I can unreservedly and proudly claim to have been Granny Adam's favourite grandchild and she was my favourite grandparent. I'm not sure why our bond was so strong, but it was. We made one another laugh all the time. I think I inherited her irreverent and mischievous streak, which stands me in good stead even today. She used to encourage me to do impersonations of my little second cousins who lived in Fife. She'd double up when I spontaneously shouted "Whaur's ma baffies?!" in a Dunfermline accent. We always seemed to be laughing.
Granny was widowed when I was 18 months so I don't remember "Papa John" but she spoke of him with such love. She was from a big, noisy, rough family. Her brothers, the McLardie boys, including a set of twins, had a bit of a reputation in Paisley. She and her sisters were mill girls. But when John Adam, from a much more refined family, asked her to dance at a local dance hall, she fell for him straight away, mainly because, "he was such a beautiful dancer, hen". I can remember hearing her say that over and over. She was my fashion guru (the specs say it all) and she had a wonderful array of "frocks" from what I've seen in photos from when she used to go to dances with John.
I was a bright kid and every time I achieved something academic, Granny would say, with no sadness whatsoever, "Your Papa would have been so proud. He was always into education". When I became Dux of my primary school and my name was engraved on the school wall boards, she joked at how her name was on the wall in Williamsburgh School too, "Aye, the lavvy walls, hen". In an interesting turn of events, my best friend is now the head teacher there. I assume "Maggie McLardie wiz here” has been painted over since but I must check! When I told Granny about my job she proudly replied, ‘‘I don’t know what that is hen, but it sounds posh…’
Granny was accepting and progressive and never criticised the younger generation in the way some older folk around her did. She had a gay friend who she once called "Poofy John" without a hint of malice. When I suffered a broken heart, she never judged, she just said "it disnae matter how many you go through to find the right one, hen, as long as you find him". Always adding, "and if yer faither's got anything to say about that, you send him round here" with a knowing wink.
As a teenager, I'd stay at my Granny’s little flat in Paisley every Wednesday night. She'd cook me "something foreign, hen, cos I know you like it". This could be any weird combination of ready meals like lasagne with chicken fried rice. Then, after tea, I'd go and meet my friends or boyfriends and get the last bus back to her. She'd be waiting up in her quilted blue flowery dressing gown with her hairnet on watching Prison Cell Block H or the snooker with a pot of tea warming and some "it's no burnt, hen, it's well fired" toast. Her first words were always, "So, gi me a' the gossip, hen".
Granny often got her phrases mixed up. After the council had confirmed they'd be installing a door buzzer entry system into her little block of flats, she proudly told the minister she was very excited that they were going to be, “having intercourse in the close". He nearly spat his tea over her. Comedy gold!
Granny died quite peacefully in her sleep at 93 when I was in my mid-thirties, I was recently divorced with two young children; another situation she'd taken in her stride with only love and support, never judgement.
I still miss her and that mischievous twinkle in those lovely eyes.