E is for Easterhouse

Easterhouse

Easterhouse, Glasgow

When you mention Easterhouse to most people, an image of deprivation, unemployment, gang warfare, mugging, glue-sniffing and drugs is what will often spring to mind. Well, try living there.

I lived in the ‘Greater Area of Easterhouse’ – I won’t talk about exactly where today or I’ll have nothing to write about for ‘Q.’

Gang fights were rampant. Stabbings, theft, arson… All part of everyday life.

I never fit in and was always different to the majority of my peers.

I graduated from Uni in 1982 and, like many other Glaswegians of the time, was unemployed. I had to sign on the dole in Easterhouse, every two weeks. My sign-on time was quite early and the bus between where I stayed and the unemployment office didn’t start until later in the day so I had to walk the two or three miles to the office. Once I got there, I’d stand in my line and avoid eye contact. I remember once listening surreptitiously to a bloke tell his friend about how he had robbed his mother-in-law’s house the previous evening. I kept my eyes downward and said nothing.

When I got to the counter it was always the same clerk who processed my claim. I’d pass over my card, sign the proffered form, thank him and leave.

Several years later I was in a local working man’s club with my friend, Nancy. Who should I see at the bar but the unemployment benefit clerk. We recognised each other and had a wee chat during which I discovered that everyone in the office knew me as The Princess because I was the only polite claimant he had.

Being different can be a good thing.

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. I don’t know Glasgow but there are similar areas in Leicester. The Princess… That’s lovely 🙂

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

  2. I don’t know Glasgow but there are similar areas in Leicester. The Princess… That’s lovely 🙂

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

  3. Carol
    Apr 5, 2013

    I always found Easterhouse a bit intimidating! I dated a guy from Easterhouse for about 6 months and always had to put up with loads of abuse walking from the train to his house…I was a wee skinny goth (had dreads at the time) so you can imagine! Didn’t get so much trouble when he was with me…he was a big softie but built like a tank 🙂

    C x

  4. Carol
    Apr 5, 2013

    I always found Easterhouse a bit intimidating! I dated a guy from Easterhouse for about 6 months and always had to put up with loads of abuse walking from the train to his house…I was a wee skinny goth (had dreads at the time) so you can imagine! Didn’t get so much trouble when he was with me…he was a big softie but built like a tank 🙂

    C x

  5. chicaderock
    Apr 5, 2013

    Really loved this post Nettie…Love to get insights like this x

  6. chicaderock
    Apr 5, 2013

    Really loved this post Nettie…Love to get insights like this x

  7. Nancy Jardine
    Apr 5, 2013

    If I had been doing an A-Z of Glasgow, I would- no doubt – have done something similar for Drumchapel – though my time there was not quite so …like yours.

  8. Nancy Jardine
    Apr 5, 2013

    If I had been doing an A-Z of Glasgow, I would- no doubt – have done something similar for Drumchapel – though my time there was not quite so …like yours.

  9. Margot Kinberg
    Apr 5, 2013

    Nettie – I’m not surprised you made the effort to be polite. And I can’t imagine what it must have been like to try to keep your sanity and stay true to yourself in a place like Easterhouse. Such a powerful story!

  10. Margot Kinberg
    Apr 5, 2013

    Nettie – I’m not surprised you made the effort to be polite. And I can’t imagine what it must have been like to try to keep your sanity and stay true to yourself in a place like Easterhouse. Such a powerful story!

  11. tracykuhn
    Apr 5, 2013

    I’m going to refer to you as Princess from now on!
    I remember feeling the same when I had to sign on in Grimsby.
    I’m loving all these!

  12. tracykuhn
    Apr 5, 2013

    I’m going to refer to you as Princess from now on!
    I remember feeling the same when I had to sign on in Grimsby.
    I’m loving all these!

  13. lingeringvisions
    Apr 5, 2013

    Wow, you are very brave I am glad you made it where you are now and can share your story.

  14. lingeringvisions
    Apr 5, 2013

    Wow, you are very brave I am glad you made it where you are now and can share your story.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Q is for Queenslie | @nettiewriting - [...] I mentioned in E is for Easterhouse, I grew up in the greater area of Easterhouse, but my particular…
  2. Q is for Queenslie | @nettiewriting - [...] I mentioned in E is for Easterhouse, I grew up in the greater area of Easterhouse, but my particular…

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