Home life

My first home was in the Terrace. It had four 2-roomed houses near the Hotel end, next to the Hotel garden. Initially thatched with no running water, outside round the back, lavvies—they were typical of that era.

My mother's parents had to stay with us one winter, so they had "the room", Dad & Mum used the boxed-in bed in the kitchen, and I slept in the kitchen too. Overcrowding was never mentioned—Needs must, and these ailing old people had to be taken care of. We were in No. 2, (I don't remember who was in No. 1.) but I know the Davises (brother Willie, sister Mabel) were in No. 3—and they had a "boarded out" boy—one I recall, Bertie Johnson. The fourth house was "the Frasers"—to my mind a great family—sisters, to play with (for an only child like me, that seemed the best.)—I remember them all, but especially Nannie (who married a Penny from the house at the Abbey). Mrs Fraser always welcomed me long after I left the Terrace—& Bill, Mr Fraser & my father were "cronies".

We moved to the Old Schoolhouse when I was 2 / 3 yrs old, so all my childhood memories are of living there. My maternal grandparents had died—so this "large" house gave my parents and me ample space (Two living/public rooms and 3 bedrooms—and a stair!) It was factored by the Bank Manager—for Aden? or for Aberdeen County Council?—I can't say. We lived in the kitchen and only occasionally (usually Sunday) we sat/ate in the "Parlour"—the then word for the better room.

There was no electricity—Tilley lamps were the source of nighttime light—with small carrying paraffin lamps for upstairs. There was cold water from a tap at the Scullery door—a "flush" lavatory outside and 3 sheds. It was like a palace after our cramped conditions in the Terrace. But by far the best was the garden—with trees, bushes, grass and flowers all our own. My Dad was a keen gardener and in no time we were eating our own vegetables & fruit—and Mum had flowers for the vases from her part of the flower beds. I remember the Sweetpeas and that asters particularly. And we had a croquet green—What fun! Dad made the croquet set of mallets and balls and Mr Adams, the blacksmith, made the hoops. The boys from The Schoolhouse loved to come for a game—but no matter how exciting or at state the chance to win when "The Major" (their father, our Head Teacher) blew his whistle, off they went without demur. Changed days!

I had a swing, made by Dad, of course, and all went well till he found out that one of my girl friends and I were daring each other to go high enough to jump off on to the "Sheddie" roof! I also had a great "Hoosie" in the smallest shed, complete with an old "grate" on which I made "mince" in an old pan filled with "dockan" seeds. Imagination was a major factor in all our play—few actual things—lots and lots of ideas.

We had 3 gates in our garden—one to the road, one smaller, at the right hand side at the top of the path which led into the girls' playground and the third one where the sheds were, which also led into the playground by the "Cookery" Room, and which was kept bolted from our side.

I really loved my home, my bedroom, and my garden.

(Revision date: Sunday 4th May 2008)