Florence Louise Taylor (1920--1997)

Chapter One


My very earliest memory was of standing on a chair in the kitchen of 1411 Myrtle Street, Sioux City, Iowa. Dad had just come home from work and Mom was filling the sink with cold water. Dad was undoing what to me, was a huge block of ice cream, ”Ha! A treat for supper tonight, Flosie.” He called me that until the day he died.

My only other memory of that house was of falling off another chair near our pot bellied stove in the living room, and the fright that I got, Mom told me later that I shouted out, “Save me for myself”.

Next time I remember it was all upheaval, I got a cookie shoved in my hand and was told by Dad to go and sit on the porch with DohDoh (that was Georgia, my elder sister by eighteen months). Dad and Mom gave her that nickname. Then I remember trying to climb up a very, very tall stair and falling down that. This was during a move to a larger house just up the road, I learned later, at 1425 Myrtle Street. It also had a large pot bellied stove in the large living room.

I can remember sitting on Dad’s lap with Georgia, or DohDoh, (Dad called her that or Dode as that, he told us, was short for George in Scotland where he was born.) We used to sit there while he read the” funny papers” to us, comics you would call them. I was about three and half years old at that time. Dad was looking for work as the packing house job had folded up at the time.

I remember Mom in her apron and slippers and her beautiful shiny dark hair falling to her shoulders, she was doing something at the large stove, like an Aga cooker, my oldest sister Marge was in the kitchen with Dode getting ready for school, when for the first time ever, I heard Mom shouting as she pulled a purse from her pocket and threw it across the floor, burst into tears shouting, “I don’t have a nickel, you’ll just have to tell your teacher.” By then we all started crying and ran to her , all trying to cuddle her at the same time saying, “Sorry Mom, don’t cry, don’t cry.”

I remember Marge, Dode and me (I was four), in our bedroom upstairs trying to see out. It was like a large square hall with Mom and Dads room, our room and the bathroom leading off it, plus there was an open staircasewith railings.

One night, Doc Murphy, a fellow Scot of Dad’s even with that Irish name, came to our room and said,” Come awa noo, be guid bairns noo, yer Mither is having a wee laddie, we hope, or maybe a wee lassie, hud yer wheesht noo.”

I remember the shouting, “ Geordie, Geordie, come quick, it’s a lad, it’s a lad.”

A bit later we, us girls, were taken in to see the wee red faced baby, it might have been a dolly.

After three girls this was it, a son, it made their long happy marriage and our family complete. Another August baby too, that made three of us, Marge, me and George (well they couldn’t have called him anything else) all in August while Georgia was in January (she was named after Dad as well, in case they never had a boy.)

I remember a terrible time to come. George was only a couple of months old when a terrible ‘flu’ came over from Europe after the first world war. Mom, still recovering from the birth of the baby, had to take him “off the breast” because she took the bug so bad. Doc Murphy was there nearly every day as DohDoh took it as well, but really bad. Luckily Geordie junior missed it but Mom being still weak from the long birth must have been really worn out. Georgia, though five and a half years old, had gotten so thin that she was wearing Geordies nappies and gowns. She was ill for many weeks and was so frail as she grew up I remember Dad, in terms of affection, calling her his little “spare a fart” because he said she was so thin “ she couldn’t spare a fart”.

Around that time I took mumps (the only one of us, ”Thank the Lord,” says Mom) and a huge boil on my left leg, I still have the scar yet. Doc Murphy was hardly ever out of the house, I heard him say to Dad, “Christ, Geordie never you mind aboot payment, if we ever get back to Scotland you can buy me a guid nip o’ Scotch”.

Our next move of house was to 2509 George Street, two streets back from Myrtle Street. It wasn’t just the name of the street but also the size of the house and gardens, to me it was huge. It had a very large kitchen with a larder off ( that was later removed). On the top shelf that first day Mom found a corn cob dolly and some blocks, I got the dolly and Georgia got the blocks. There was no running water but a huge sink with a hand pump at the end. We had to pump the handle and we used to fight for a turn when Dad was washing his hair. He had beautiful hair and very thick, he would stand at the mirror for ages with two brushes, not for the first time Mom would say, “Carry on like that dear and you’ll be bald by the time your forty.” She was right too, he was, but it proved in later years that this was a Stalker trait, every male in the family had the same head , even the cousins.

I remember the day we got running water, what a lovely day that was, a back porch led from the kitchen and Mom couldn’t wait to get a hosepipe from the sink out to the porch. It was a really hot day and every one of us were soaked to the skin in minutes, even the neighbours kids. From the kitchen, a door led to a huge dining room, big enough to have a ball, many a birthday and Christmas party were held there. there was four doors off this room, one led to an L shaped porch, one to the living room that had four large windows, one onto the front porch, two onto the side porch and one at the side looking over the fields at the side of the house. One door led to a downstair bedroom and another to a covered staircase. Up there was a large bedroom where we, us girls, slept. Another for Mom and Dad and George still in his cot. Opposite a large bathroom with a linen cupboard to the left. The floor rose up a step to the toilet, sink and bath with a window leading to the back garden. I remember Georgia climbing out of there on to the big oak tree and swinging like a monkey from branch to branch. She was the tomboy of the family, Mom and Dad said she should have been a boy.

Those were really happy days there, I remember.

Chapter Two


I started school at six years at Crescent Park, I didn’t mind going as Marge and Georgia were always with me, but coming home at a different time from them, I dreaded. There was a house I had to pass where they had a big guard dog that I was terrified of, Mom said it only wanted to be friends with me , I never believed that! By this time Dad had left thepacking house where heworked while on Myrtle Street and had a job in a coal yard where he was finally made manager. Mom took in sewing and, as she was such a good and baker, was in great demand in the neighbourhood to sell her wares.

I can’t remember exactly when Dad joined the Party but after that there was always gatherings of men and women holding meetings or discussions at our house. That was the time we first met Swizzy, never did know his other names. We girls used to take turns at evening meal dishes in rota, one would clear up, one would wash and one would dry and put away, in a weekly swap about. That first night that Swizzy came to our house we all stood at the living room door looking in, then Marge ( dish towel and cup in hand)said,” Gee! look at the size of his feet,” it seems like just yesterday , but Mom heard her and gave her such a look, it must have been one of her first, it could really make one squirm, even my family now can remember “the look”. Well , Marge dropped the cupand we almost crawled back into the kitchen. Swizzy was a regular visitor after that till the time we left Sioux City. We learned to love him like an uncle. He was a bachelorand was caretaker of a sleazy hotel in town, I thought the place was horrible anyway, first time I saw it.

Every Sunday Dad took us all for a long walk, he knew everytree, bush , flower, weed, animal and bird so the walks, though miles long, were never dull. In the winter we would go up to the hills and over the golf course where we would sledge for hours. While I remember, it was up those same hills ona summers walk that I got my real fear of snakes. We were all walking along ,I remember, I had Moms hand when Dad shouted,” Don’t move anybody, stand perfectly still,” there, ready to strike, was a huge rattlesnake. Luckily, Dad always carried a hooked stick when on our walks and managed to get it at the head and pin it down while lifting a big rock and killing it, I have never felt fear like it in my life and to this day I cannot even look at pictures of snakes.

