The Grantidote and Calderglen High School English Department worked together to discuss the importance of women’s stories and experiences and how both are so often overlooked when we consider the fact and fiction-based storytelling surrounding our lives. This forward-thinking school’s English department runs a yearly project for second years, asking pupils to research and write-up family history around World War I and teachers had observed the stories coming back were never about women. So, to address the missing archive and representation, Calderglen High’s Herstory Project was bravely born.
Isabella’s story is brilliantly told here by her grandson, Euan.
My Gran, Isabella, was born on the 13th of November, 1950, in Castlemilk, Glasgow.
I am writing about my Gran because she has been coming to our house every Tuesday and Thursday for years to look after me and my brother, Liam. My Gran is always going out of her way to do things for us, like if we have a hole in our clothes she’ll always sew it. My brother and I sometimes stay over at my Gran’s house and she always make our dinners for us and makes sure we are both okay. She always has something special for us at Christmas, last Christmas she got us a pool table. She also got me a guitar once.
There are lots of things that have happened in my Gran’s life that are interesting. I remember once my Gran was at my house and she fell in front of the door and broke her pinky. I was in shock until I saw she was laughing at herself! She has broken a number of bones so she already knew what to expect.
My Gran told me a story of when she was young; she was taking a rat up to her Gran’s house because she thought it was a cat. She got to her Gran’s house with the rat and was going to give it, like it was a gift, until she got told it wasn’t a cat she was holding!
My Gran was born as Isabella McClyment and had three sisters. Margaret and Betty were her older sisters but they aren’t here anymore. My Gran still has her younger sister called Carol who is disabled. Carol has a form of brain damage and she never went to school but she is looked after in her house. We celebrate her birthday with her every July.
My Gran and her family grew up in Castlemilk. They never went on holiday but they did sometimes go on a day trip to Saltcoats with a picnic.
When my Gran left school she was fifteen. She told me she left school on the Friday and started work as a Machinist on the Monday. She went to Calder Street Junior Secondary. My dad and his brothers and sister grew up in Calder street. My other Gran, Nan, still lives there. In school my Gran took music, cooking, sewing, knitting, maths and english.
My Gran met my Granda in a pub while she was out with her sister Margaret. Once my Gran met my Granda, she moved to Craigend and they had three children; Alex, Lynn, and my mum Diane. My Granda was up singing when Margaret introduced my Gran. They have now been married for 49 years.
My Gran retired seven years ago from the McVities’ factory. She now stays with my Granda and their dog, Leia, in Springboig. Her first Grandchild was Alex’s son William, followed by his little brother, Alexander. Then came Stuart and Mark who are twins - Lynn’s children - and Liam and me who are Diane’s children.
My Gran is a big part in my life. She is always there for me and the rest of the family. I told her story because she is someone I couldn’t live without. I think she will be remembered for the amount of work she does to help us and for the jokes she makes, because she’s so funny and always makes us laugh.
I have learnt so much about my Gran while doing this research for our school Herstory Project and The Grantidote. I know now that there are many funny and interesting things that have happened in my Gran’s life. I am happy I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about my Gran and she remembered many things from her childhood just for me.