I usually arrive in Maybole when it is
dark after my 7 hour drive from London
You can see the lights twinkle in the
distance as you come in the Ayr road and the hair on the back of my neck
stands on end - never fails.
I drive to Roderick Lawson Terrace to my
parents’ house and think “who came up with that street name?” I used to
get cramp at school writing my address you see.
I was born at 8 Red Brae - now that’s
what I call an address - on 9/9/52. A fine year, God is it that long? 53
As soon as we walk in the door
handshakes, kisses and cuddles, good to be home. Strange that I left in
1972 but still call it home.
“You must be hungry,” says my mum and so
begins a week of eating all that lovely Scottish food unrivalled any where
on the planet, sit up late talking about the old days crying with
Next day dad picks 6 bunches of flowers
and we head for the graveyard to see my mates no longer here; pass Wullie
Meek’s shop (bought many a sweetie in there) and then down Crosshill Road.
We wander round and lay our flowers, a
tear comes easily. I can see and hear them as if it was yesterday. So many
characters and many so young, you could write a book. It was a joy to have
known them all.
We head back past the Glebe Park and I
said to my dad, “Where is everybody?” He said, “Nobody plays football now,
like your day.”
We used to play on a Sunday - two hour
each way halves, 25 a side, no quarter asked for and none given and scores
of 42-39 not unusual.
On we go up the Cairnfield, where my
grandparents lived. I remember him yet, coming in from work so dirty and
so tired my grannie had to fill the big steel bath help him in it and wash
him. We don’t know we are born these days.
On past the Cairn school, it is so
small, as a wee boy there I thought it was at least 10 times that size.
What memories of the Cairn school in
BOBBY ELDERS GANG, charging round the school like maniacs, my first love
Jan, my first game of football in a proper team. How much I owe MR
ROSAMOND HEAD MASTER and football daft.
On we go down Kirkland Street, number 61
gone - now a 3 storey tenement THE PARRS THE WILSONS THE BROWNS THE
WHITEFIELDS THE BRYDENS AND US THE PATERSONS.
We kids had the time of our lives but
looking back it must have been awful for our parents. Up the High Street
and it hits you; crumbling, once proud buildings, many closed and lorries
thundering down the street - a disaster waiting to happen. It is sad.
No Joe Capaldi’s café, no King’s Arm’s,
no Morton Wallace where everyone in the town had the same haircut, no
Jackie Dent’s no Bruce and Stella arguing with each other in the chip
Then down the Croft and home.
It is time to go home, a week has past
and I have enjoyed meeting a lot of my many friends and going out to the
shore. It was deserted, the National Trust has seen to that.
No fires, no camping, no dogs, no
laughing, nobody goes now except TOOTIE and his hardy lads. National Trust
- more like national disgrace.
We head back to London, my wife never
speaks to me until get to New Cumnock.
She spots the lump in my throat and the
misty eyes; parents getting older; will I see them again and Maybole, my
kind of town.
My wife does not understand - she was
not born in Maybole.