. Maybe that's my problem, or maybe I'm just twisted. Margaret P. also posted some memories of Glasgow here -
http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/ggbb/index.php?showtopic=338
[this URL looks suss, the topic's "My Glasgow" in General Chit Chat]
and that's a well-known poem, very evocative of the "old" Glasgow.
Times WERE hard & our parents did their best for us & we're grateful to them for their worthwhile struggles. I'm not denying that for a minute.
But the Glasgow I personally remember was far less rosy. I posted this before - and here again, in all its glory, I give you -

Farewell to Glasgow

Oh, where is the Glasgow Ah used tae know?
The tenement buildings that let in the snow
Through the cracks in the plaster the cauld wind did blow
An' the waater we washed in wis fifty below
We read by the gaslight, we had nae TV,
Hot porridge for breakfast, cauld porridge for tea
Some weans had rickets an' some had TB

Aye, How the neebers complained if we played wi' a baw,
Or hunch-cuddy-hunch against somebody's waw,
It we played kick-the-can we'd tae watch for the law,
And the polis made sure we did sweet bugger aw

And we huddled thegither tae keep waarm in bed,
We had nae sheets or blankets, jist auld coats instead,
An' a big balaclava tae cover wur head,
And 'Goad, but it's cauld' wiz the only prayer said

Noo there's some say that tenement living wiz swell.
That's the wally-close toffs who had doors wi' a bell,
Two rooms an' a kitchen an' a bathroom as well.
While the rest o' us lived in a single-end hell

So wipe aff that smile when yi talk o' the days.
Ye lived in the Gorbals or Bridgeton ways.
Remember the rats an' the mice ye wance chased.
For tenement living wiz a bliddy disgrace.

These are MY memories, though things started to improve just before we left. I can confirm this poem with depressing true stories from my childhood, but enough's enough - & I was far less deprived than some of my school mates & that's no lie.

So are we somewhat in denial re "the days that never were"? Should we be ashamed of the bitter truths? Or should we not also recognise & celebrate the harsh realities & the strength of the human spirit in overcoming these? [Tommy Kennedy, where ARE you - I'm gonna be flamed to the hottest depths of hell for this post]

Posted by: Catherine 27th Sep 2003, 01:23pm

It's a very real poem Bard and I remember reading it before. Anybudy waants tae flame ye will need tae flame me furst {cripes did ye hear a match therr? laugh.gif }..Anyway, Could it be similar to when now looking back, we remember endless summer days in the school holidays, wheras in reality it probably pourt doon fur weeks.Or the almost closed book when it comes to outsiders knowin yer business....Or that kind of "family" standard, where you kin say what ye want about yer ain family but it's totally out of line for anyone outside the family to breath a word against them...Don't know if I'm asking questions here or trying to understand myself some of the reasons why people tend to voice the fun times and no dwell too much on the sadness.I do think pride and privacy are strong emotions in Scottish people, Geoff thinks I'm ferocious when it comes to protecting family and friends, and many times has been taken aback with how final I can be in what he calls "ah wis jist askin!!!"
I'm probably no the best person to be replyin here, since ah never lived in a tenement or in fact Glasgow in ma life, but I've certainly read over the years on this board to recognise that the above poem is a true poem. Good on ye for postin it Bard.

Posted by: Gemini 27th Sep 2003, 02:30pm

I agree with what is said here I too remember the very hard times of old putting newspaper or cardboard inside the shoes because of the holes, wearing handmedowns getting a new coat for Easter Sunday and it was put in the pawnshop on Monday I dont remember to much about the tenements as I was quite young when we moved to new house with a inside bathroom but still visited the relatives still living in the tenements, but I also remember the good times that made up for the bad times, I knew even back then that we were poor but so was everybody else that was the way of life. I do feel bad for the ones that had to put up with the rats, but honestly that I do not remember at all and its not that I blocked that out, maybe it was the area I lived we did not have that problem, but no matter where you are from people will always remember their childhood days as being fun as it was a different life back then, maybe I am wrong, we were a big family, and as we got older life seemed to get better.

Posted by: Melody 27th Sep 2003, 08:10pm

Well, I have no personal experience of living in the tenements, although as a wee girl I visited friends and relatives who did. I always think of those days with such love and respect for my people. Yes they were horrendous living conditions some not fit for dogs to live in, but there is no shame in poverty. The strength of spirit to survive those days is admirable, parents reared lovely families in the face of absolute deprivation and poverty. I think that is indeed real achievement and yes we should be very proud of it. We should simply hate the powers that were in control who allowed such cruelty to fellow human beings, and still do. I love Glaswegians because of that spirit, the ability to survive with laughter and good humour. The alternative would be to give in but we couldn't do that, could we? Not those wonderful folk, never. wink.gif

Posted by: thebardau 28th Sep 2003, 01:32am

Thanks for that, Catherine, Gemini & Melody. It was recognition of the underlying hardships & squalid living conditions that I was on about, & you did that very well. I have some dreadful memories of Glasgow slum life that nowadays would near beggar belief & though I can appreciate "Ode to Glasgow", I would hate for the real story of those times to be swept under the carpet - children barefoot in school in winter& chilblains up to the backs of their knees, families in arrears with the factor, turned out on the street with their few possessions & waiting for rellos to turn up, & other vignettes of everyday life that burn to even think about, I was a young child then but the memories & the humiliations I can never forget.