I loved the long , cozy, winter nights sitting around Dads feet while Mom sewed ,embroidered or read. Dad used to tell us stories of his boyhood in Scotland, Kirriemuir and district, till we felt we almost knew it. I don’t remember him talking much about the seven years he spent in India as a soldier in The Black Watch until much later when we came to Scotland.

After Dad joined the Party our lives changed, Oh! we were all still happy enough but the depression had struck the States and times were really hard. Dad lost his job when the coal yard closed and there was just no other work to be had. Mom though, always managed to give us kids our birthday parties, we August born ones shared our party and it was usually outside because August was always hot. Georgia being born in January, had her own party indoors with her friends, some of ours were invited too of course.

The day Dad lost his job he said,” Right, that’s it, nothing will be paid.” I remember our lights being cut off for non payment but not for long as Dad reconnected the supply himself once, twice, three times every time they cut us off Dad went farther and farther up the road till he’d climbed every pole up the hill to the top of our road. He must have finally got the bill paid because after a few weeks of doing our homework by candlelight they were switched back on. Those were happy days.

Chapter Three


Dad was by then a strong “red” and an organiser of the party, so the Mayor and the city authorities decided we were no longer welcome in Iowa and were to be thrown out of the State. I remember our friends, neighbours and comradesall running around with trucks and vans and empty boxes helping to move us. It must have been so hard for Mom, but Dad took all in his stride. The Mayor was there and police with dogs to escort us to the State line and see us across. I remember saying to Mom,” Butwhy? we like it here”, I still remember her answer to this day, she said,” Flosie love, I don’t want to go either and leave our lovely home that we’ve worked for and love, but when one loves your Dad as I do, you follow him.” “It won’t be so bad you’ll see, we will still all be together.”

Well we were escorted to the State line of Iowa and across the river to Nebraska, but as soon as the police went away we about turned and came back over the line to Council Bluffs where a crowd of Party members were waiting to help us. It was the middle of winter and they moved us into a dump of a place. The first night there I snuggled up between Georgia and Marge in bed with everything covering us that Mom could find. I put my hand on the wall and felt ice ,it was freezing, but Dad said,” It won’t be for long, it’s only temporary.” I can remember sitting around an old oil burner all trying to get warm at once, and Mom boiling melted snow on the heater to make tea.

We were enrolled in a school, it was just called Ave. B. The family next door had children our ages so we walked to school with them. Mom cried a lot and friends from Sioux City visited. Dad hitch hiked all over looking for work. I remember he hitched a ride on the back of a cattle truck and the breath from the beasts froze his hands. When he got to the bottom of the road he had to pull his hands away and roll over to the side of the road.He was frozen to the ground until sun up when he managed to crawl home. He had frostbite to both hands and one foot, I remember thinking it very queer , Mom rubbing his hands and feet with snowballs, she explained that if she’d used hot water they might have fallen off. That was a terrible winter.

By spring we were in Omaha, living in an old schoolhouse that was Party headquarters. We were all sent to school, Marge being the eldest was sent to High School. It was about this time that Dads fight with the system really started and they, the Party began having meetings and demonstrations etc.

I remember our next move , our next new home, it was in the Burdette Apartments, but I can’t remember how long we were there. I made a friend there, a coloured girl, I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t come out to play with me but I found out from Dad that she didn’t just work in that house, she was a servant slave. I felt so sorry for her , I used to sneak down to the fence and give her sweets. One time she got a very bad beating up then I never saw her again, Dad said,” They probably killed her, the bastards.”

We made some really good friends at that time, it was the school summer holidays. The family name was German, Schleabau, the father was Ed a widower, his son was Walter and his daughters Olive and Vernice, he had another daughter who did not live at home so we never met her. Ed had a market garden and they turned out to be like a second family to us. I remember when Mom and Dad were arrested, us kids were rounded up and sent to a homebut we had been told never to obey the keepers as we were not orphans and should not be there. So every job they put us to we made a complete mess of, Marge was made to iron so she burned all the bed linen, Georgia and I were made to wash floors so we left soap suds all over. Matron, a fat ugly pig of a woman, slipped and fell on her arse and broke her tailbone. Best of all was we were all really good at it.

George was kept separate from us so we didn’t get to see him. I remember one night I had a terrible dose of hives, we slept in a dormitory so Marge got out of bed to help me, when Matron walked in she gave Marge an awful slap in the face so Marge just gave her one straight back and with such force. We were mostly ignored after that.

When Mom and Dad got out of jail a few days later Party members swarmed the gates to get us released but the police had got word of them coming. We were locked in a room upstairs watching from the window and wondering what was going on, there was police with guns and dogs all over the grounds. After a long time Dad and his friends were allowed in, we were taken downstairs and told to wait in another room. When we saw Dad it was a relief, we were freed into his custody and after collecting George we went home ,back to the apartments. Dad was at this time waiting for his deportation trial and knew that the courts were intending to take us away again, so we were moved out. Georgia and I were sent to Sioux City, Marge to the safety of Ed Schleabaus farm and George to another comrades farm who had two boys. Later we were told he had a great time in Council Bluffs. Georgia and I stayed on a small farm with Jan Longren, he had two sons , Carl and Herman and a daughter at university who only came up at weekends. We were supposed to be in hiding until after Dads trial. 

I can remember well the day the police came looking for us. We spotted them coming when Jan was out working in the fields, so we locked ourselves in the pantry and never answered the door. Jan was very puzzled and wondered where the heck we were, but to the police he denied we were ever there. Anyway ,in the pantry we had a ball, we ate all the cookies and played with the sugar cubes until Jan got rid of the police and found us. We did’nt get a ticking off, but we were on the move again as the police said they would be back. Jan Longren laughed his head off and said,” Like father, like family.” He was also a party member so had to watch his Ps and Qs as well, as he was an early immigrant from Sweden.

So to a widow this time who did charity work and gave money to Party funds, we had to do everything for her. She looked like a witch and was really creepy.

One day when she was out we decided to have a look down the cellar where we were forbidden to go, and Whow! there was dozens of jars and bottles of sweets of all kinds, peanut brittle, mint balls, fudges, chocs the lot. We knew, as fly as we were, not to disturb the jars so we took a few from each jar then put the lids back on tight. Anyway, although she was goodenough to us ,she didn’t really like us so we were packed of to another couple down the road.

The man worked on a lorry and the woman worked in some big house in the early morning. Their two sons were as different as peas and sugar. It was late at night when we arrived so we were sent right to bed. Next morning I woke early to voices, looking from the door I saw a boy who turned out to be Lemoire. He was the ugliest boy I had ever seen in my life and he was busy ironing clothes that looked like mine. They were mine, he had washed our clothes after we went to bed and was told by his mother to have them ready for us getting up. We couldn’t keep our eyes off him he was so ugly. He gave us both a huge grin and said, ”It’s o.k. Floss and Joe,(his names for us) I’m a big shock to everyone, but wait till you see Herbie.” When we did we couldn’t believe the difference, he was tall, blond and beautiful and Georgia fell instantly in love with him. We both grew to be really fond of Lemoire too, he was too good to be true. He was so kind and gentle, and cheery all the time, and so good to his Mom and Dad. We heard that he’d had a terrible disease when he was very small and they nearly lost him.

