My Scottish grandfather would have been the ideal candidate for one of those You Can Take the Boy Out of Glasgow, But You Can’t Take Glasgow out of the Boy type t-shirts, except that such things were not around in Alexander McKay’s day. And he certainly never possessed a t-shirt – which was a later American invention – but simply wore a seasonal variation on the archetypal vest (sleeveless for summer, thermal for winter). However, in retrospect my grandfather’s sartorial choices were very much in line with his age and decade. Browsing through old photographs shows this development from his ‘bright young thing’ era in the 1920s to the maturing family man of later years. By the time I knew Grandad, he had moved on to knitted waistcoats, tweed coats and soft hats which he still tipped when passing females in the street.
When this Glasgow boy was courting my grandmother in the 1920s, he was certainly making an effort to impress her. They met at ‘the dancing’ when my grandfather was working as a newly qualified electrician in Edinburgh and lodging with his maternal aunt. While Edinburgh and Glasgow are today so closely connected that commuting between the two of them is a fairly regular occurrence, moving from Scotland’s largest city to Scotland’s capital was much more of a wrench a century ago. Grandad certainly never forgot he was a Glaswegian at heart and had even hoped to return there once retired. Well, you’ll be going back on your own then! my grandmother quipped. Given the stubborn nature of my grandmother, there was certainly no imminent move planned to the friendly city on the Clyde with its proximity to the islands and lochs of the west coast, even though it would have been closer to our own family home in Ayr.
Read more of this post at my new family history blog: A Scottish Family Album.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Xmas!
The Incidental Genealogist, December 2022