Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Early Childhood Memories.

Some people have very early childhood memories,while others have no such recall. I don't know if this confers any special attributes on those who have,but whether this is a blessing or not,some of my early memories are particularly vivid,all those years on. My earliest memory is sitting in one of these large coach built prams(Silver Cross/Marmet type),which for my mother must have been a welcome hand-me-down. It was a beautiful summer's day,and a young neighbour's girl,May Macinnes was in charge of me,while she sat on a bench in the Robertson Park in Renfrew. To this day, I know the exact spot where the pram was placed.I remember the beautiful show of flowers nearby,and being about 10 months old ( first summer after 1941),I was in one of those embroidered white frocks,which even little boys were wont to wear,back in these days. This would be the summer of 1942. I remember the air raid siren being tested (the siren was on the roof of the police station,next door to us on Inchinnan Road ),and I recall very clearly burying my head beneath some pillows. I remember the drill of pulling on that awful stinking gas mask.I can still see my uncle(Iain Shoudie)home on leave,and visiting us in Renfrew in his navy uniform and hat. For the long period before D-Day,there was a great build-up of US naval personnel in the Firth of Clyde,and when off-duty they were transported by naval trucks "up country" to the towns on the Clyde. I had my own American pals who gathered nightly at McShane's fish and chip shop at the end of our tenement building. I would entertain them with my take on Churchill and Hitler,which they seemed to enjoy, and for which I'd be rewarded with "candy" or sticks of American spearmint chewing gum(not those Chiclets of British Beechnut!).These Americans had little cameras,and I often had my photograph taken "to show the folks back home" in Idaho or Virginia this "delightful Scottish child". My mother would come downstairs to fetch me, and lead little Churchill home for his bath in the "sink". The sink overlooked the main road,and I was always conscious that the girl Macaskill,directly opposite, might catch sight of me during these ablutions.
I have early childhood memories of Dalmore,although one or two are now a bit tattered with age. I have already told the story(in a very early post)of the death of Monty,Murchadh a' Sgiobair's dog, and my part in his burial. As pall-bearers go,I was very young indeed. When I was 3 or 4,there was small dump inside the village fence,in "lot na Cnamhan" which fascinated me.I presume that the dump was entirely of the Bones Family's making,and that the rubbish therein rightfully belonged to them. Undeterred,my eyes noticed an old lead-acid battery lying there,and I instantly saw a use for it (Don't ask,please). I manhandled it onto the road and using a bit of rope I dragged it very slowly through the village. The journey was long and the battery was heavy,but finally I got this trophy back home to No.5 Dalmore,where my grandfather,Glass and my mother just happened to be standing. "Where did you get that,A Ghraidh?" asked Old Glass. I told him that it was just a bit of rubbish from the dump at Taigh na Cnamhan,but while I felt that it might not win favour with the bodach,I hoped that it might just squeeze past my "modern" mother,Glass's favourite child. "Now,A Ghraidh,take the thing back to where you got it". A "modern" plea was entered on my behalf by my mother,but to no avail. "Rud nach buin thut,na buin dha" is what he told me (and my mother,too)and I never forgot it. A translation would be "If something doesn't belong to you,don't have anything to do with it". Well, I had to drag the bloody thing all the way out to Old Bones' dump,and what pained me was that I couldn't even remember what I was going to do with it(the battery,that is). These early memories are like small gems at the bottom of a trinket box.

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