Bunty (McAndrew) Mitchell, Canada
Searching through your site I came across a 1933 picture of Park View kids which
included myself and my brother Stanley McAndrew.
Stanley was an outstanding
musician but turned down a scholarship to college to join the RAF and became a flight-lieutenant, being mentioned
in dispatches for bravery and given the Oak Leaf for bravery.
Our grandmother, Isabella Mcandrew,
told us that Stanley once flew his Spitfire upside down along the streets of Lochgelly just above the tops of the telegraph
He was killed in a mid-air
crash at the end of the war and his name is on Lochgelly War Memorial in front of the old St Andrews Church where we were
both baptised in 1939.
I was overjoyed at being able
to see this old picture and am having it blown up and framed to be placed in my home in Canada.
I did not recognize anyone
else in the picture but was probably too young then. I wonder who took the picture and if there are any others taken before
the homes were torn down in the 1940's.
I also wonder if there is anyone
out there who remembers the photo being taken. By my memory it was taken on the front of the washing-line green.
Most of the parents were on
the dole so it had to be a semi-professional photographer who took that picture and I wonder why it was done - it certainly
would not have been done to make money for there was none to be made from out of work miners families.
Park View homes were very similar
to the homes in Melville St in the Happyland with front staircases where coal was brought up from the cellars beneath the
stairs. My mother (Isabella Smart) used to carry her washing down to the green to hang clothes out, held by large
wooden pegs bought from travelling gypsies who came every summer to stay along the woods by Loch Gelly.
I went to Lochgelly South School
in 1933 and on my first day in Miss Bird’s class she told me to hold out my hand and then belted my wrist and hand for
“gawping out the window”
That woman intimidated me throughout
my years in South School and I wonder if anyone else suffered from her bitter approach to kindergarden children.
Despite all that I loved my
classmates and after school we played “Kick the Can” and also “Pauldies” with mum’s empty
polish tins as throws.
I lived at Park View where
the children were loyal and affectionate and I have fond memories of standing in line at the families “Wilson”
and “Smith” getting asked if I wanted curly kale for my piece of jammy bread.
I used to go with a group of
them to the Opera House to see The Three Stooges and when the house lights went down we would crawl beneath the seats
up to the better padded chairs to view the movie.
On Miners bath night the husbands
knelt before an iron washtub and had their backs scrubbed by their wives and all the children would line up for their turn
at the hot water. Sometimes I would accidentally get in line and have my hair washed along with the rest!
Money was tight and when I
saved up enough for “The Dandy” comic it was kept in immaculate condition and then traded up and down the row
for other comics. If you had damaged the comic you would not get a new one but one suitably tattered to match your carelessness.
I left Lochgelly around 1939
heartbroken at leaving all my pals and though I have travelled the world can truly say I have never met a finer or more loyal
group of friends than my auld pals from Lochgelly.
I would love to hear from anyone
who remembers that particular period. I was called Bunty McAndrew and lived at 30 Parkview. I could see the Happyland from
my bedroom window and it was right beside the Pit and Bings.
I visited from Canada in 1971
but the entire row of houses had been demolished. Again my heartfelt thanks for the connection you provided to part of my life's history 81 years ago.
All the Best. Bunty McAndrew(Marjory Mitchell)