That was a wonderful summer, Georgia was never off the bike, I could never master it, but I was a skater, roller skates I could do anything on. We made so many friends there, a gang really, but then it was time to go back to Omaha again. Mrs. Brown gave us a lovely party with all the new friends we had made while staying with them. They, the crowd, always called Georgia “Tennessee”, in place of the state of Georgia.

Chapter Four


We went back to the apartments to find Dads trial was over and he was to be deported on the 1st of June.I don’t know what had happened but the day we went home we were moving again, from the flats to a house down the road. All the neighbours were out to help us with the move.

That day five things happened, Mom being very superstitious worried herself sickbecause as the van with the furniture was moving off a black cat crossed it’s path, this is supposed to be a sign of bad luck in the States, but in Britain it is supposed to be good luck ,which just goes to show what rubbish it all is. When the movers were loading the van the mirror was broken off the dresser and when they were carrying it into the new house Mom cried,” God! that looks just like a coffin.”

Georgia at this time was suffering a lot of pain and sickness, but it was put down to overexercise and too much cycling during the summer. On the 14th of September at 4o’clock in the morning she was taken to a catholic hospital, which was a free charity one, and she was operated on for acute appendicitis.

She seemed to get on fine and after a few days we went to bring her home. On that day , all of the family plus some young pioneers and friends were there in cars. When we arrivedwe were all kept outside except Dad, but Mom followed him in with a bunch of flowers and a cake she had made. Waiting in the corridor we heard terrible screams , then Mom came out tearing her hair and in hysterics. Our darling beautiful sister was dead. She had died ten minutes before we got to the hospital. I have never in my life forgotten it. A boy who was with us and was very fond of her ran screaming down the corridor and threw himself over the bannister of the staircase, he was quite badly injured. His name was Clifford Hucks, I’ll always remember that as well, he turned up later at the funeral with arm and leg in plaster and on crutches.

Next day I was standing at the ironing board getting our clothes ready for the funeral the following day, the house seemed to be packed with friends and neighbours, Ed and Walt Schleabau etc. were there. Mom was sitting on the couch with Dads arm around her,she was looking at the contents of a parcel she had just opened. Then, a scene of horror that has stuck in my memory and will never fade after all these years, on Moms lap was a beautiful red dress with a white frilly collar and a pair of white shoes and stockings. Moms screams could have been heard for miles,” All her life our darling wanted a red dress and white shoes,” Mom shouted through her tears,” Now she can’t even see them.” Dad was holding her tight and crying too,” Oh! Susie I thought you would have wanted this, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” This was a terrible time.

At the funeral, which turned out to be huge, folk turned up from all over the States and Mother Bloor, a great friends and comrade who was originally from Russia, conducted the service. I remember when I stood at the top of the coffin and looked down on my beloved sister, like Mom I was thinking, if only she could have got her red dress sooner. She was the dearest friend and mate I ever had or could hope to meet.

That was about my last memory of Omaha, we left shortly after that.

Chapter Five



The reason given on Dads deportation documents was “for trying to overthrow the United States Government by force or violence.”

While we were waiting for the train I remember, sitting, staring into space and thinking ,” How am I going to get along without my mate, my pal and sister.” She was the only one of us who wanted to come to Scotland, now she was the one being left behind. I felt a hand on mine and an arm around my shoulder and a voice said,” I love you, and always have, I’ll come to Scotland for you, please wait and don’t marry a Willie.” How did he know? It was Walt Schleabau crying in my ear.

Everyone we knew came to the station to see us off. I didn’t know till later, that they, our friends had fought with the authorities to let Dad travel with us as far as New York instead of with the other deportees. It took a day and a half on the train to reach New York, when we arrived we were met at the station and Dad was taken right to the ship. Two women , like social workers I suppose, escorted Mom and us kids to a rooming house where we stayed till time for the voyage, a couple of days I think. It wasn’t bad though as we were able to get about on our own. I remember Mom was given some money and told she could feed us off it. Well we walked and walked and saw some of the sights, then we took hamburgers( not nearly as good as Moms homemade ones) back to our room. Next morning a man and woman came and took us to the ship, we were greatly surprised to find Dad on deck to meet us. He wasn’t allowed to stay with us though, he had to sleep in the hold with the other deportees. He made a lot of friends among them and even managed to convert some to his way of thinking, three in particular, who later joined the Party and turned out to be friends for life.


I forgot to mention our Marges journey in the train to New York, poor lass, as she was always so stout she was given a pair of corsets, stays we called them. Well, she couldn’t sleep, walk about the train or anything and spent the whole journey very miserable. Needless to say when we arrived she said,”To hell with looks, from now on I’m going to let it all fall out,” and she did, after throwing the darn things down the chute at the rooming house.


Well, anyway back to the ship, we were given a very nice berth, Mom and us kids, and we sailed on the 7th of June,1933. As we sailed out of New York the ship was held up for some reason, we were all looking over the railing to a boat full of newspapermen and a camera crew. They shouted up,” What’s happened?” and Dad shouted back,” We’ve struck the only bank that President Hoover hasn’t closed.” I’ll never forget the men rolling about laughing.We heard later that it was printed in the New York Times.


Chapter Six


We arrived in Scotland and sailed up the Clyde to Glasgow on the 18th or 19th of June. We were all gathered on deck while Dad pointed out and explained where everyplace was as we sailed past with tears streaming down his face. Poor bugger he was so glad to be coming home. When we disembarked we were at last reunited as a family. Walking along the platform of the station (I will never forget this either)was young George, in his fancy light coloured suit with long trousers and cream coloured cap, coming towards us was a young couple with a boy about the same size as George. The boy was dressed in a whole Scottish rig out, kilt, brogue shoes, tartan tammy etc. Irememberthinking if only we had a camera, they both stopped in the middle of the platform and just stared at each other.

The train we got didn’t go as far as Kirriemuir so we only got to Forfar. The first one we met on the platform was Dads cousin, he was head porter there. Well there was kisses and cuddles all round and then,”But Geordie,” he said, “There is no way you’re all going to walk from here to Kirrie tonight! I’ll tell you what, the early train to Kirrie is here, waiting till 6am,so come along the lot of you and we’ll put you into that, you can sleep on the seats.” That we did, and thought it was great fun.

We arrived in Kirrie at 6.30am I’ll never forget the walk up from the station, if you don’t know Kirrie there is a very, very steep hill from the factory up to Manse Lane where Dads parents lived. Well we were mobbed, the workers at the factory had got wordof Dads arrival and even though the starting hooter had sounded, they all surrounded us. I’m sure it musthave taken us more than an hour to reach Grans cottage that morning. Our Grandfather who also worked at the factory, had come off the night shift earlier and was at the door with our Gran to meet us, with his long, long beardtucked in his belt. 

Well that is about all my memories for now, I could go on and on but I will continue later. I am 74 now so I just might have some time left yet. 

