Friday, June 22, 2007
Valerie, balcony boss -1953/54
Valerie with unknown girl on Castle roof.
It was Valerie, the balcony boss, I had a fight with which resulted in a permanent small mark in my right eye.
Opticians still pause thoughtfully when they examine it and ask how long I have had it. When I tell them they say:”Oh that’s all right,” and move on.
I remember that fight.
Towards the end of my stay at Craig-y-nos I had become something of a “street fighter”, while lacking the physical strength of the older girls I had developed a neat way of scratching, biting and pinching.
Valerie, a big tough teenager, claimed I was stirring the younger girls up in rebellion against her authority, something I strenuously denied though there might have been some truth in it because we were all afraid of her.
She grabbed a pillow , pushed me down in the bed and jammed it hard in what she thought was my mouth but was in fact my eye.
( Years later I was to become a trade union official in Glasgow, a campaigner on environmental issues, and founder member of Falkirk Women's Aid...maybe it all started with a deep sense of injustice in Craig-y-nos - thanks to Valerie!)