Posted by: Margaret P 28th Sep 2003, 10:26pm

Im with you Melody I think it was the world over we were not the only one but look we got through it thanks to our great parents and grandparents I woulden't change it for quids

Posted by: thebardau 28th Sep 2003, 10:44pm

It must depend on where you were raised then. I truly admire the Glaswegian spirit that got them through the hard times & how in the main they cherished their young fry. As long as we were "with our own", we could handle it cos everyone was in the same boat. But outside our tight-knit circle, the stigmata of poverty were plain to see, & the subsequent humiliations were a fact of life that I can never say I wouldn't change.

Posted by: Catherine 29th Sep 2003, 01:23am

I can't relate to the poverty situation Bard, thank God and no offense meant. However I can relate to the power that was given to those with the humiliation button, in my case a few teachers especially in Primary, and because of how I remember feeling....if anyone dared to inflict it on my own boys I'd need to brain them. We don't forget childhood humiliations do we, and we also can't change what's been done....but we sure do have the power to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Posted by: Marion Dougan 29th Sep 2003, 02:16pm

Thanks Bard, this is soooo true. I was born in a single end, bunch of us shared the same bed, Yes!!! My Mum was poor, we had to go to the pawn, when I was was young I was soooooo embarresed. Not any more, I admire My Mother, she had a hard life, I couldn't do what she did to raise us, pawn shops, borrowing money etc, never knowing where the next meal was coming from. On the lighter side.... I told my Grandaughter I dined by Candlelight when I was five, cause she loves me to light candles when she is here for dinner. I don'r remember rats though. Auld army coats aye. Very, very proud of my Mother God Rest you Mum
Marion

Posted by: jock 29th Sep 2003, 09:52pm

While I agree with much that has been said, I think that we have to be careful not to equate tenement-living and low income with unhappiness. I was born and raised in a tenement room and kitchen along with 4 siblings and mum and dad. Fortunately dad had a steady job with the railroad and we were a very happy family. Yes we had rats but they were in the middens and not the flats. In fact my friends and I became quite adept a chasing them into cage-traps then drowning them. There were 12 flats up my 'close" and 5 closes on each side of the block. If you assume an average of 4 people per flat, that is approx. 500 people per block.You cant live around that many people without learning a great deal about getting along with all kinds of people and situations. Add to that what I think was an excellent primary and secondary education system{teachers 'belts"an aw) and maybe we move towards understanding why us glaswegians travel so well but never forget 'hame"
P.S. I left unwillingly for the U.S. when I was 18 because my older sister didn't want to come alone and bought me a ticket. Turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. I was able to go to university here (woud not have in glasgow) and have a life here to be envied, but dont regret one minute of my childhood.

Posted by: Catherine 29th Sep 2003, 10:41pm

"teachers belts an aw"...The education standard was good Jock I will agree, but the picking and showing up some teachers loved to give wee ones in front of peers was a disgrace and that was more my point, that and the power they wielded. Ah didnae like the belt much either but ye widnae huv known that the amount a times ah goat it laugh.gif All of your posts are great reading guys, great topic Bard.

Posted by: wee mags 29th Sep 2003, 11:23pm

well bard like catherine and gemini I was not as bad of as you seem to have been but my mom was raised in a family of twelve children all living in a single end and my granny was a wee woman and a very strong one at that, I could not imagine taking care of all of them ,Iremember her always cooking and cleaning and when I got old enough it was my job to go stay with her and my granda for the night ,I used to go to bed in the recessed bed in the kitchen/livingroom/ dining room all in one.She would get the big bed warmer and say hurry hen get in while its warm, and in I would go to be put under the eiderdown she had since she was first married,then breakfast in the morn and then oot came the black lead polish to clean the big grate ,and the steel wool to finish the chrome part of it,as I talk of this I hear ma granny saying" bed doon for the night lassie" !!

Posted by: thebardau 30th Sep 2003, 01:06am

jock, I agree that tenement living & poverty did not automatically spell unhappiness, far from it. I think the common thread running through the replies here is family love & family stability. Those who lacked these in their own lives were doubly disadvantaged. Maybe some of you can recall children who were the "odd one out", who looked as if nobody owned them, or maybe you don't remember them because they weren't at your school long - they just disappeared, the result of another "moonlight flit". Or maybe you can vaguely remember the unpopular child who always smelt of urine, there being a bed-wetter in the family. A single-end I well remember, & I'm not admitting to living there, was a case in point. Gd. floor, & 2 of the 4 walls backed on to a fishmonger's & to the lavvy - so those walls streamed damp continually. 2 toddlers slept in the wardrobe drawer. The lavvy, being in the close mouth, was used by drunks, if you've seen "Train-spotting", you know what it was like - & the kids used to hang out for school rather than use it. They were pointed at/avoided by their school mates, sad but true. These are but a few sight from my childhood in Glasgow.