Chapter Seven



I remember later, after I had been having a sleep on Grans bed that was in the kitchen, she asked me to go to the shop for her. It was for a dozen rolls and she put something extra in my hand saying,” That is for yourself to spend.” Gosh! a big brown coin!” What will I buy?” I thought to myself. The shop was only a few steps away but, at the top of the lane was a drapers shop, I looked in there for a long time. When I came back Dad said,” Gosh lass, we thought you had got lost.” I said,” I saw this nice blouse in the window Mom, can I buy it with my money from Gran? it only costs a one and a line and a six.” (1/6d) I wondered why everyone laughed so much, I’d only been given one penny.


I also remember that first day in Kirrie, we all walked down to the house whereDad was born, ”The Feus” it was called. On the way there is a row of cottages with a small low wall at the front. In one garden there was an old man sitting in a wheelchair with a large towel or napkin around his neck. Dad just looked at him and said,” My God it’s Charlie!” It turned out he was an old friend of Dads who was now an idiot* after a serious illness. Dad went over to speak to him , and we all stood with our mouths open,agog, to see this old man squirming aboutswinging his arms and shouting. Then his Mother came out of the doorway and said,” Oh we heard all about you Geordie, coming home with your family, but look at Charlie, Christ, I don’t believe it, he knows you, he remembers you.” We all ended up in tears.


(*Note; the term “idiot” wasn't used in a derogatory fashion, but was a classification of mental retardation at the time, e.g. idiot, imbecile, lunatic.)


We carried on down the road till we came to another cottage on the corner in its own grounds. A sign on the wall said, ”The Toll House.” Dad told us it was called this because that was what it used to be. When he was a laddie a fee had to be paid on the main road to Kirriemuir. The cottage was now owned by our Aunt Agnes (she always got Ag) a sister of Dads married to a David Hood, they had a daughter called Bertha and a son called David, but he always got Dite, this was the Scotch name for David. Uncle Dave was the son of Dite Hood who owned the dairy at the top of the road we had come down.The big house on the opposite side used to belong to the author James A. Barrie who wrote the poem,” I remember, I remember, the place where I was born, the little window where the sun comes peeping in at morn, etc. etc. This was supposed to be where he was born. I learned all this on our first sight seeing trip that very first day.


We wandered down Tanners Brae again and up to the High Street, on our way to see Dads brother, our Uncle Arthur, who lived with his wife Bess just off the High Street. It should have been a two minute walk but again we were mobbed , with shopkeepers etc. even an old policeman wanting to shake our hands. I remember thinking, ”Gosh, does the whole of Scotland remember our Dad.”


Our next journey was up “the hill” to the lookout point where you can see for miles all over the countryside, Dad wanted us to see his Grandparents graves etc. From there we walked down a road, a path really,to a beautiful park with ponds, a bandstand, swings etc. This turned out to be our favourite spot.


I will always remember those first weeks in Kirrie, weeks? months? that I can’t remember. George got in with some nice kids and Marge and I got in with a crowd as well, introduced by cousin Andrew who lived with Gran and Grandad. I still can’t remember who Andrew really was, probably an illegitimate of one of the family. Anyway the boys in the group had a dance band up and they played at all the local dances and we all got on great. Harold Stewart played the fiddle and was my favourite and Marge fell for Bob Boland who lived across the road from Grans.

I now remember that we stayed the whole summer there and followed them around when they played at garden parties etc. That was my first memories of Kirrie, I loved it, but Dad was keen to join the Party over here so we moved to Dundee.


Chapter Eight



Our first few nights in Dundee we stayed with another one of Dads brothers, James, the eldest I believe. He lived in what was supposed to be a swanky new housing scheme with his wife Aunt Babs, a son and two daughters. The eldest girl was Agnes (after Aunt Ag in Kirrie) and the other was Jean(after Dads favourite sister who died of T.B. before Dad went to the States) and the son was Jack , after Aunt Babs father. We all got along fine, Uncle Jim was “kinda labour” but was dead set against Dad being a communist. They had many an argument but Mom and Aunt Babs would just wander off to another room and leave them to it.


Anyway we stayed in so many places with so many folk I forget half of them, but there is one I do remember. It was a Mr. Stewart and family up on Clepington Road. I remember this well because they stole the only things our darling Mom brought over from the States. They were two large beautiful original paintings of the “Blue Boy” and “ The Whistler and his Dog” in magnificent frames. They were the only things of any value they had and were given to Mom by the monied man she was first married to. She didn’t keep them for sentimental reasons, they were the only things she had from that awful marriage. Anyway they were hidden away safely in their luggage but when she let Mrs. Stewart see them she insisted on having them hung on her living room wall in case they got damaged. I still remember the fight when we left their house because Mrs. Stewart said that she would call the police if Mom tried to take them with her. Dad said, ”Never mind Honey, Eck(her husband)will get them back for you,” but he never did.


The next place we were sent to was a lovely cottage, belonging to a Party member, over in Gauldry , Fife. Oh! how we loved that place. It was early Autumn 1934, tattie time I remember, and Marge who loved working on the Schleabaus farm back in Omaha couldn’t wait to get started. Her being sixteenshe didn’t have to go to school, so she spent a couple of months on the farm next to the cottage. George and I had to enrol in the village school. I remember the first day like it was yesterday, the school had only three large classrooms and a hall so the classes were of mixed ages. The teacher I got, a Mr. McCulloch, was also the headmaster and was a very nice man who lived in a house by the school. George was in the first class , but more about that later.


Anyway, I was saying about Marge being at the tatties, she loved the work and the fresh air, it was a beautiful autumn, but with constantly pulling the tattie basket through her legs they were in a terrible mess. Women here in those days didn’t wear trousers, if it had been in the States she would have had them on, but in fact she wore an old tweed skirt. By the end of the tattie season she had some horrible injuries and Dad had to take her over to the D.R.I. in Dundee to have them lanced and get the poison out. She had to attend the D.R.I. for treatment every week for a couple of months.

It didn’t stop her other plays though, she would go down to Balmerino Bay and swim out across the Tay. One day there was a sand dredger on the water, so Marge being the gallous bugger that she was thought she would swim out and talk to the crew. She finished up almost in one of the huge buckets of sand that they were hauling, then she couldn’t understand why the men were shouting at her.

We were at the cottage all winter, we used to love the winter nights around the open fire, roasting tatties on sticks from the fireside and making toast. There was no electric lights, only oil lamps, and at the range there was an oven where Mom made her bread and cakes. I remember how they used to melt in your mouth. Dad used to go out and snare rabbits in the woods and pinch eggs down at the farm. One night he brought his bonnet full of eggs into the scullery and was putting them carefully into a bowl Mom had left out when he suddenly shouted,” Christ! look what I’ve done!” One of the eggs was a china one that farmer would put in the nest to entice the hens to lay. On goes his bonnet, and out the door goes Dad. “Where are you going ,” shouts Mom, we didn’t know until he came back half an hour later. He said that he had to put the china egg back in the nest or the farmer would have known they were being pinched, but otherwise the eggs are not missed because the farmer thinks the hens are just not laying so well because of the weather or something. Dad found an old bike in the cellar of the house so he used that to go to St.Andrews where he had to go for his dole money, or as he had never worked in Scotland it was called P.A.C. money. Anyway it was a long ride from Gauldry but he had to do it every Wednesday, rain, hail or snow.

