SWEETIES AT SCHOOL, BIGOTRY, THE CLOTHES SHOP

The first day at school, the teacher gave us sweets. I thought this practice would continue and was disappointed to discover it was a one off occasion. We were also given little brown boxes with sand in them and little sticks to make shapes in the sand. Later on we got slates and slate-pencils to write with. We progressed to writing with pencil, then pen and ink.

At school we were asked to bring pennies for the black babies in Africa. I thought perhaps after I had given a few pennies I would get a black baby to take home. I complained bitterly to my mother about this but she only said she had enough mouths to feed.
I wasn't long started at school when I was told the facts of life by a girl about a year older than me. She didn't tell me about the Birds and the Bees. Solemnly she told me about the religious bigotry that was very rife in those days. She told me that if I even ventured into the next backcourt I would be asked the following question. "Are you a Billy, a Dan, or an old tin can?" I decided to say the last but I still got kicked.
The street was wide and made of asphalt paving, great to play on, especially ball games, skipping ropes, rounders, peever, and chuckies among others. The older girls taught us how to crochet and knit. One of my favorite games was French Ropes played with two ropes ay once and you had to do a sort of side ways jump to keep in step. We sang lots of songs to keep time to the skipping and ball games. I liked one called "The Old Clothes Shop" sung to the tune of MacNamara's Band.

My name is Ikey Moses and I live all alone
I live in the city of Glasgow with a business of my own
I have a little shop with my name upon the top
And I do a little business in my old clothes shop.

A man came in the other day a suit of clothes to buy
I gave him a suit at 12/6 "Try it on", said I
He tried it on, it fitted well he went to walk away
I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "The money you've got to pay."

He turned around and looked at me and then his fist he drew
He doubled me up in a corner saying "that's the place for you."
I blew my whistle for a cop he said "you'd better stop
Or there's going to be a murder in the old clothes shop."

I`ve a laddie in America
I`ve a laddie in Dundee
I`ve another up in Duke Street
He`s the one that ruined me
First he took me to America
Then he took me on a spree a spree
Then he ran away and left me
With a baby on my knee
Here`s the baby crying Da Da
Now he`s ran away and left me
With a baby on my knee.  

(Chapter Index)