[edit - that particular single-end was close to the old Parkhead Tram Depot, on the same side of TollX Rd, everything in it stunk of dead fish, & the rats in the close were near as big as cats]

Posted by: albaliz 30th Sep 2003, 02:27pm

Bard, thanks for starting this thread. We lived in a single end in the Gorbals for the first 8 years of my life. I still remember some things about it and the most I remember was the love that was in that wee hoose. My mum,dad, 4 kids and my mother's brother all lived there. When it was time to go to bed, everyone had to go as beds appeared from nowhere and you couldn't walk around. I also remember there was no hot water and a big goose neck tap for the cold water. We either had rats or mice I don't know which but you could hear them at night time. unsure.gif Most people around us were in the same situation so it was no shame on anyone. Today, I live a lot better than then but I think I discovered from my wee mammy that if you work hard, you get what you deserve and boy did she work hard all her life. God rest her.

Posted by: Melody 30th Sep 2003, 05:38pm

Great post albaliz, Gorbals was the most exciting place in Glasgow when I was a wee girl, how busy it was, a town within a City, I always feel that Gorbals was where to find the heart of Glasgow. Crown Street, Cumberland Street, Thistle Street, Florence Street these names conjure up for me exciting days of playing in those backcourts in the muck. Heaven on Earth, blissfully unaware of any danger or germs, what a community there was in those days how busy the streets were, the colourful shops and even more colourful people, good on ye for posting there, your so right no shame in poverty unlike today somehow. The powers that be seem to make the poor ashamed as well as poor, God rest all those souls so had it so tough. We could do with some of that spirit these days.

Posted by: jock 30th Sep 2003, 09:44pm

Good posts everyone. This may be off-topic, or maybe it's related to the demise of tenements. I read elsewhere on this board that the population of Glasgow declined from 1,089,555 in 1961 to 616,430 in 1996 (the last year shown under Info+). Is dear old glesca toon disappearing?

Posted by: jimmyd 2nd Oct 2003, 10:54am

Think you will find Jock ,that a lot of those people moved to the overspill places like Livingston,Linwood Etc. wink.gif

Posted by: isa 3rd Oct 2003, 10:46am

Hello,
I had family move away from Cumbernauld street, some went to castlemilk,linwood and livingstone, but my dad always's said living in Cumbernauld was the happiest day's of his life. they did'nt have much, but they had each other, he was one of 7 children.
isa

Posted by: Melody 5th Oct 2003, 08:05pm

Ed. speaking as someone who has stayed in Glasgow, I was thinking about what you were saying with regard to only seeing the poverty once you moved away from it. My husband and I ( sounds like the queen talking) probably moved about two miles from where we were born and brought up in Glasgow, we were both brought up in council houses in housing schemes, not poor but not well off either. We are probably typical of folk of our generation who have been fortunate enough to work all of our lives, buy our own home and rear and educate our family to the best of our ability. It has not always been easy for us, however we have never experienced the poverty that we have seen in Glasgow especially when we were children. Today we went to 'the barras' and there is a little barber shop where the barber has a little art studio inside his shop, we were looking at his brilliant drawings and paintings of Glasgow and Glasgow folk and got talking to him about his collection. My eyes wandered through the collection of old photographs he has there, beautiful children in what was considered places to live, I won't call them homes or houses. It makes you want to cry for humanity to feel that they endured such deprivation, beautiful faces looking out, and behind them walls which were crumbling around them. Mags talked earlier about her wonderful granny warming the bed for her, that's the spirit of love that kept them going through those deprivations. For those who moved away and found a better life, I salute you. Don't feel ashamed you should be very proud of your ancestors, I wish I could punish those 'people' who allowed yours and mine to suffer such inhumanity. The real sadness is that it continues today and sadly there's not so much of that wonderful family love going around either. In this material world people are beaten by it, spirits are battered down and drugs have taken hold.

Posted by: albaliz 5th Oct 2003, 10:40pm

Oh Melody I got wee goose bumps and a few tears as I read your post. I for one will never feel ashamed of my humble beginnings because the best thing my wee mammy ( my father died when I was 7) passed on to me was her strong backbone. If I ever get get back to the barra's I would love to see the barbershop you're talking about. Any chance of a picture of it hen?

Posted by: Melody 2nd Nov 2003, 08:35pm

Albaliz, next time I'm there I'll take the camera for you. Somebody will have to tell me how to post the picture on here though. Take Care.

