LINNVALE

   In 1949, our name came out in the ballot for a new house and we were lucky enough to get one in Linnvale, which was where we wanted to go.  We got a four-room house, with a small garden around it.  The house was built across the end of two avenues, with a large, open space in front, which the town cultivated as an open space.  The two avenues came around a big curve and left us open at the front.  We could not have picked a better site, and in addition, our house had been the sample house for the project, so we had many extra little details that some of the other houses lacked.  After our wartime experiences of living under fire and in cramped quarters with our relatives, and having to move around so much, it was like Buckingham Palace with all the rooms and all that space.  The only thing that restricted our elation was having Margaret in hospital.  When we moved into 72, Attlee Avenue in January 1949, we had the bare necessities, no fancy stuff, and we set about furnishing a whole new set of rooms.  We tried to add something every week or so, but we spent so much money and time travelling to Ballochmyle, it wasn't easy. 

The house was the 30th house to be allocated in the development and all around us, the builders were still working for the first year or so.  With the builders still around with their equipment, every road in and out was ankle deep in mud, so when we were going out all dressed up, we wore old shoes or overshoes to walk out to the bus stop on the Boulevard.  I recall that when we were going to the hospital, Helen would walk out with us as far as the Boulevard to bring the old shoes home, after we had changed to our good shoes.  Billy Rogers, who was courting my sister, Mary, came up on Saturdays and "took care" of Elizabeth.  He helped lay linoleum and tiles, etc., when he was there.  Elizabeth was quite a handful then, and she gave Billy a hard time stealing his tools and generally being a nuisance, but Billy was very good with her and always had a good laugh at it.  The roads in Linnvale were laid out and completed as the builders worked around and, in due course, we got rid of the mud.  In the summer of 1949, during one of the periods when Margaret was out of hospital, I had just come in from work one Wednesday about 4 p.m. and Bessie was not well.  It soon became evident that I had a major problem on my hands, because she was pregnant and started to miscarry.  Margaret tried to help, but being on crutches, she could not help very much.

With a struggle, I got Bessie upstairs and put her in bed.  Then I raised the bottom of the bed by about a foot using some wood I'd had for some job or other.  I soaked a couple of large towels in cold water and applied them to help stop the bleeding.  I had previously sent Helen to tell my mother, and when she was on the way, I left to find a telephone.  We had no lines into Linnvale at that time, so I took my bike and flew down over the canal bridge to Whitecrook.  The first phone I tried was out of order and I had to go on further before I found one that worked.  Then I discovered that as it was Wednesday, our doctor's day off, I had to talk with his wife on the phone.  She took all the information and said she would have the "locum" come right away.  Hurrying back home, I found the situation no better, but no worse, and shortly after, our own doctor arrived.  His wife had managed to contact him.  He said I'd done all the right things and then went away to call an ambulance, which arrived very shortly to whisk Bessie away to Robroyston Hospital, on the far north side of Glasgow. 

By this time, my mother had arrived and she stayed with the girls while I went to the hospital with Bessie.  When we arrived, we found we'd lost the baby, and they did a D&C procedure.  I attributed this to all the stress of travelling back and forth three times a week to Ballochmyle and it never really got any less.  When I got home again that night, my mother had cleaned up everything and had the bedsheets and towels, etc., all washed and cleaned.  Bessie came home from hospital on the following Monday and Margaret went back to Ballochmyle later that week.

When the accident happened, I was still working nights in Hillington and the week after, I stayed home because I couldn't concentrate on work or anything else.  My mind was in a total spin, and Bessie and I had a very difficult time trying to comfort each other.  Finally, I decided I'd try to get a job nearer home, so that I could be reached.  I had no trouble latching onto a job back in Harland & Wolff.