Yesterday I attended an online zoom seminar organised by HIS (Healthcare Improvement Scotland) collaborative communities with a strapline: The Power in our Communities: Catalyst for Change: Celebrating Community. Not sure how I found out about it but the title drew me in to take part because it's how I am, it's the work I do, and I could identify with it. Which is ironic as I'm a lone community activist and catalyst for change, in Fife for 31 years and now in Dundee, before that in Rigside, Lanarkshire. And in the past I have challenged HIS leadership about their behaviour, winning an apology for a doctor because of it.
I cut my teeth on grassroots community development, childrens' and youth work, in the ex-mining village of Rigside where we lived 1980-90, and further afield in Lanark with SPPA and Play committees, and steering groups in Hamilton, Motherwell areas. Voluntary work as my 3 sons were growing up, having twice made a full recovery from psychosis/psychiatry after tortuous childbirth labours in 1978 and 1984.
1985 photo of my sons wearing velour jumpsuits (M&S) gifted by my Mother, their Granny, who worked in the Babygro factory at North Muirton, Perth, even although having a Schizophrenia diagnosis and being on a Depixol 3wkly antipsychotic injection. My Mum was an amazing example to me and my family of overcoming abusive psychiatric treatment (many courses of forced ECT/shock treatment and memory loss).
|1980's South Inch Perth|
I would not be the person I am today were it not for my parentage and upbringing, and I couldn't have survived 3 bouts of coercive psychiatric drugging, making a full recovery from the treatment and diagnosis, were it not for being the daughter of a Kings Badge war veteran, science fiction writer Willie Patterson and his faithful wife Anne Ferrier Dewar, Dux of Secretarial College who did better at Latin than my Dad, at Perth Academy where my parents first met and became school sweethearts.
They were a stylish couple, something else I inherited, my Mother a dressmaker, seamstress like her Mother Lizzy Edwards before her, from Auchterarder. And my Dad's older sister Margaret was a craftswoman. his Mother my Granny a sock knitter, embroiderer, Highland Dancer and teacher in her earlier years.
|me & Granny at 10 Kingwell Terrace, Perth|
I was named after Granny and Grandpa's favourite flowers Chrysanthemums which they brought into the PRI (Perth Royal Infirmary) after I was born on 28 September 1952, for Granny had wanted me to be named Jessie after her but my Mum suggested Chrys instead as Jessie wasn't a popular name that year. And so I had a different name, spelling, couldn't be shortened which was useful.
|me at around 4, Kingswell Terrace in background, happy wee girl, kilt wearing|
The older I get the more thankful I am for my childhood, especially the pre-school years spent with my parents and grandparents, which shaped my life and made me the child and young person I became, the woman and mother, grandmother. I was brought up to be a free thinking, independently minded child, a tomboy who felt equally at ease playing with boys or girls before puberty. My Dad had taught me to box before school, to stand up to the bully boys on Dunsinane Drive, Letham, Perth, where we lived by the age I was in that photo above. And my Mum told this story in later years, very proud of my ability to resist bullies and to be my own person.
It sounds strange when saying it but I didn't know that I would grow up to be a woman and when puberty hit I was annoyed about it for years, how my relationship with boys changed. I remember one day at our Pomarium flat when my Mum knocked on my bedroom door and said that an older boy was at the door, asking if I was going out .... he wasn't a laddie I used to go about with, rather a Teddy boy, hair slicked back, the older brother of a boy I went about with when at primary school. I grumped at my mum No! And I knew that my life had changed, I wasn't one of the boys any more. This was in around 1964, after I'd started Perth Academy.
Eventually in 1970 I agreed to go with my Storey's the draper's Saturday job girlfriend colleagues to the dancing on a Saturday night at the Sally (Salutation Hotel, Perth) and so I made a dress for the occasion, helped by my Auntie Margaret, it was blue and white cotton material, flared skirt, mini, not too short, collared neck, mid length sleeves. Don't have any photos but I can picture it. By this age I had made a few outfits, sometimes sending away for cut out material outfits, through the Fab208 magazine eg an orange trouser suit with skirt. Using my Mum's Singer sewing machine, which I still have, also her instruction booklet ...
|in my spare craft room, sitting on Dad's desk|
I bought this old copy of Fab208 from Ebay, 19 October 1968 edition, from the time I used to get this magazine as a teenager in Perth, aged around 16, when I had started to get interested in fashion, style, materials, sewing.
|example of cut out, ready to sew outfit I sent for|
And in 6th year at the Academy I took a dressmaking class alongside advanced Maths - Algebra, Geometry, Computer Programming (Algol), also Higher Geography, briefly studying O grade German, Physics and Applied Maths but dropping these as I didn't enjoy them. I also taught a girl O grade Maths, got paid for it, she lived in a big house up Moncrieff, Perth, and she passed.
Summer of 1969 I worked in the chicken factor at Coupar Angus to earn money, working Saturdays in Storey's the drapers, my Dad by this time was stuck in London, jobless, his contract with the Daily Express scriptwriting Jeff Hawke had been terminated.
|1986/7 Titan Books publications|
|2008 Titan Books republication on Amazon|
I've still to donate these two Jeff Hawke books to AK Bell Library in Perth, have had them since before the pandemic lockdown. I've already donated copies to Fife and Dundee Libraries:
|27 October 2017 in Springfield Mobile Library, Fife|
|in The Courier 15 June 2019|
|photo taken in Central Library, Dundee|