I forgot to mention the “shop”, it was run by an old couple in a large house at the top of the road, they ran it from their kitchen like a wee corner shop. Dad would always stop there and off his dole he would get things like flour etc.for Mom and always a big bag of Pan Drops (Marge is addicted to them yet) We had a pack of cards and we would sit for hours playing 500 rummy for the winning of a few mints. Those were the days.

Marge had to sign on the dole as well, but she had to sign on Thursday at Gellatly Street in Dundee. She would cycle to Tay Bridge Station, leave the bike at the office, get a train to Dundee, get her three shillings, train back over the bridge then cycle back to Gauldry. One night it was dark by the time she got back and as she was cycling along in the dark a Bobby stopped and shouted at her,”Hey! where’s your lights?” and Marge came back with,”Next to my liver, where’s yours?” Well as he was stationed in Gauldry he walked her home. They became an item after that and had a great many dates. I can’t remember his name but Dad and him had a lot of discussions about politics and the state of the country.

I was never really bright at school but I got by and old McCulloch helped. He used to ask me to come up to the blackboard and point out places in the States etc. on the map and tell the class about our travels. I was so embarassed I used to go bright red. In our room there was two classes , mine was called the qualifying class, that was the last one before leaving school at fourteen, to see if you were good enough to go on to higher education. I found some of the work pretty hard.

The pupils were sat in class according to their, from the front desk to the back, with the dummies at the front, then the not so bad in the middle and so on. On the first day I didn’t know about this and I was put in the back row. At playtime there was small groups who were tittering and laughing but some were really angry. There was one girl Ella, who came from this large estate on the other side of the village and she was the ringleader of the troublemakers. I had overstepped her in the class seating arrangements so she took an instant dislike to me. I couldn’t understand why at first but learned later that it was because, her lad, as she called him, was seen talking to me. As he had relatives in America he was always asking about things but Ella was very popular with her beautiful red hair etc. and was the ringleader in all the trouble, we had many a fight.

I remember how embarrassed I used to get when we went outside to the playground for drill. I matured early in life and Mom often remarked on what a beautiful figure I was getting, I was the only one in school who had to wear a bra. Well when we had to tuck our skirts into our pants for exercise the boys would all start whistling and pointing, I was a favourite of theirs which caused a lot of trouble with the other girls.

We had quite a long walk home from school, seemed long to me anyhow, and in the snow it seemed even longer. I made a very good friend who lived farther up the road from us, there were a few of us started out from school together but our cottage was the second on the main road so most others had turned off by then. By this time though all the boys and girls at the school were our friends (except Ellas crowd of course, they were always troublemakers).

Anyway enough of Gauldry, I went back there many years later as a married woman with a wonderful husband, a baby son and a mother and father in law, but that’s another story and will continue later. 

Chapter Nine


Our next move was back to Dundee where we got a room from an old man in Carmichael Street. Our room was one stair up and held two double beds, Mom and Dad in one, Marge and I in the other and young Junior, as we called George by then, on a pull out mattress from under the bed. I remember the place being very dirty to start with as old Ben Gibson wasn’t capable of looking after the place. Mom had to cook on his old gas stove in the kitchen and do the washing in an outhouse that held two large sinks add had a boiler that had to have a fire lit underneath. Mom shared the cost of the coal for this with the three other tenants in the close. She soon had all the rooms, our room, kitchen and toilet on the stair looking spotless. I remember well the day that Dad carried an old table top sewing machine up to the room, it was a big heavy iron thing that had a foot pedal attached by a wire on the floor. That week Dads dole money was spent at Dens Road Market ( Yes, it was there even in 1934 ) on old material of all kinds for curtains etc.

Within a couple of days Mom had run up dresses for me and Marge that were admired everywhere we went. She made trousers and shirts for Junior and Dad etc., old man Gibson was in his element at the way Mom had improved the place.

I can’t remember why we left there to live with a family in Sandeman Street but it was just up the road from Dens Road School so that’s where George and Iwere enrolled. As I had three months left till I was fourteen I still had to go to school. Well I went for a week, then one day I didn’t go, instead I went down to Keillors sweet factory and got myself a job. Great I thought, I came running home singing, I’m a woman, I’m a lady, I can work!Ha, were my dreams shattered when I got home. The school board woman was there to haul me down the road to school. Stupidly enough I had to go back to school for one week until the school holidays started even though my fourteenth birthday fell during the holidays and I wouldn’t be going back.

I got another job the next day, jobs for girls were easy to get in those days, but almost impossible for boys. This job was in a small sweet warehouse from where the shops were supplied, there was only one woman of about twenty five and another young girl called Fiona, we didn’t hit it off very well because she was the silly flighty type who only ever thought of boys.

By this time Dad was well into Party work and Marge and I joined the Y.C.L. (Young Communists League) One of the Party members, John Morgan, got us both interested in the theatre movement, they did plays, had a band etc.

On the first day attending it was here that Willie Taylor and I first met and fell madly in love. I remember the place being rather busy, they were rehearsing a new play and Marge was on stage saying her lines (I laugh now when I think of it because her part was as a floosie prostitute.)

Anyway I happened to glance over to the door of the hall when I saw these two boys entering. One was a tall blond boy who I never gave a second look, but the other, he was shorter and very,very dark, he had a beautiful face with shining black hair and a deep dimple in his chin. Well, our eyes met! I will never forget the thrill that went through me, but when he smiled at me and his teeth shone, he looked to me like some kind of god. He was the leading man in the play so just then the producer, John, said he was wanted on stage, Buddy (as I always called him later) my first and only love, came over and took both my hands in his and said, “Wait for me, please? “Sure” I said,” Forever.” It was done, I was fifteen years old the next day,23rd of August.

We became unofficially engagedon Dads birthday 20th September,1935.

Chapter Ten


About November that year I remember Mom making me wear an old american winter coat of hers, and Dad saying,” Important occasion, Flosie, you’d better be giving your shoes a polish.” I fine remember those shoes as well, they were a cast off pair of Auntie Babs. Still beggars can’t be choosie, and we all seemed to be that those days. Anyway Buddy was pleased with the way I looked.

The big occasion was my first meeting and visit to my future in laws, this turned out to be one surprise after another. Their house in Isles Lane (off the Hawkhill) was right at the end of the lane, I learned later that Buddy's brother Hugh and his wife Ina lived in one of the lower closes at the start of the lane. There was a path between two lovely wee gardens with a window looking on to each, Buddy led me through the close and around the back, to the left was a winding stair with iron railings trimmed with brass fittings. When Buddy opened the door I really thought we would walk into a “but n’ ben” of a room and kitchen. Well ! we walked along a carpeted ( in those days! ) long lobby and into the kitchen. Buddy's Mom, putting her knitting into a bag, rose from an easy chair to greet me, I remember thinking, ”What a dinky ,fat ,rosy and smiling face she had. She made me welcome right enough but I could see I wasn’t good enough for her favourite son. I remember Buddy's Dad coming across to greet me and giving me a big bear hug, his first words to me were,” I am so glad to meet one of Geordie Stalkers family at last, I’m so proud, he’s doing our party so much good already.” It turned out that Buddy's Dad was a very hard working man with a good job and that his Mother was very religious so although their views were entirely different there was a lot of love between them. I learned to love them too as they did me

Their house was actually on three levels with the conservatory, living room and kitchen on the lower, then up a winding stair, again with carpets and polished wood, to a large bedroom and two smaller ones. Then up again to another two bedroom flat in which lived Buddy's sister Agnes, another Aggie, with her husband. When we went in Aggie was in bed nursing her three day old first son. Yeah, it was some house, but when I met the rest of Buddy's family I could see it was needed, there was Jessie, Ella, Aggie, Buddy, Hughie, David, Benny and Stanley, though not in that order.

