"Mammy, can I have ice
cream?" I was stood outside a shop in my home town of Shettleston
pointing at the Walls Ice Cream display as the scorching sun slowly
melted the tar on the pavement and stuck to my brown plastic sandals.
mammy shot her head round, like a gun had gone off and gave me the
stare that said 'Do not ask for stuff in front of people when you know I
have no money' I was six years old, I knew the rules, but the sun was
so hot and the ice lolly looked so inviting I thought I would take a
massive leap of faith and imagine she had money for ice cream in her
purse. The thought of sucking on a fruity iced lolly made me almost
hallucinate with excitement. I stood there with my angry frequently
vicious dog Major, gripping his red leash in my sweaty hand.
mammy's bristling anger could be physically felt as she carried on
talking to the woman, even Major's tail dipped between his legs and he
whined, and he was scared of nothing. I was in trouble, there was no way
I could argue my way out of this. In fact you couldn't argue with this,
we didn't argue with our parents.
You see back in the 60s
we didn't know tantrums existed, wee poor working class kids thought
'tantrums' were imaginary, like DisneyWorld, we knew it might be a real
thing, it might exist but we didn't know anyone who had gone there. We
didn't know kids who screamed at their mammy to get what they wanted by
kicking or swearing at her, that didn't exist in our life time, that was
something drunk daddies did when they came home from the pub and spent
the next day really sorry.
Who shouts at their mum? Nobody
unless you had a mental illness or a death wish. As kids in the poor
inner cities of working class Glasgow (which was all I knew) we never
went against our mammies wishes, we knew she was poor and couldnâ€™t buy
stuff willy nilly and we also knew that everyone was pretty much in the
I once saw a girl with ribbons in her hair
push a really expensive shiny dolls pram and asked my mum "Can I get a
doll's pram like that?"
Mammy laughed out loud and said
"Her mummy only had one child, if you want I will have another two and
you can push them all you like in a real pram, and I will have more
babies to love" then she wrapped her coat tightly around her skinny
frame and walked off laughing. I was in a state of shock, I was the
youngest child of four and didn't want a new baby in our house and
immediately burst into tears, my mammy turned round and shouted "Changed
your mind Janey?" and hugged me. My mammy used psychological powers to
dissuade me wanting stuff.
It was the same with food, you
got served â€˜a dinnerâ€™ and if you didn't like that style of food you ate
bread and jam, as my mammy didn't cater for six people's individual
Back in the those days, you ate
turnip, potatoes, butter beans and a wee bit of cheap meat, if you
refused to eat that you were made to feel like a spoiled prince who
killed his own people with a pointed spear to the eye. Someone at our
table would immediately take it off you and pick away at it and you went
to bed hungry. Quite rightly so, who could afford multi menus in the
The reason I bring this up is I witness on my daily
travels -young kids scream and demand stuff from parents. Maybe the kids
have behavioural problems but they all can't have that! I accept some
do, but the sheer cheek and indolence they serve up to their parents
shock me, maybe am getting old.
I recall Ashley bringing
home some friends from school, they were about ten years old. One girl
asked me could they eat crisps before dinner and I simply said "No" and
carried on making the pasta. The wee girl pleaded in a mock whiney voice
"Please, please pretty please" just then I heard Ashley whisper "Don't
do that my mum doesn't like that, she said no and that means no" I
smiled as I knew I was finally my mother's daughter.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates and daily shenanigans.