I met Jean in 1951 when she came to work beside me in a large warehouse in the centre of Glasgow (Glens, to be exact). She came from Auchinairn in Bishopbriggs so was considered not to be a true Glaswegian. That is until Bishopbriggs was incorporated into Greater Glasgow Region and became Strathclyde Region.
Looking back, I kind of fell for her after a while and we began courting (or winching). We went together for over a year before we decided to become engaged. So, once the ring had been bought (from money I won at the dog racing) we decided we would start saving up to get married and we felt as soon as we had enough we would marry as soon as possible.
We were engaged for eighteen months and, luckily, I had won some money on the football pools - £75 it was - so put with what we had saved we decided it was time to get married.
We made up our minds we would marry as soon as a house became available, or her other sister moved out of her mothers house, then we could move in until we were allocated a house in Bishopbriggs. This was the custom of the time and perfectly acceptable.
However, a room and kitchen became available on the top floor above my mother and father, so off we went to the factor to ask if we could have it. He told us it was ours for the princely sum of 7/- per week - seven shillings, or 35 pence.
We spent over six weeks cleaning it, IT WAS FILTHY!!!! Another two weeks decorating and furnishing it until it looked like a little palace. AND ALL OURS!!
We made arrangements to be married four weeks later. You know, people have asked me why we didn't just move in after we had decorated it but actually the thought never once entered our heads. Back in 1954 it just wasn't done - I don't know of any young couples who lived together.
What I negected to tell he was that we would be moving next door to the neighbours from hell. The father had died, leaving no less than seventeen children, each one wilder than the other. I had spoken to the mother who assured me that her family would never cause us any trouble. Famous last words.
So, we married on 22 May i954 in St Matthew's Church in Bishopbriggs, taxied back to Glasgow to have our wedding pictures done, then back to her mother's for the reception. From there on to a famous resturaunt in the City Centre called Ferarri's in Buchanan Street for a slap up meal with Jean and myself along with our best man and best maid. From there to The Glasgow Empire, the most famous theatre in Glasgow where the star attraction was the famous American singer, Billy Daniels, who was pretty fabulous by the way. Then a taxi back to our lovely little new house for a week-end honeymoon.
We had just got into bed, after a bit of kissing and cuddling, when suddenly there was a riot from next door. They were all fighting on the landing outside our door. Bumping up against the door to such an extent we thought was about to come in. It must have been such a culture shock for Jean, coming as she did from the relative opulence of a four apartment house in Auchinairn to a room and kitchen on the top floor in the Cowcaddens.
I jumped up right away, pulled on my artificial leg, put on my clothes and a dressing gown to go to the door to see what was happening. When I got there the disturbance had subsided and the family's mother apologied to me most profusely and promised it would not happen again.
But when I got back into the house there was Jean, now fully dressed and with her bag packed and crying "I want to go back to my mammy". It took me hours to calm her down and get her to get back into bed to continue our honeymoon.
We lived very happily, beautifully and lovingly in our little house for the next four and a half years, when Jean announced to me that she had seen the doctor who confirmed to her she was two months pregnant.
We were both absolutely delighted. UNTIL!! The day after she gave me the good news and while we were both at work, THE HOUSE WAS BURGLED.
All the things we cherished were stolen and the house was trashed. From then on Jean wouldn't stay in the house and it was only a matter of time before we moved to live with her parents in Bishopbriggs, where I still live till the present day. We had to wait another seven and a half years before our second and last child was born .
But it was well worth the wait. We had the perfect family.