FLORENCE STREET AND THE SHADOW OF A GIRL

I lived in Rose Street later called Florence Street which was in the district of Hutchesontown, next door to Gorbals. Florence Street was in, not the shadow of Dixon Blazes, more in the glow of the famous Iron Works.

Florence Street was never dark. It always had a flame coloured sky illuminated by the glow from the enclosed furnaces. Before that the land was mostly rural. There were large fields and orchards surrounded by stone built dykes. The first house in Hutchesontown was built in St. Ninian's Street by the Rev. John McLeod minister of Albion Street chapel.

In 1803 the only streets in Hutchesontown were Rose Street, Crown Street, Hospital Street and ST. Ninian's Street and later Adelphi Street.

I was born in 1923. The first thing I remember were shadows of people reflected on the wall of the room I slept in. We lived low down in a room and kitchen, and when people passed our window, their shadows were like a picture show to me. I was very intrigued by the shadow of a little girl who copied my every move. I had great conversations with her and I was quite sad when I discovered I was talking to my very own shadow.

Florence street was a very exciting place to live. Just about everything happened there, or so it seemed to me. It was so vibrant and full of people especially children.

PLAYING IN THE STREET, GETTING LOST & SCHOOL

The close I lived in had about seventeen families so we were never short of playmates as most of the women had between seven and ten children on average. I myself was the oldest of a family of ten. People were ignorant of birth control methods in those days.

Children were very protected as mothers didn't work because of the large families. We were allowed to play in the street as soon as we could toddle and our mothers stood at the closemouth with a child wrapped in a shawl and kept a close eye on us. The babies were breast fed and if they cried for their dinner there was no problem as the could be fed on the spot.

I remember getting lost when I was about four. I don't remember crying as a nice young policeman was carrying me, and I was enjoying all the fuss. He took me into a shop and the shopkeeper looked after me until my mother came. I think she had to pay one shilling as there was a fee in those days for finding lost children. I never got lost again. My mother couldn't afford it.

I was sitting on an orange box in front of the fire when the school board officer came to the door to tell my mother to take me to be enrolled at school. I was so excited the morning I was taken and I watched everything with interest. I pestered my mother to tell the teacher I was called Carmine, my middle name. She didn't of course. I went into a huff because a lot of the children, especially the girls, had fancy names like Yadvigo Edegird, Stephanie Kasavage and Antonia Feduski. These girls were children of the Lithuanians who had settled in the Gorbals. Later we called the girls Yaxa, Sadie and Tony, so I didn't feel so bad.

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