Growing Up in South Shields

Below is details of a life of a South Shields resident.

I was born in Wouldhave St South Shields.

(picture of me aged approx 4)

My parents 3 brothers and granda all lived together in a terraced house, it was quite large with a huge attic. 6 years later my oldest brother moved into the attic with his wife and their daughter was born there.

I started school at ocean road infants the same school as my youngest brother. My older brothers went to St Bedes. We didn’t go because I was only a baby when my brother started in the winter of 1949 my mother didn’want to take me out in the cold and I couldn’t be left with granda because he was blind. My grandad in his working life had been a lumberjack in Canada (pictured)

By the time I was 6yrs old my parents had parted company,in hind site I think my father was suffering from ptsd. Money was tight in fact I can’t remember a time in my childhood when it was’nt never enough coal very few new clothes, however my mam was a good manager, and a lovely cook, and a positive thinker always looking on the bright side of life , plus all the people i knew were in the same boat so you were’nt made to feel different

When I was 6yrs old I became an aunty to Carol Anne a lovely little girl I thought I was the bees knees being an auntie, by the time I was 9yrs old I was an auntie to 5 children. My two oldest brothers were 15 and 16 when I was born so that was why.

I remember at Christmas putting on shows in the backyard and charging people 1p to watch. At Christmas in those days money was tight so you only got one present not like now a days.  There was no television so after Christmas dinner we would all play board games..

1957 was a happy and also a very sad year in my life. My beloved granda died in the January leaving a massive hole in our lives. I still think of him today with so much love and humour he created so many happy memories for my brother and me. In the early june of that year I was a bridesmaid for my middle brother and his wife the wedding was in the middlelands my first trip away it was wonderful there was a forrest at the top of the street and my sisterinlaw’s family kept hens it all seemed very rural in my young eyes. At the end of june I became auntie to twins which was a lovely suprise

When i was 12yrs old I became ill and was taken into hospital I was found to have rheumatic fever, I was in hospital for ten weeks and off school for six months. My education was badly affected in all the time I was off they didn’t send me any work, I managed to keep up with every thing except the maths there were no extra lessons forth coming so I fell behind and this knocked my confidence badly. I assumed I wouldn’t get a job in an office so I never tried. I spent all of my working life in shops. Had they made an effort with homework I feel sure I could have done a lot better. Also in this year my mother remarried, I couldn't say I was to keen on him and we argued a great deal he had no children of his own and was clueless he thought he was still in the army and you had to jump to his tune. It didn’t make for happy familys. He lived till he was 87yrs old and I was the only one he had left we did get on eventually when i think now my poor mother must have had a terrible time between the pair of us.

I left school at 15yrs old and started work the next week at Woolworths.  I loved working there it was great fun

When I was 16yrs old I met my first husband  we met at a dance, I remember standing him up on our first date because my friend had no one to go out with. We courted for 3yrs before we got married and went on to have two lovely children a boy and a girl. We were married for 35yrs and sadly separated due to his infidelity. Maybe I shouldn’t have turned up for that second date, but we did have many happy years together.

Pictured my mum on my Wedding Day.

After I was married I went back to college and took some o levels I discovered that I loved learning and took all kinds of things. I only had my daughter at the time, I had just lost my mother she was 61 and I was 23 she had been poorly for a long time . This was the worst possible time of my life I was totally devoted to her and her to me. I was literally broken hearted and so lonely with out her I still miss her today and think of all the wonderful times and the fun we had together her gentle humour and wise advice prepared me for life without her. Life was dull without her for a while but I had my beautiful daughter and 3yrs later I had my son life picked up again there was no time to for sadness just happy memories, and a sure feeling that she was there looking out for us and walking by my side every day.

Life rumbled on for a few years taken up with day to day life and bringing up the kids . My husband  moved up the ladder at work we bought a house things progressed nicely having holidays and enjoying life in general.

Life took a tragic turn when our dear friends lost their beautiful daughter at age 15 by swallowing a balloon a chance in a million. Within 6 months her mother had a heart attack fortunately she survived for the next 15years living carefully but her husband took his own life things it just got to much for him. We were all devastated by it all and it left its mark on all of us.

The year I was 50 life as I knew it fell apart with the end of my marriage, my daughter was married my son had left home it felt very strange living alone I had never been alone before. So I did things I wanted to do I learnt to drive, then I went to New York.  Within a few months life felt good every thing felt positive again