Barb and I visited Toronto two years ago (2004)and I met up with Forbie (mentioned in the Garrowhill story) for the first time in 52 years. He lives in Windsor, near Chicago.
Barb and I went back to Garrowhill last July (2005). Up early to buy the necessities from the local shop; bread, milk, butter and in this case a mutton pie! "You had a mutton pie for breakfast?" I can hear you ask.
Well, in this case, it was my first mutton pie in fourteen years and it was a good excuse. Barb didn't agree. She is always watching my wiastline!
It was then that we took off for Garrowhill Primary School. I hadn't been there for nearly sixty years. The vice principal, Janis Smith, took us on tour. Not much had changed, although the security was strict and anti-vandal systems that were never thought of, were now in place. The cloak rooms had been converted to class rooms and the children now used the wide corridors to hang their coats and jackets (and their art work and funny wee stories). The stage in the main hall had been removed to give more room for indoor sports.
When we visited the year one classroom I was invited to talk to the children. There they were, all dressed in fine looking uniforms and instead of curly mops the wee boys all had number one haircuts. I told the class that we never had such fine looking uniforms because there was a war on. The teacher (who had visited Melbourne a few times) told the children that the last time I was in this room it was sixty four years ago. They all said "wow". I felt ancient!
The teacher told me that our first ever teacher Miss Mitchell, who everybody loved, had been run over by a truck in the mid seventies. She died as a result of her injuries. That was very sad.
As we strolled outside in the play ground, I noticed the gardens in front of the main entrance were all fenced in. Mrs. Smith said it was to prevent vandalism. That too, was sad. At that point a wee boy came up to Janis looking quite disturbed and asked her "Awe Mrs Smith ,dae ye think ye could dae up ma shoe laces, thur gaen me bother?" I smiled, I thought to myself that Garrowhill children didn't speak Baillie talk.I probably understand now why people didn't understand me when I first arrived in Melbourne in 1951. It was a magic visit.
We had a great time in the area for a week staying at a self catering unit in The Knowes, Riddrie, and picking up fish and chips at the nearby shopping centre.
I don't think I told you John, but about two years ago (2006) a lady from Queensland got in touch with me. She had read the Garrowhill story and it turned out that she was in my class at Garrowhill Primary. She went on to tell me, that for years she had been telling friends, and her three sons, about this little scoundrel, "wee stevie" who had promised to trade her a puppy, for her rabbit and hutch. She had given me the rabbit and hutch but she never got her puppy. Well I remember that rabbit, and how much I loved it, but it had escaped my mind where it had come from. I must have been a real conman. Well Barb and I visited Moira Clowe (nee Stewart) a year ago and we spent a fantastic three days with her and husband Jim. Naturally I took a toy puppy with me as a present. We still keep in touch and will be visiting them again some time this July, we hope.
So thanks once again for your efforts in keeping people together, even if the years do roll by.
"Wee Stevie" AKA