Posted by: Dolly 3rd Nov 2003, 04:49am

i too was brought up , during these hard times , but as the saying goes now, we were poor , but didn't know it as every other family was the same , we enjoyed playing in the backyard at shops, and playing peaver , and even raking the middens , thinking we would get lucky, the war was on and we often missed classes because the siren would go off and we would all be taken out to the shelters , Teachers in my day were very strickand seemed to take a delight in giving the strap every chance they got, now they are not allowed to do that, well i survived it as did a lot of others , it must have been the bowl of porridge every morning and the bowl of soup at supper time, I remember my Mother telling me when she was a child she had no shoes and her Brother took his bunnet off and said put your feet in there Nell and get them warm, sadly her brother was killed in the 1st world war and he was only 19,

Posted by: jock 3rd Nov 2003, 06:10am

Dolly, enjoyed your memories, they almost duplicate mine especially the backyards,middens,air raid s etc. That is really the way I like to remember Glesca! Tough,happy,lots of friends. Melody, in an earlier post mentioned drugs had taken hold nowwhich is no surprise since they seem to have taken over everywhere, I just don't like to think of Maryhill with drugs!

Posted by: Melody 3rd Nov 2003, 07:33pm

Jock, sorry I always hate telling my friends abroad sad things about our beloved city, unfortunately this seems to be the case, not really surprising when people are left in ghetto housing schemes with no hope and no family love and support.
It's so sad to see the hopelessness sometimes, but hope springs eternal, and there still are wonderful people in the schemes too who struggle against the odds to help themselves and others.
I was trying to show how vital and exquisite that family love was in the past, how it made the poverty just tolerable and it made families strong enough to cope and move onward and upward in a lot of cases. I think those good Mothers and Fathers from our past should make us all so proud. The memories must Bless and Burn right enough, but mostly Bless, thank God for them all.
Dolly that was so touching, the bunnet for your Mother's feet, her loving Brother, that makes the tears run down my cheeks. Such love in the face of poverty. God Bless and Take Care.

Posted by: jock 3rd Nov 2003, 11:29pm

Melody, you are right, family love and support can be the answer to the problems you mention.

Posted by: Margaret P 4th Nov 2003, 08:14am

I think thats whats wrong with the world today not enough family love and support I know we never had much but I came from a loving family and yes I lived in a tenement building till I was 10 I remember the good friendly people who shared everything they had my close cant be the only one were good people lived

Posted by: Melody 23rd Nov 2003, 04:29pm

No Margaret your right it wasn't the only place where good people lived, people these days are under so much pressure I don't think we see the best of them. Pressure of survival in a different way these days, pressure of two parents having to work, not being able to stay at home and rear their own children.
Pressure to be 'middle class' whatever that is, pressure to keep up with the neighbours. In the tenements everybody was the same more or less, when people were thrown together in close proximity, somehow they cared more for each other, made friends quickly, they had to. Not always a bad thing! Equality of a fashion.
Just a pity it wasn't equality for everybody with the rich.

Posted by: leeninaus 23rd Nov 2003, 05:36pm

Oh my dear friend Melody, it is not oft these days we disagree..
BUT I have to disagree with you on this point!!! in this day & age there is very little class distinction, ( I can here Tommy Kennedy crying out here) little to what we knew it I mean!! yes there is still the middle classes ( aren't you of that class nowadays?) the upper middle classes, then the high societies & after that.. of course comes royalties & titles!!!
In my parent's days, teachers, university lecturers, lawyers,doctors,engineers ( shall I go on?) were of the 85% of middle class or upperclass
background!!!! the 15% lucky individuals of working class individuals were of such a high academic standard they obtained scolarships, or were lucky enough ( as in a fictitional stories) to have a rich sugar Daddy or sponsor!!)
I do not believe this is the case today!! Fortunately, for the most part if a student has the ability then he or she can achieve whatever he or she wishes!!! OK if they are from working class backgrounds then maybe they may need to work in some sort of sub-orbinate field to get them through, ( that usually makes them a better person anyway) BUT in this day & age even the working classes can produce top lawyers, doctors.scientists etc etc !! & let's face it Melody it is people like YOU that are teaching these kids, and put them on the road ahead of what their parents only dreamed of!!

Posted by: Melody 23rd Nov 2003, 06:16pm

Dear Leen, so you are saying that there is little or no class distinction these days, that is what the Tony Blair's tell us to think. Try going into the housing schemes of Glasgow some of them not a stones throw from the richest parts of Glasgow. eg. Drumchapel and Bearsden. Maryhill and Kelvinside, then you'll see the class difference alright. I would like to see some of the people from Maryhill or Drumchapel trying to move a few hundred yards into Glaswegian 'middle class' Bearsden or Kelvinside.
In our day yes, our families have moved from what was considered working class backgrounds and through education which our parents believed saved you from basic manual labour have managed to move to a what I will call a safer area of Glasgow.
However I do not consider myself or mine to be 'middle class' we work hard every day for what we have achieved, and we have still struggled to educate our children. Yes we're better off than the poor folk who have to struggle in those schemes, and do you know something I'm not proud of that. Please don't call me 'middle class' I'm working class, my politics are working class, my life is working class. I don't get my hands too dirty however, I'm priveleged to work with delightful and beautiful young people who are definately not ' middle class'. Like me.
With the greatest respect I see it every day!

