We did a lot of touring around, round the Lochs and down the coast in the years 1930, '31, and into '32, and did trips to Edinburgh or down through Ayrshire or over to Lochearn and Killin. I knocked the life out of my "prosthesis" which was a name I never heard until I came to the United States. Before that, it was just a "limb." I had a lot of fun and had a lot of good pals during my cycling days.
Around 1931, I was down the Ayrshire coast one Sunday with our little group, and in Stevenson, I met Tony Ventilla for the first time. Tony had cycled down from Clydebank with his boss, Mr. Stefano, and had been gathering shellfish. They were riding big, upright bikes, but when Tony saw our sleek lightweight racing frames, he decided he was going in for our style of cycling. He was a couple of years younger than me, but we really hit it off, and for a year or two, we were as close as brothers. My mother had a very soft spot for Tony which eventually resulted in a very close relationship with our families.
Sometime in 1932 or '33, my father's father, whom I hadn't seen since the early twenties, came to Dalmuir to live with us. At one time, they lived at 300 Westmuir Street in Parkhead, in the East End of Glasgow and I have a hazy recollection of visiting there when I was very young. I think, but can't be sure, that the Murdoch's lived at that address too, before the old man went to live with the Dale's in Kirn. He had been widowed in December 1915 and from all accounts, hit the bottle hard in the following years, before going to Kirn. At any rate, he went to Kirn, and in his retirement, worked as a gardener for a Monsignor of the Catholic Church, which may have helped him to stay sober.
Eventually, in failing health and deteriorating mind, his daughter, Mary, packed him off to live with us. He could not do much for himself, and eventually, my dad had to nurse him almost like a child. He slept in a hospital bed on the other side of my room, and, in his condition, barely knew night from day, so that I would often hear him having imaginary conversations with people he knew in his past. He used to chat with "Isabella Moneypenny," one name I remember among others, and on other occasions, he would recite passages he remembered from the Bible or parts of hymns. One of these was "Lead kindly light," and he used to really orate when he came to the bit -- "O grave, where is thy victory, O death, where is thy Sting."