EARLY WORK

   In the meantime, these were hard times and the "Great Depression" was building up steam. My dad was on "short-time" for long periods, which meant working 30 hours a week instead of the standard 48 of that time.  Kit started working as a bus conductor, but money was tight.  Although we kids didn't realize it, our parents were having a hard time making ends meet. I got a job delivering milk in the mornings for the princely sum of 4 shillings a week!  I started at six a. m. and had a hand cart loaded with milk bottles in quarts, pints and half-pints. My route started at the canal bridge and worked the main road back to the east end, serving about 70 customers, some of whom lived on dark cat-smelling stairs, which was suffocating.   

At the beginning of 1927, I started a second job delivering groceries after school and on Saturdays.  I was 12 years old, but big and mature, which was probably the reason for what befell me the following year.  By chance, I was in the "bus garage" one day (the garage Kit worked out of), and the manager asked me if I would do a shift for him as conductor, because a girl had not turned up.  So I took over, worked the shift and made about 5 shillings, which was quite a lot then.  This was during the school holidays, so he asked me if I would fill in if he needed me again.  So I did quite a bit of conducting that summer. 

   On August 3rd, at about 4 o'clock, a driver came for me with the "Big bus", a 36-seater Albion.  We did the trip from Dalmuir to Glasgow, where we turned around for the trip to Balloch, Loch Lomond.  We pulled into Balloch about 7 p.m., and after the last passenger was dropped off, I was going to get off at the tea-room to get some tea for the driver and myself.  I jumped out the front door, but, unseen by the driver, I fell with my right leg in the way of the back wheels.  My leg was badly damaged and, after an 18-mile journey to the Western Infirmary, my life took another turn, and, certainly, took away my earning capacity and put my "conducting" behind me.  Incidentally, it also knocked my driving ambition on the head.  As a budding conductor, I got an odd shot at the wheel on quiet trips, and I learned to cope with a stick shift through a gate change, and for that, one had to be able to do a smart double-declutch, revving up between shifts. At my age, it was thrilling and I was not even thinking of what the future would bring.  That all came to a crashing stop that Friday evening, but it did not really hit me immediately.  I just lived day to day without much concern for the years ahead.