Posted by: Melody 24th Nov 2003, 07:47am

Sorry Leen in retrospect I realise that you meant well there in your post, but I defend my working class folk like a tigress.
What you say would be the case if there were jobs at all for the people no matter how clever they are. University graduates are working for coppers for ever here not short term . The best brains have always come from the working class.

Posted by: nell 24th Nov 2003, 12:13pm

Hello Melody
I am with you on this one, whilst there is a perceptioin amongst "middle class" people that there is no class distinction these days, I personally think that the class system is alive and well in the poorer areas of all cities of the UK. I believe now that as opposed to a working class we now have an underclass of people who live in the worst housing, go to the worst schools and if they do make it out, it is usually through extremely hard work. I still think there is not a level playing field for all children born in the country and the more money you have the easier it is to get a good education and a good job. I think the demise of the apprenticeship scheme by Margaret Thatcher has a lot to answer for, I know they are beginning again now, but for about 20 years young men leaving school couldn't get an apprenticeship or at least found it extremely difficults to get one, consequently there is now a shortage of artisans and a plethora of kids who have gone to college to learn mickey mouse subjects like media studies and stuff like that, not everyone is academic and I feel that there should be more emphasis in schools to cater for the non-academic student. We might talk a good classless society but in reality the classes still exist, in my humble opinion.
Best Wishes
helen

Posted by: andypisces 24th Nov 2003, 04:02pm

Speaking of middle class i recall a course i took in economics.The instructor asked us all to consider if we were upper middle or lower class.All but on considered themselves middle class. the instrucor then referred us to someone who was earning 2million dollars a year,at that time.His question then was, based on this i take it all you middle class folk are earning1million. Needless to say none of us fell in that category. since that time i have always qualified the statement with financially i am lower class but on a personal and humane basis then i am upper class......andra

Posted by: Marion Dougan 24th Nov 2003, 06:25pm

Aye, yer right Darlin. am wie you tongue.gif

Posted by: Marg 24th Nov 2003, 06:35pm

Is there really a lower , middle and upper class these days ,I see very poor, poor and not so poor in each class depending on income. I don't like these terms of class ,I've worked most of my life to make a better life and don't even think oh "What class am I in".even in the schools today here anyway the students themselves look at their fellow classmates by what and who the parents are where as when I was in school we never even thought about those things.

Posted by: nell 24th Nov 2003, 07:10pm

Marq
Yes I think that "New World" countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are what we would call classless societies, I have never been to any of these places, therefore, am unable to comment, however, in Britain today, whilst the Third Estate, the Politicians and the Establishment, tell us that Britain is classless, I don't think it is, we have a Royal Family, for goodness sake, how can we call ourselves classless when we have this Institution which is the pinnacle of the Class System. I agree, perhaps in the more cosmopolitan areas of Britain where the Cafe Society hang out, it may seem classless, but there are cities in Britain where there is a definate underclass, who are thwarted at every turn, when trying to better themselves.
Best Wishes
helen

Posted by: Melody 24th Nov 2003, 07:31pm

Yes nell, and a 'House of Lords' wonder if they are 'middle class' the same as the rest of the population. Maybe they could swap lives with some of us just to make sure we are all the same! laugh.gif

Posted by: thebardau 24th Nov 2003, 11:15pm

I appreciate the way in which the original thread has developed - from the "good"/bad old days to the present time. I thank all you posters for your marvellous input here. As for "class distintion", it is still a fact of life - even in Australia, nell, however much Oz declares itself a classless society. Sydney's Mt. Druitt teenagers are still discriminated against in the job market, as illegal as this may be nowadays - & on the old GGBB, I persisted in asking members resident in Glasgow, questions on whether Shettleston youth were similarly discriminated against in today's times. [My question still remains unanswered.]

One thing has shone through gloriously in this thread - the fact that family love is what held the poorer folk of yesteryear together, & enabled them to laugh through their struggles of those dark days. However, no-one made reply to my other remark/question in one of my early posts on this thread. What of those ragged youngsters who lacked the fabric of loving family bonds, what of the transient kids who were only temporarily in your school & neighbourhood? and I quote:-

"Maybe some of you can recall children who were the "odd one out", who looked as if nobody owned them, or maybe you don't remember them because they weren't at your school long - they just disappeared, the result of another "moonlight flit". Or maybe you can vaguely remember the unpopular child who always smelt of urine, there being a bed-wetter in the family."

Some of these are/were the children still imprinted in my memory, so I will not let you forget them either. Wherever you are, little Belle, Grace & Hughie, I hope you made it on your own, barefoot & ragged as you were. And RIP little Senga, may you be in a better place than you were then.

