Norma McCullough

Page One

My name is Norma Stewart McCullough.  I was born on 26th September 1937.  For the first ten years of my life I moved around quite a bit.  The house I was born in was in Joanmount Crescent on the Ballysillan Road, where I stayed until my father joined the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of world war two, in 1939.  My mother was lonely on her own with a small baby, so she moved to a large old house in Cuper Street, off the Springfield Road to be nearer to my grandmother.  However, the house was overrun with mice and rats.  One of my first memories was sitting on the floor in the living room with the mice running over my legs.  That was that, we then moved in with my grandmother and my aunt Mabel into a hose which was a lot smaller but wasn’t infested.  It was on the Shankill Road in Brookmount Street.  My aunt Mabel was a bit of a snob, she used to make me say we lived on the Woodvale Road, which was considered a bit more up market.


Our house was a small terrace house, two up and two down with a tiny garden at the front.  We had no hot running water or bathroom.  Friday night was bath night.  My mum and grandmother carried the big tin bath from the back yard into the livingroom in front of a roaring fire and then the ritual began.  First my hair was scrubbed with soft green soap which came in a cardboard box from the chemist. Then it was rinsed in clean water with borax in it, which was supposed to make my hair shine.  Then  after I had washed my body until it tingled, I put on clean pyjamas and took my place on the floor at my granny’s feet.  The dreaded fine comb was produced and I had to suffer the comb biting into my scalp until I thought it would bleed.  “better than getting nits” she would say.  The best bit of the night was sitting in front of the roaring fire making toast with a long toasting fork.  No health and safety in those days.  Delicious with loads of butter.