And so in the summer of 1961 I met my granny - Maggie Boyle.

Maggie’s 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 in.



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