By this time my Mom and Dad had got a house one stair up in St.Mary Place, number 12. It was up Gardners Lane off Lochee Road, and they were well settled with young Geordie. Marge had taken herself off to London a few months before and was settled in to a good job and a flat and had even joined a Y.C.L. group down there. Uncle Jim was so worried about her he took a train to London, he got for nothing of course because of his Masters job at Tay Bridge Station, but he got a shock and a surprise when he saw how well she was coping.

It was shortly after this that Buddyand I misbehaved I remember,well you do don’t you when you’re in love. Anyway I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me till my friend, Lottie Lindsey, who I worked with in the sweet packing warehouse said,” Ha! I think you’re going to be a mummy soon,” “Gosh!” I remember saying,” Good, because Buddy and I are getting married as soon as I am sixteen, in August.” This was March, 1936.

I’ll always remember Moms face when I came home from work and told her what Lottie had said. “ God, no wonder you have been off your food,” she said,” Your Dad and I were thinking of taking you to a doctor.” The next day she sent a telegram to London for Merge to come home and help them a wedding. Then her and Dad rushed over to Isles Lane to discuss it all with Buddy's Mom and Dad. They said at once,” Yes, we must get them married as quickly as possible.” They even picked Ella as my bridesmaid and her boyfriend Dode Ogilvie, also a pal of Buddy's to stand in for us. Well both sets of parents were out of luck as when they went to the registry office they found out that it was illegaluntil I was sixteen. Anyway Buddy's Mom said it would have to be a manse wedding, so Marge was wired again not to come up until August. When Uncle Jim was told he just said,” What’s all the fuss about? it happens all the time.” He also said that they would buy my wedding dress, Oh! I was so pleased about that, until I saw it. It was a beautiful dress right enough, but Navy Blue?

Luckily enough my baby formed slowly, so by the actual wedding day I was hardly showing at all. Buddy's Mom and Dad gave us a beautiful reception for us in their front room, as they were both working they were more able to afford it. But the wedding, the minister said,” I am going to refuse this, who signed these papers? no papers in their right minds would allow this,” and this was at the altar in the manse with confetti from our clothes all over the floor. Ella and I started crying and Buddy and Dode started shouting at the minister, what a carry on!!So it was,” Who gives this woman to this man? etc.” then,” I now pronounce you man and wife,” then in undertone,” May God have mercy on your soul and please leave money on the hall table to clean up this confetti mess.” Mr. Taylor and Dad had already paid all the church fees.

You should have seen the families’ faces when we arrived back at the house and related what had happened. First Mom started then Mrs.Taylor, Dad and Mr. Taylor said,” What did you expect from a minister of the cloth anyway.” There would have been a worse row if the guests hadn’t been already in the front room with glasses in hand ready to drink our health. It all went well after that, and everyone said they had never enjoyed a wedding so much.

The next day after our wedding, Dad, along with thousands of others who were unemployed, were getting together from all over Britain to march on London, the men and women from all walks of life and every trade. Dad was going as the shoemaker along with his lasts, bits of donated leather, heavy studs and boots etc. so he would be a very busy man on the “Walk of Miles”.

The hunger march took nearly three months, the Dundee part anyway, other from up north and the islands had already been on the march for three weeks.

Buddy and I couldn’t wait till November, but when it did come our son was born without hardly a pain in Dundee Royal Infirmary at 6.30am. on the 17th November,1936. I was only kept in for a couple of days and on getting home I was put to bed by Mom, barely half an hour after that Dad walked in the door from “a very successful march.”

I remember how proud I was walking with my beautiful son William, Billy, to show him off to the girlfriends, Lottie, Bett, Jean etc. but the best times of all were with Buddy at my side. Of course “Granny” Taylor had all her neighbours told that Willie and his wife had a “premature” baby boy, “Isn’t that wonderful.” That gave Gran and Grandad Taylor their second grandson with Aggie and Johns son Jackie.

Our family grew quite rapidly after that, in June of 1938 came our beautiful daughter. I wanted to call her Susan after Mom, but Buddy said she should be calledafter Margaret, my sister.

Chapter Eleven


By this time all the talk was of war, Buddy and his pal Arthur Simpson had joined up to fight, because they didn’t want to be thrown into any old regiment. They were in “The Black Watch” and were stationed up north. He got one weeks leave to meet us and his beautiful new daughter. I don’t know howMom coped with us all in her two rooms and attic, I remember George had a bed in the attic and then that he and cousin Jack joined the Air Training Corps.

In January 1941 I had another beautiful daughter, Georgia, after my beloved sister whom I still miss and pine for even after all these years. I can’t remember when it was that George and Jack joined the Air Force or when my darling ,beloved Buddy was posted overseas to North Africa, I only know it was a very, very sad and heartbreaking time.

Can anyone reading this imagine a room with two large double beds and a cot? Our Marge had been evacuated from London to Dundee by this time, with her two daughters, so they shared one bed while I shared the other with Marge and Georgia. My new son Richard, named after a brother of Buddys’ who died very young, but like my sister was never forgotten, slept in the cot beside my bed. Mom and Dad were in a pull down bed settee in the kitchen, and my oldest, Billy, was in the attic.

Anyway after a horrible Christmas of 1942 during which the children took measles, Val and Janet, Marges daughters, were taken into Kings Cross Hospital because they were so bad and Richard was so ill he wasn’t even aware of the Christmas tree in the room till weeks later. The doctor was in every day, how he was paid I can’t remember but Dick as we now call him had to learn howto walk etc. all over again.

Tom, Marges husband, was in the merchant marine and came on leave to Dundee when his ship docked in Glasgow. After his leave Marge and the girls went back to London -- to nothing, as their home had been blasted in the blitz.

I will always remember the cablegram from the “War Dept.” saying that Buddy had been wounded at El Alemein. We waited weeks before hearing he was out of danger. He had a terrible head wound and was in hospital in Alexandria for many weeks. I was never able to understand why he wasn’t sent home.

The first day he was allowed out of hospital on his own he walked down to the docks to watch a troop ship coming in, we have never got over the miracle, as he looked up to the decks where all the new recruits were looking over the railings, on the third deck he spotted his brother Hughie waving down. Out of all the thousands of replacement platoons that were there and after not seeing each other for four years since 1939, how strange they should find each other then and there.

When the officers heard about this they allowed Hughie the day off so that he could go back to the hospital with Buddy. After that day they didn’t see each other again till after the war was over. When Buddy was discharged from hospital he was taken off the line of fire and though still in the “Black Watch” he was sent to a unit of the R.E.M.E.( Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) at D Camp, Base Workshops, East Africa where he stayed till the end of the war.