Posted by: nks1955 25th Nov 2003, 01:04am

Guess I was more fortunate than some, we were allocated new housing that had been built for the police and firemen after the blitz of the Redann and Kilmun Street, we had indoor plumbing two bedrooms living room and kitchen. But yes the old army coat , or anybody's coat was used as blankets. There were four kids and you were glad of the body heat. I still have the marks from the chilblains and they weren't from lack of sturdy shoes (we were well supplied by American relatives. as a few have noted, we were poor too, but have rich memories. My mother worked as a domestic in Bearsden, I went with her a few times, my dream was a house like the ones in Bearsden, I don't think I would have realized that dream had I stayed in Maryhill. I realized it here in America. The education I got in Scotland has served me well. Education is the first step of the ladder that gets you out of the slums or ghettos of this world. I thank all my teachers, even the one that gave me the belt. (Only got it once, hurt like heck, made sure I never got it again). Margarine and sugar sandwiches were a staple in our house too.

Posted by: nell 25th Nov 2003, 12:00pm

Hello thebardu
I was one of those outsiders, my Mammy used to keep me off school all the time and we were always moonlight flittin from one single end to another, I left school with no qualifications, as I was hardly ever there, I didn't make any lasting friends from school for the same reason. When I left Glasgow for London as a hippy, I had no idea what the future might hold for me, I never even thought of it, however I have now educated myself and have a decent job, so you can get out of it, but its not easy, it is much easier to give all children a good education in the first place, and there should be no discrimination in education, it should be the same standard for all, and in that way level the playing field and making it easier for less fortunate folk to make a decent life for themselves. When I think of the 50's I always think it was a poor time for my family, my Mammy was on her own a divorcee, we were the only children in the street who's Dad didn't live with them. However, my "hard times" in the 50's pale into insignificence compared to the hard times of the 30's I wasnt there, but I have read enough and listened to enough memories of those times to realise that life, even in the 50's was vastly improved from the 30's, and now even more, however, we still have sink estates where children live, grow up and die, never having experienced the richness of life, they never get out of it.
We need a fairer way of distributing wealth, and I dont profess to know the answer, but I feel we must do it somehow, and not just within our own society, but globally, or I fear we will see mass migration from the poorer countries of people trying to get a piece of the dream, (and who can blame them) we need to make it so they can get a piece of the dream without leaving their own country. Capitalism creates massive divides between the rich and poor, both locally and globally. Now I don't know what system we need, but I do know that if we don't temper capitalism it will implode, and then Lord help us all.
Best Wishes
helen

Posted by: iancameron 26th Nov 2003, 12:08pm

After reading lots of mail as to what class we are, I,v come to the conclusion that me and my family are 1st Class.
If we have family or friends that are willing to help each other through a crisis then we wil never be bothered about class.
I have been through the stages of living in houses without toilets, cadging a pair of shoes because mine had seen better days, borrowed my aunties Co-op book to get a pair of trousers, borrowed money to get the rent man of my back, and if need be would do the same again if need be.When I read the posts its quite clear that we all have done the same thing, were brought up the same way with values, those values being, never forget your friends, never forget your upbringing, remember the hard times but go on and ensure that we look after each other in the hope that we wont have to beg or borrow again.
Its great to hear of so many people like myself on this site, who if you think about it have all improved themselves from the days of the tennament. So well done to all you first class people.

Posted by: Melody 26th Nov 2003, 05:37pm

I think you've just summed it up there Ian, in that post lies the essence of Glasgow.
Ed. I can't speak for Shettleston about those forgotten children you speak of, however there are plenty like that today and sadly a lot end up in 'care' often making things worse for them.
What a world we leave to the poor weans who struggle through this life with no guidance or real love.

Posted by: Kayleigh 27th Nov 2003, 01:03pm

Ah agree wae Melody Ian, ah liked yer post, but there's nae getting away fae it, we have still goat a terrible class snobbery these days. If the weans don't go tae school wae aw the right designer gear, they get a right ribbing at school and made to feel inferior, why? because some people who huv a much higher standard o' living, still look doon oan folks wae nothing, an the parents ur the wans tae blame. There is still a stigma oan people that live oan a council estate, they're looked doon upon, single famillies are part o' the class distinction anaw, too mony folk still judge ye fur whit ye huv an no fur who ye ur as a person. At the end o' the day material things an money cannae gie ye the love o' a warm happy faimily. Ah struggled bringin ma two wee cherubs up masel, ah've went withoot a coat oan ma back so ah cud by the weans wan each instead, lived oan beans an toast so they hud a proper meal, but it wis aw worthwhile, an ah've brought ma weans up tae respect everybody nae matter whit their status in life is, aye folks class distinction is still alive an kicking.

