And so in the summer of 1961
I met my granny - Maggie Boyle.
Maggies mother came from Donegal, Ireland. While their
countrymen were piling into boats westward bound for America,
the contrary Brogans and Boyles of my great grandmother's generation
fled east to Glasgow, Scotland and a life almost as hard as
the one they left.
Soot choked the alleys and midden behind granny's tenement.
Most of the heat from the coal fires burning in her high-ceilinged
kitchen and sitting room escaped to the upper reaches. Only
by sitting directly before a blazing hearth could you shake
off the shivering that penetrated your bones. Each night we'd
boil pots and pots of water to dump into the bathtub and fill
hot-water bottles and tightly stoppered glass jars we hoped
would take the chill off dampish bed sheets before we climbed