It must have been 1944 the next time I saw Buddy, I had been cleaning the landing and stair of 12 St. Mary Place where we all still lived at Mom and Dads. I was a sight, with an old pinnie on and a pair of woven baffies( home made slippers) on my feet. When, from the bottom of the lane I heard a “whistle”, not an ordinary one , but a very special whistle, one that only Buddy and I could do. I looked down the lane and saw my beloved, darling Buddy! Still in uniform with a kit bag on his shoulder and a rucksack in his hand.(I’m crying as I write this, but at the time it was tears of joy.) I will never ,ever forget, we must have hugged and kissed for a very long time as I remember all the neighbours from the lane and the “pletties” ( landings from the back of a tenement block in Lochee Road )were looking on and shouting lots of encouragement to us. I remember wondering where Mom was, Dad of course was at work where he was still a shoemaker. When we were finally able to get up the stair, there was Mom pulling from out of the oven a huge baking tray. She must have had one of her “second sights” that she was famous for, as she had been busy cooking and baking since Dad went to work that morning. Georgia wasn’t old enough for school yet and was standing on a chair, I remember , in all the excitement she fell off. Margie came running in from school, she was six then, shouting,” Mrs. Tarr told me Daddie’s home, where is he? where is he?” So again it was all pandemonium, when we heard crying from the next room where Dick had just fallen out of his cot where he was having his afternoon nap. By this time Billy was in too, well, we finally got over that day but it will stick in my memory forever.

Buddy wasn’t quite finished with the army, he had to go to Edinburgh for two weeks till he was finally demobbed. He came home dressed in his civvies, a dark suit, shoes, hat etc. Every demobbed soldier got these, we used to laugh because every single one of them was dressed exactly the same, they’d been as well to leave them all in uniform.

Next day with help from Mom, myself and the kids, Billy, Margie, Georgia and Dick were all dressed in our Sunday best and Buddy with his new civvies, we all walked out to Granny Taylors in Linlathen, a new housing scheme where they now lived. The whole family were there, all Buddys’ brothers and sisters, except Hughie who didn’t get home until a few weeks later. What a party that was, I had the camera at the ready, I still keep the picture in the living room of us all, Buddy, Me, Billy, Margie, Georgia and Dick.( see front cover)

Chapter Twelve


Our first house was a two bedroomed tenement up three stairs in Charles Street, at the bottom of the Wellgate Steps. I’ll always remember the look on Moms face when we left the “Place.” She was so very happy for us, but was crying at the same time,” What will Dad and I do on our own?” “So much room.” ( two rooms and an attic.)

The furniture we moved in with was the furniture we bought when we married in 1936, a sideboard, a bed, a chest of drawers and a table. With Buddys’ demob money we bought a three piece bed-settee suite, I was so proud of this because none of my friends had one. Granny Taylor gave us a record player on a stand, I was so very proud of our new house.

I remember when Chic Brady was demobbed from the Black Watch as well, they managed to get a one room and small kitchen on top of the clock tower at

West Port. The window looked right on to West Port and when winter or summer time came the clock had to be changed from inside their room. The place was so small all they could get in was a bed, a table and a gas cooker.

When they came to visit and see our house I remember, and I’ve never felt this way again, feeling so very smug, showing off what we had, a three piece suite, etc. even a lovely carpet at our fireside and a cooker. What a little snob I must have been, Oh! and when I say gas cooker it was a gas ring on top of the coal bunker! It was three weeks later we got from the gas board, a two ring hob that set on an old tea chest.

The couple next door were Eddie and Mary Skelly, they had a son Billy who became our Bills best pal. Mr. and Mrs. Wright lived on the other side, then at back of other side was a funny wee wifie, can’t remember her name, who was always trying to look in everyones keyholes. Off the landing window was a long pulley of clothes line that we all used on our washing day. One day as I came up from the communal toilet, this lady asked me if I would get up on the sill and pull in this tablecloth that was halfway down a long line of clothes. I did this for her thinking “Poor soul”, then she says,” Thankyou, it is bonnie isn’t it? you can put it back now, I wish it were mine.” I could have killed her. She did go missing from the street shortly after that , never did hear from her again.

Then the lady from the end flat wasn’t seen for a couple of days, so Mary Skelly and I tried the door and it was open, when we went in we couldn’t believe our eyes, there were hundreds of pounds and ten bob notes lying all over the place and the poor soul lying there must have been dead for a few days. Anyway, before we called the police Mary and I pocketed ten shillings each as we were both broke. Wasn’t that a terrible sin eh? It turned out that she had no known relatives so more than £900 was left to the state.

About this time Dad was still working in the shoemakers in Victoria Road but they moved to new premises round in Mid Street at the bottom of the Hilltown. Mom and Dad were still in their house in St. Mary Place but Dad was always out and about at meetings etc. His favourite though was out in the countryside looking at the new housing estates that were being built. One Sunday he said he’d actually seen the house that we would get, it was on the right hand side of square in St. Marys Road. He was almost right we got the one on the left hand side of the square.

It was the happiest day of my life when we moved into 63 St. Marys Road, I kept running up and down the stairs shouting,” It’s all ours, it’s all ours”. Front and back garden, and at that time all mod cons, a huge living room, a big kitchen with two sinks, one had a wooden top for washing clothes, a proper gas cooker and a back door leading to a back garden.

We soon settled in though and Mom and Dad came often, Mom always with her big bag of treats. When Dick was seven I realised that I was pregnant once again, another beautiful girl followed on May, 12th,1950, and we named her Sandra Susan after Mom. She was followed ten and a half months later with another boy we called Bernard after Buddys’ brother. Mom was in her element and was up two or three times a week. She often said, ”Sure is a good thing you have a three bedroomed house Flosie, a girls room, a boys room and a private one for you and Buddy. It was around this time that my darling Mother began to feel ill and worried us so very much. Her visits became fewer, but we visited St. Marys Place much more often and she saw me through the birth of yet another son, Gordon Martin. He was due on the 17th of March which was Moms birthday (in which case he would have been Patrick, Yuck!) but he was born on the 18th,March, 1953.

Poor Mom got steadily worse, she saw Gordons first birthday cake, but was really terribly ill by this time and was taken in to Ward 7 of the Dundee Royal Infirmary. George was on leave from the R.A.F. and came up to St. Marys Place and was looking after Dad. Marge came up from London and the four of us, George, Marge, Dad and I were all at her bedside when she died. She was very restless for a couple of hours while Dad and I were with her, I kept getting up and looking out the ward window when I saw George and Marge coming through Dudhope Park. When they looked up to the window I beckoned them to hurry and when they walked into the ward ( the bed was opposite the door) the nurse brought another two chairs and said,” I’m afraid it won’t be long too long now.” George took her hand in his and as the tears streamed down her face she faintly squeezed his hand then took her last breath.

Our darling, beautiful Mom was gone, one week before her 53rd birthday, one week after Gordons first. I cannot to this day remember the funeral or who attended, it was just too hard.

Dad lived on for a few years and always came up on Sundays to take the kids for walks, like he used to do with us, till he took cancer as well. Buddy collected him with the beer lorry he drove for a living at the time. We put up a bed in the living room, but it was so hard for Dad, to be carried into the house by Buddy and his mate.

