Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dumbarton Jan 1946 (III): Post-War Penpals, pt 7c

This is a transcript of pages 10-14 of a letter sent to my aunt from Dumbarton in Scotland, postmarked January 19, 1946. This was a particularly long letter so I divided it into three parts over three weeks, this is part three. The original letter is in my possession. In the interest of security, should the author be living, this transcript may have certain details, particularly surnames, omitted. If you were the author or were involved in pen friends from this area please comment or email.

(continued from Aug 9)

Jan. 21st

Monday morning at last, now to get back to school. I was lost over that weekend, no homework to do and bags of time to do it.

I am writing this in bed so I hope you will excuse the “unmanageable spider.” This morning I am going out to the garden to put a fire on in the greenhouse to get the earth heated up for planting seeds. We grow tomatoes in the greenhouse and on Sat. next I will be sowing the tomato seeds. It is a great thing a garden. If I feel drowsy I jump on the bike and head for the garden. Outside we grow potatoes, turnip, leeks, cabbages, lettuce, and parsly (I think there should be an “e” in that). The fruit we grow are Black currants, Strawberry, red currant, and we used to have a vine, but last year’s frost fixed that. I’ll send you some of my tomatoes later on; they should be ready about the end of May (I hope). Do you have a garden? Hugh helps me and we have great fun.

Oh, Bye the way have you got Youth Hostels over there. We will be using them this year. They are a great set-up. We have them all over the country in fact there was a huge castle given over to the S.Y.H.A last week for a hostel. This is up in Cromarty kind of far away but we might reach it, just to see it. I think every country should have them to encourage the youth to do more cycling and hiking.

Yesterday (Sunday) Hugh and I went for our usual “Sunday Stroll” even though it was dead cold. There was a bit of a fog but we sat round the shore. Then we got the surprise of our life, we heard a cock crowing over the Clyde in Renfrew. The Clyde at the point is about 1 1/8 mile wide and it just goes to show how fog and water carries sound.

Do the boys in your school have a common room? We don’t for they (the teachers) took over command and are using it as a stock room. But we have a cloakroom for the III, IV, V & VI years, affectionately called “the Stank.” Into it every day pours about 70 boys and nobody except us know what goes on in it. We smoked, shout, sing and sometimes do homework that we didn’t do at home. However we tear in shouting “Hullo Sir! How’s yer father, hoaway lads” etc., and in general have a great time.

A few weeks ago we saw “Junior Miss.” It was a great show. I think it was supposed to let the audience see what the life of the American Teenager is like. The Boogie was deadly and I learned a new base(sic) or left hand from it. I thought I knew them all but I’ve a lot to learn as I have found out. The right hand was deadly and in general the whole thing was great. I saw also “Incendiary blonde.” That was another deadly show. But on Sat. night I saw a Roy Rogers show and it sure did stink. It was boggin, gantin, chronic, and simply beeling. Oh how I loathe that guy.

How do you spell “night” over there? Some spell it phonetically i.e. “nite” and others spell it the same way as us i.e. “night.”

Well as my chaff is going done (going down?), at last, I think I will sign off now so this is your Scottish pal saying so long & kaora.

Yours Truly

P.S. Please send me a snap of you! GMc
P.P.S. My younger brother has burnt the Chem. Paper and the programme but here is a history paper. Hope it will suit GMc

There two of several inserts referenced remaining in this letter.

One was a newspaper clipping about the German “People’s Car.” It was “being produced for the British Army of the Rhine…a nine horse-power engine…62 miles a gallon (Imperial)…cruises at 55…seats four...can be produced for 75 (Pounds).”

The other insert was a copy of the “Schedule Estimate Examination” for “History (Lower).” Two hours were allowed for this examination in which students were instructed to answer question 1 and any three others of seven given. Question one had two parts with 20 terms and the time estimate was 20 minutes.

The exact meanings are not agreed as to “boggin, gantin, and beeling” but it suffices that he does not care for this unnamed movie.
Kaora = referenced in a rugby song/chant

SYHA – Scottish Youth Hostel Association

Links to other posts in the series:
Personal History: Post-War Penpals, pt 1
Christmas Card from Scotland, 1945
Dumbarton Jan 1946 (I): Post-War Penpals, pt 7
Dumbarton Jan 1946 (II): Post-War Penpals, pt 7b

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Shelby said...

"unmanageable spider" is interesting... what is that?

G's Cottage said...

I believe he is referring to his penmanship. However, I thought the last pages looked to be some of his best; and I believe that Scottish schools were, and possibly still are, sticklers for handwriting.

I actually thought pages one and two were difficult to read and wondered if he hadn't just filled his pen as there were uncharacteristic blotches and spelling corrections throughout those two pages. Without the author's input I'm really guessing.

Shelby said...

very interesting..