Posted by: Melody 27th Nov 2003, 06:16pm

Do you know what Kayleigh, that was such a lovely post I for one congratulate you on the best achievement ever, to bring up your children with such a wonderful example of a loving mother.
Well done to you doing that on your own it must be the hardest thing ever. smile.gif
At least we know that the folk who judge a book by the cover are missing out so much in life!....and they're no too clever!!

Posted by: annie laurie 28th Nov 2003, 05:31am

QUOTE (Kayleigh @ 27th Nov 2003, 01:20 PM)
Ah agree wae Melody Ian, ah liked yer post, but there's nae getting away fae it, we have still goat a terrible class snobbery these days. If the weans don't go tae school wae aw the right designer gear, they get a right ribbing at school and made to feel inferior, why? because some people who huv a much higher standard o' living, still look doon oan folks wae nothing, an the parents ur the wans tae blame. There is still a stigma oan people that live oan a council estate, they're looked doon upon, single famillies are part o' the class distinction anaw, too mony folk still judge ye fur whit ye huv an no fur who ye ur as a person. At the end o' the day material things an money cannae gie ye the love o' a warm happy faimily. Ah struggled bringin ma two wee cherubs up masel, ah've went withoot a coat oan ma back so ah cud by the weans wan each instead, lived oan beans an toast so they hud a proper meal, but it wis aw worthwhile, an ah've brought ma weans up tae respect everybody nae matter whit their status in life is, aye folks class distinction is still alive an kicking.

Kayleigh
I agree with everything you said, there is still very much class differences to-day,
Well done, Iam sure you are all a Happy loving family, and all the money in the world cant buy that :lol: Here Here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jimmyd 28th Nov 2003, 12:17pm

The one thing Ed, about the disadvantaged children these days,is that there are many people working to,give them every opportunity to succeed.Some unfortunately fall through the net ,or have obstructionist parents,who do not accept the offers made to assist them.I have worked with many dedicated teachers, and social workers,and can assure you, a lot of the kids have been able to reach their potential.This is mainly due to these professionals, coming from working class backgrounds now.Forty years ago,they came mainly from priviliged backgrounds,and as such ,where so out of touch with the childrens enviromental,situation.They just could not empathise,with them.Well meaning,but not very real.

Posted by: joan 28th Nov 2003, 03:25pm

Hi Guys
I to remember the Tenement where we lived in Shawbridge St
The outside loo that my poor Mum was always cleaning for fear we may catch something
But we never went without I can still taste my Mum`s Stew and homemade Mince and Onion pies
Everyone was in the same Boat and although my Dad worked hard money was always tight
But we were happier then than now Now its I want it yesterday Society
People never locked there Doors and there were always someone there to lend a helping hand when needed
Today People dont even know there Neighbours
( I find that very Sad )
And yes Ian I agree with you
Best wishes
Joan wub.gif
Chester

Posted by: Melody 28th Nov 2003, 07:19pm

An excellent point you make there Jimmy, teachers were very like that in the past, some still are or at least pretend to be 'above' the children in their care. Maybe well meaning right enough just misguided.

Posted by: Catherine 29th Nov 2003, 02:59am

Reading here is so humbling in so many ways. Most of ye know I was born in a different era....the sixties.... big deal laugh.gif , but ye no what I mean. I'd just like to say you are all exceptional human beings, your posts are heartfelt and full of dignity, regardless the memories and circumstances. They say pride comes before a fall....but I believe there's good pride and bad pride. No one here is in for a fall. I've had wonderful conversations over the last few years with pals here, been given insights {this topic for instance} that otherwise I would have surely missed.
You lot are a perfect example of "thinkin outside the box" before thinkin outside the box wis the "buzz" word. In your own way you all made it happen and continue to do so.
So..since ma bars been open fur a few hoors noo.{zip it}...La Chaime..to every one of you!!

Posted by: jimmyd 29th Nov 2003, 06:04am

Aye an the same to you pet,my Vodka is gonnae get a leatherin noo!!!Any body want wan. biggrin.gif Lch' Lomond!!!!

Posted by: david lowson 2nd Dec 2003, 01:54am

how about this for a joke yesterday the New Zealand goverment spent 3 million dollars on a shin dig for the Harry Potter fans, is that not immoral, and the people are the ones who forked out the money.

Posted by: leeninaus 16th Jan 2006, 05:07pm

Going through the GG site & topics I clicked on this because I thought it would interest me! MY GOD, how I have been away so long!! What I wouldn't give right now to have The Bard's intellect & knowhow! What a wonderful woman she was!

Oh, how I miss her & the likes of her that kept the GG site going in yesteryear! ( no disrespect to the new members) She proved that Glaswegians were way ahead in intellect & humour comparable to any place on earth!

Posted by: rdem 16th Jan 2006, 09:58pm

Here's a book I really enjoyed. It's written by jean Faley, an expat from Springburn.


 

Posted by: angel 17th Sep 2011, 11:02pm

[quote name='thebardau' date='27th Sep 2003, 07:35am' post='6839']
"Oh memories that bless and burn" - line from "The Rosary", a lovely song of yesteryear.