This was a very hard time for us all and Dad was taken in to Maryfield Hospital where he died a few days later at the age of 62.

Chapter Thirteen


Well I finally got my wish. When they were building these multi-storey blocks, I would stand in my garden in 63 St, Marys Road and say, “ That’s where I’m going to live, high up with a beautiful view.” The family were all married by this time ,except Gordon the youngest, he had just started working. Buddy was set against moving but I managed to talk him round when Georgias sister in law, Janet, asked if we would do a “swap” with her, as her family were young and needed more space. So up we went, Buddy, Gordon and I, it wasn’t as high as I’d hoped but it did have a lovely view.( 8 storeys high at 8b Prestwick Court )

After a couple years there Gordon met a lass called Kate and went to live with her in Scotscraig Court, where they lived happily for eight years. Kate then decided she wasn’t in love anymore and moved out, Gordon was devastated, he still pines for her yet and has never forgot. Buddy and I were happy to have him home with us in Prestwick Court and though he has met other girls he has never married and now at the age of 43 still lives here and takes care of me.

I lost my darling Buddy in Prestwick Court after months of suffering from cancer, he died the day before Hogmanay,1990. After 54 years of being married and in love it was a very hard blow that one can never forget. The family were fantastic and we are all still very close to this day.

Gordon and I were loathe to leave Prestwick Court but the powers that be decided demolish some of the multi-storey blocks. We were forced to go and were moved down to the last block, one of the only two that were not for demolition. The funny thing is that it was the exact flat that I had picked for us when I watched them being built from the garden of 63 St.Marys Road, the very one I vowed we would live in someday. I only wish my darling Buddy was here to share it. It is on the top floor, 13 storeys up, it has the most beautiful view, over the Firth of Tay and right out to sea. Gordon and I look out with the binoculars and can see as far as the Bell Rock Lighthouse and the ships passing by, and all the way over Fife and beyond.

It is a sheltered flat we are in, with a warden to keep an eye on me day and night, larger than the Prestwick flat with a long lobby and bigger rooms. My health isn’t so good these days so I have been given attendance allowance and Gordon gets a care allowance for looking after me. Thank God it’s only ulcers and epilepsy, but bad enough to make me really nervous some days. I try to let Gordon get out as much as he can, sure wish he could find a nice girl for company, but he says he could never find another Kate, so he won’t. He has never aged and looks only half his age, still with his beautiful black hair, Bill says it’s since he had that terrible brain op (cerebral haemorrhage) in his twenties, but I’m not sure.

Going over these pages I realise there is so much of my early life I have missed out, so I might just start all over again.

I’ve just had my 76th birthday yesterday, so I will see how I go on as well, certainly don’t feel that old. (somedays)

FOOTNOTE ; I have, as far as possible, transcribed this as it was written in Flos’ own words. Most of it needed only minor adjustments to get rid of the “tweaks”. This last part however, Chapter 14, was very personally Flos’ thoughts and is still there in the original manuscript for the family. In here I have only summarised the relevant events.

Bruce Campbell.

Chapter Fourteen


Monday,30th September,1996.

I am looking out the window, the sea is a beautiful dark blue, the tide is in and there is a boat on the Firth of Tay heading out to sea, on it’s way to Europe I expect.

The family are all well, also the fourteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren!! If only my darling Buddy were here to share in them, because even with all of them I get so very, very lonely.

Friday,14th November,1996.

Well here I am again, I was going to finish on that last bit but more things have happened, the worst being that Gordon had his wallet stolen from his back pocket. They took his money and my cashline card. Poor Gordon, he does so well looking after me with all that responsibility, I just don’t know what I’d do without him.

Wednesday,19th March,1997.

Came home from Jimmys’ to find there had been a fire in the house. There was a large hole burned in the living room carpet and fireside rug. Insurance should cover it but my genuine Indian fireside rug is ruined and that was worth more than all the other carpets put together.

Sunday,13th April,1997.

We have a funeral tomorrow, Bruces Mum died last Thursday, they are all coming through from Paisley today, probably stay at Bruces brothers.

Sunday,27th April,1997.

Samantha was up to make some more arrangements for her wedding, it was to be on my birthday, but it’s now a week later.

Wednesday,26th May,1997.

Well here I go again, have had a lot of examinations at the hospital. I am feeling an awful lot better apart from the dizzy turns when I bang into walls etc. I know I smoke too bloody much and drink too much coffee, but I feel a lot better when I get my whisky and lemonade at Jimmys. Ha! Ha! I’d better not start on that.

Oh! We are all invited to Nan and Jack Davies’ diamond wedding next month.

Sunday 12th July,1997.

Feeling a lot better the past two weeks, not much bother with tummy, I still have a small test at the hospital next week but just to check on my tummy ulcers. Got a new great grandson last week, Billys’ William and Alison had their second son. “ Doubt we’re never going to have a grand daughter,” says Bill and Jess, as both Lynn and Tom have only boys. Sure wish Gordon could find a nice girl, says he can’t afford one but there always seems to be plenty running after him. We often have our arguments etc.

Saturday,16th August,1997.

Marges 80th birthday is on Monday, they are having a big party for her in London. Uncle George is the only one who can manage down but we have sent a very large card and everyone here has signed it. William and Alison are also going as they have lived down there quite a while.

Margie is getting all prepared for Uncle George coming to her in October. He is coming up here for a lot of R.A.F. reunions and wants Margie to be his escort. She is going daft, not only on the house but trying to find suitable evening dresses, George sent her money to buy some. I wonder what he’ll send me for my birthday?

Sunday,24th August,1997.

Well my birthday was yesterday, my 77th. I got so many beautiful gifts from all the family I’m wondering where to put them all. We are up to the eyebrows getting ready for Samanthas wedding next week. The wedding is in Mains Castle Church in the Den O’ Mains.

October, 1997.

Just had a wonderful few days with brother George. His R.A.F. Association had a reunion in Dundee, 330 of his oldies turned up. Margie was his escort and she had a ball, it lasted for four days of dinners and dancing, but she is now settling down a bit.

Well I have been back to the hospital for some more test results, much different than I thought though. Bill was with me when they told me I have cancer,just like that,” You have cancer of the spine,” Bill was flaming that they didn’t try to break it to me more gently.

The nurses were great though, there was a room all ready for me to start therapy right away. After, when they let me home, Gordon was instructed on all my medications etc. Still don’t know what I would do without him, he has everything off pat and is doing more for me than any doctor.

When Margie was told about the cancer she said,” Mom, think of Auntie Jess, she went through all this, and has been cured for nearly three years now.”

That did it, if Jess can do it, so will I.

Florence Louise Taylor (Aug.1920--Nov.1997)

Footnote; If anyone ever reads this who didn’t know Flo Taylor then you missed knowing one of the sweetest women that ever lived. Flo was my mother-in-law but I called her Mom, she was never the kind of mother-in-law who interfered in any way but was always there when she was needed.

She was the best thing America ever sent us.

She was a wonderful wife to her “Buddy” and a wonderful mother, the lynch pin of the family, but most of all she was a truly beautiful human being.

Geordie and Susie Stalker would have been proud.

Bruce Campbell.