…God moves in mysterious ways his miracles to perform… I received an astounding email earlier today from a a lady whom I had last met over 60 years ago, with no communication in between times … she had seen a blog post I had written four years ago (!) about where I used to live in the slums of Docklands, Govan in Glasgow… she had NOT seen my recent memoir, and so this was an equally incredible coincidence… I have her permission to publish our email exchanges, but she asked me to keep her name private, which of course, I will respect… here is the first email from her:
‘I came across an online posting that mentioned you had spent some of your childhood living at No. 60 Greenfield Street Govan. I have many happy memories of that particular close as generations of my family lived there over the years in numerous flats on the various landings from the late 1800`s. I do indeed remember one family called Gallacher, but I`m not too sure if it is your family, which flat/landing did your family have? Gosh if it is the same family, and even although I was young, I can remember your Mum very clearly and her children, but to be honest, I can`t recall her having a son named Seumas, although she did have at least one son.
…I responded by telling her my name had changed from ‘Jim’ to ‘Seumas’ after my later years’ sojourn in the Scottish Hebrides, and I was indeed the person she knew… her second email is here:
OMGosh! Yes, I am that girl! lol My Gran just as you thought, lived directly above your Mum`s flat. The really strange thing is that I was talking about YOU to my daughter recently when I read in the papers that if Labour get into power they intend doing away with Private Education. I said to her “I remember a little boy called Jim that stayed in the flat beneath my Gran`s, he would sit in the close on dreich days with a pencil and paper, the Bookie would shout `odds` to him and he could work out the bets. He was also the only child that I can remember who had as much interest in reading as I did! He got the opportunity to go to Allen Glen`s school, and if Labour closes down your school that will be the end of scholarships for such children.” Isn`t life strange that I should come across you! Lol.
Your Mum made a big impression on me, I used to love sitting in her flat opposite her big black range, she would open the oven door and feed a crust to a little mouse that would pop out lol (happy days!) But it was her storytelling I loved – you obviously have inherited that gene from her. She, as you well know, had little, but what she did have she shared – such a big heart. She loved her children and they would clamber up on to her knee and she would console and wipe away tears; kiss skint knees and show her mother`s love in so very many ways. I loved Chrissie Gallacher – there I have said it!
We seem to have shared somewhat similar Life journeys, albeit you at perhaps a more successful level. I, like many before me, had a difficult but interesting start to my life and after a great many sojourns into hospital for surgery and missing so much of my education, I left without an `O` Level to my name and a bitter taste in my mouth at the mere mention of further education – I equated it with bullying Teachers and equally bully/name calling children. My dad, wise man that he was, invested in a Commercial Course at a Private College for me, and I loved it. I had found a `level playing field` that I could build my knowledge base from with my new-found friends. On leaving college, this little ugly duckling blossomed into a confident swan and took off for Paris! To cut a long story short, after many adventures, I eventually returned home, met my husband and went on to have a family of three children. I still felt acutely aware that I lacked the academic achievements of others and so started catching up – firstly with a good set of Highers at night school which enabled access to a Degree. With my Degree still `hot off the press` I started my career in Social Work, from which I have now retired.
My husband and I, having watched our three children having Gap Years Back Packing around the world, now do our own travelling, but in a somewhat more comfortable style. Lol. This has resulted in some very exciting and sometimes even scary experiences, but as my husband keeps saying `Life`s a Journey` and we are enjoying all of the experiences!
One interest I would love to have more time for is Writing. I`ve had moderate success in the past, having won a Theatre Writing Competition and a few other publications but, like so many others, I am one of the `sandwich` generation i.e. caring for elderly relatives and Grandchildren, so whilst my Writing File bulges with ideas, I can`t find the time to sit in front of my PC and get on with it! A stout lock is what I need on my study door to keep weans out!
So lovely to catch up. I still can`t think of you as ‘Seumas’, in my mind`s eye you will always be Jim Gallacher!
…this all just blew me away today, and of course, I trust at some stage in the not too distant future I may get to meet the lady again… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!
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