Anne from Oz posted a lovely poem on "Thoughts of Home" - her personal feelings, & you'll find it here http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/ggbb/index.php?showtopic=346&st=0?entry6836
I replied commenting on her lovely words. And it started me thinking about my own past memories. In my case, alas, these memories are limited to Glasgow alone. Maybe that's my problem, or maybe I'm just twisted. Margaret P. also posted some memories of Glasgow here -
http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/ggbb/index.php?showtopic=338
[this URL looks suss, the topic's "My Glasgow" in General Chit Chat]
and that's a well-known poem, very evocative of the "old" Glasgow.
Times WERE hard & our parents did their best for us & we're grateful to them for their worthwhile struggles. I'm not denying that for a minute.
But the Glasgow I personally remember was far less rosy. I posted this before - and here again, in all its glory, I give you -

Farewell to Glasgow

Oh, where is the Glasgow Ah used tae know?
The tenement buildings that let in the snow
Through the cracks in the plaster the cauld wind did blow
An' the waater we washed in wis fifty below
We read by the gaslight, we had nae TV,
Hot porridge for breakfast, cauld porridge for tea
Some weans had rickets an' some had TB

Aye, How the neebers complained if we played wi' a baw,
Or hunch-cuddy-hunch against somebody's waw,
It we played kick-the-can we'd tae watch for the law,
And the polis made sure we did sweet bugger aw

And we huddled thegither tae keep waarm in bed,
We had nae sheets or blankets, jist auld coats instead,
An' a big balaclava tae cover wur head,
And 'Goad, but it's cauld' wiz the only prayer said

Noo there's some say that tenement living wiz swell.
That's the wally-close toffs who had doors wi' a bell,
Two rooms an' a kitchen an' a bathroom as well.
While the rest o' us lived in a single-end hell

So wipe aff that smile when yi talk o' the days.
Ye lived in the Gorbals or Bridgeton ways.
Remember the rats an' the mice ye wance chased.
For tenement living wiz a bliddy disgrace.

These are MY memories, though things started to improve just before we left. I can confirm this poem with depressing true stories from my childhood, but enough's enough - & I was far less deprived than some of my school mates & that's no lie.

So are we somewhat in denial re "the days that never were"? Should we be ashamed of the bitter truths? Or should we not also recognise & celebrate the harsh realities & the strength of the human spirit in overcoming these? .

I have just read this poem for the first time , which I think is wonderful , so I post it again .
However I do wonder if that strength of the human spirit still exists in today Glaswegian .


Posted by: Rabbie 14th Jan 2012, 06:11pm

So, so many wee gems hidden around the place GG has to be the luckiest midden aroond. Yon's a lovely wee poem.

Here is a slighty slightly different version that can be sung to a simple refrain, 'member we used to dea that as weans.


Where is the cludgie, that cosy wee cell ,
The string frae the cistern, I remember it well,
Where I sat wi’ a candle and studied the mags,
A win fur the ‘Hoops, a defeat fur the Gers.

Where is the tramcar that once did a ton
Doon the Great Western Rd on the auld Yoker run ...
The conductress aye knew how to deal wi’ the nyaff,
“If yer gaun, weal get oan, if yer no’, jist get aff “.

I think o’ the days o’ my tenement hame,
We’ve got fancy hooses noo, but they’re no’ the same.
I’ll swap your gisunders, flyovers and jams,
For a tanner return on the old Partick trams.

Gone is the Glasgow that I used to know,
Big Wullie, wee Shooie, the steamie, the Co.,
The stupid wee bauchle, the glaikit big dreep,
The baw’s up the slates, an’ yer gas at a peep.

Where is the Glasgow where I used to stay,
With white Wally closes done up with white clay,
Where ye knew every neighbour from first floor to third
And to keep your door shut was considered absurd.

Where are the weans that once played in the street,
Wi’ a jorrie, a peerie, a gird wi’ a cleek.
Can they still cadge a hurl, or drap aff a dyke,
Play hunch-cuddy-hunch. Kick-the-can an’ the like.

Where is the wee shop where a’ used tae buy
A quarter o’ tatties, a tuppenny pie,
A bag o’ broke biscuits, a wee sodie scone,
And the wummin aye asked “How’s yer maw gettin’ on?”

Where’s the tally’s that I knew so well,
The wee corner shoppie where they used to sell
Hot pies, a McCallum, an' chips in a poke,
Ye Kent they were tally’s the minute they spoke.

On a cauld winter’s night when we sat roon the fire,
Each telt a story, not one was a liar.
Then in the morning, no lang efter dawn .
Ye got handed a parcel and sent tae the pawn .

Those days were so rosy, but money was tight,
The wages hauf feenished by Seterday night.
But still we came through it and weathered the ruts,
The reason is simple – our parents had guts.


Just to gie ya a wee starter....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSQt37Q1Ins&feature=related