COURTING BESSIE

   I started my courtship of Bessie during this period, and I was usually the last of the family to get home at night.  Often, I'd go in at night to hear Grandpa Cathro reciting or conversing with Miss Moneypenny.  He slowly went downhill and we all knew his end was near.  He died in my arms one evening in 1934, when I was at home.  He was buried in Riddrie Park Cemetery beside his wife, Sara, and his son, Captain Alec Cathro.   

After that, we carried on as before.  I had almost given up cycling in order to pursue my courtship, although I took it up again later.  Just after the war, I had a tandem and a solo bike, and Bessie and I used it when shopping in Linnvale, but that was a few years down the road.  In those days, in the early thirties, jobs were not easy to come by, but always optimistic, we went around to different plants each morning and kept hoping.  One Friday night, my dad came in for dinner and said he had to go back to work again because of a breakdown.  My mother told me she had tickets for a social evening at the British Legion.   She suggested I go with her, since my dad couldn't attend.  Rather less than enthusiastically, I agreed to go. 

   This was one of those little affairs where they offered a buffet meal with tea and cake, etc.,  and some dancing after.  At that time, I didn't even attempt to dance, although in later years, I did shuffle around a bit.  I was standing in the passage leading into the hall and watching others dance when my mother came by.   A girl standing nearby recognized her and started chatting, and my mother then introduced me as her son to -- Ta Ra:  Bessie Fraser.  From that night on, we were absolutely inseparable.  We went every place together, every waking moment; we just lived for each other.  She was beautiful in every way and had the sweetest disposition you could hope to see.    

At any rate, she must have really brought me good luck, because very soon after, I was still job hunting, and this day, I had gone to Beardmores, Dalmuir at 7 a.m. to watch for the foreman going in.  This was in the days before personnel officers, when foremen had the right to start their own people.  Anyway, this morning I met Joe Maxwell, whom I had approached several times before.  This day, he stopped and asked me if I would take a job as an apprentice machine operator.  That started the ball rolling.  That same Joe Maxwell went to Brown's years later and ran into Robert, and, of course, he asked if he was any relation to Willie C.  Upon Robert telling him I was his brother, he sang my praises and said he'd never forgotten me.  This was probably 20 years later.  I stayed in Beardmores till the work started running down and I was laid off.  The next place I went was Drysdale and Co. in Yoker, and this is where I got experience on heavy boring mills.  I stayed there till August 20, 1939, when I went to Harland and Wolff.