Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dad...Part 2....

So here we are at the second instalment. As you'll remember Sam was feeling a bit lost at home. He'd always felt unwanted there despite settling into life with his new siblings.

Moving On…

It was these feelings at home that inspired Sam to join the Army at 17. The decision was made to join the Royal Scots Greys and of course along with him went his favourite ally and cousin, Jim. It was a good decision all round for the boys. Jim went on to have a successful career in the Army lasting his full 25 years and reaching Regimental Sargeant Major. Sam was a PTI instructor and the small, pale, malnourished boy was no more. For Sam the decision was also good in a different way.

His stint in the Army led him to meet Andrew Stenhouse, a fellow soldier, and through him his future wife. Andy and Sam had leave together and Andy invited Sam to Edinburgh to meet his Brother and go for a pint. Sam, never one to turn down a pint with the boys, agreed. On a more serious note Sam hated going home on leave to Glasgow. His relationship with Marion was not that great. Despite sending money home to his folks from his salary to help them with the housekeeping. Marion would refuse to cook him a meal when he came home unless he paid for it. (Marion had two sides to her one was nice and the other was...not. As her Daughter said “ If my Maw saw a man walking a dog she hated the man but she hated the bloody dog even more”).

Meanwhile back at the ranch…Sam gladly accepted Andy’s offer and went to stay as a guest in the Stenhouse home. He found in Andy’s Mum and Dad’s the kind of family life he had always wanted. A warm, loving Mother, a respected Father and a sense of family. (Don’t get me wrong the Stenhouse Clan weren’t the Waltons…but then they weren’t they Munsters either…they were you typical salt of the earth lot). Sam felt at home and became a regular visitor when on leave. Of course apart from the hospitality, home cooked meals etc there was one other draw that lured Sam to Edinburgh….Heather.

Making His Own Family…

Heather was Andy’s younger sister. Only 15 when they first met but love blossomed. Sam asked her out and after deciding that if her mates would be jealous that was a good thing Heather agreed. Fast forward a few years and hey presto they were married. This didn’t go down all that well in the West. Marion wasn’t happy that Sam had decided to get in tow with a snob from Edinburgh (well the Stenhouse’s had an inside toilet). Funnily enough Heather and Marion didn’t really hit it off. (Actually Marion didn’t really get on with many of her in laws!! Pattern emerging here eh?) Heather was undisturbed by it all, (She christened her new Mother in Law the Wicked Witch of the West).Heather and Sam settled into married life together living in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee where I was born after 3 years of marriage. Shortly after my birth the family Shaw decided to move to Edinburgh for good (as my Dad said the wise man went to the East) and life rolled on until June 1977 when I was joined by my sister. Sam never wanted me to be an only child like he had effectively been as he had always believed it was a lonely life. The 70's became the 80's and the family settled into life as a foursome.

Sadly a short while after my birth Granny Becky, Sam’s beloved Granny passed away. She had been ill for some time and her death was a sad time for Sam who felt like he had again lost his Mother figure.

Sam had a variety of jobs (many lasting all of a matter of weeks!!) and although in early childhood money was tight they stumbled on. (everyone you meet tells you they were poor as kids eh? Maybe prices were too high back then? Surely not everyone “had nothing”??!!) Sam had settled into a new family - his own- and visits to Glasgow were limited to 3 or 4 a year. (visits by them to Edinburgh were more infrequent - I can recall 4 visits in 30 years - still it’s a long way from Glasgow to Edinburgh isn’t it and the transport links are terrible it’s not as if there’s a train every 30 minutes or a straight road through!!).

Sam had long spells of unemployment (along with over 3 million others) during the 80’s . We weren’t rich but we got what they could afford. We still had holidays (caravan’s mostly) and were posh enough to go abroad (on the bus mind!!). I don’t ever recall much time with my Glasgow relatives during the 80’s (there were obligatory visits at Christmas and New Year and the odd drop in in between such as staying there for a few days over Easter each year) I won’t waste much time on life at this period but will instead move swiftly on to the early 90’s by which time Sam had reached the ripe old age of 43.

Life took a turn for Sam at this point. He secured a not bad job (he made plastic!!) and was bringing in regular and good money. Promotion followed and before we knew it we were rich! (that’s not true but it felt like it at the time we got a nearly new car and double glazing!!) Life got better and there were many people outside the four of us who benefited from the change in fortunes (the local pub landlord was one, and the bookies!!) By now Sam was looking forward to a peaceful life. His girls were leaving school and getting jobs of their own. However as any parent of teenage girls will let you, peaceful is not a word often used in association with this time of their lives. Sam didn’t reckon on boyfriends and pals staying and it’s fair to say that during the early part of the 90’s his house was choc full of both at all times!! Sam though took it all in his stride. He loved meeting people and playing host in his home and there was always a fried breakfast for the friends at weekends or an alcoholic drink on tap. (mind you maybe this all explains why he loved doing the 12 hour shifts so much - a bit of peace at work eh?)


1995 was a year that changed Sam’s life, yes at the age of 48 Sam was a Grandad!! Gill was just 17 when she dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant. Dad, although a bit annoyed in the beginning took the news well and spent 1995 looking forward to the new arrival coming. Kennedy Jennifer (she’s named after me she is!!) was born that year and was soon followed by Chloe Rebecca (after Granny Becky!) in 1996, Dean Samuel Ross, in 1998 and Jake Thomas Francis, in 2000 as my sister and I began our own little set of Mini Me’s. However to Sam that were known as Wee You, Becca, Deanie Boy and Doodle. Sam loved being a Grandad and loved his Grandkids with a passion. He regained his youth in them and loved to act the fool with them. He was probably happiest when we were all together in Florida on holiday. He enjoyed seeing the kids faces but this was also true at Christmas when he and Mum would spoil the kids rotten. The kids were the apple of Sam's eye. He was a great Dad but an even better Grandad!! I for one would like to say Thanks for that wherever he is!

The last few years of Sam's life were perhaps the most busy. He had taken up bowling (cheap drink!!) and had even ventured onto the committee in 2004. He spent a lot of time with his mates (some old, some new!!) and enjoyed a good social life with Heather. Sadly though his health wasn't as great as it could have been. He had been diagnosed with asthma and suffered periods of bronchitis. His breathing was starting to give him some problems. There were a few occasions he ended up in hospital when he had picked up chest infections. However, on the whole it didn’t give him too much grief. He had a nebuliser at home to help if he did have an attack and there were many jokes about him sounding like Darth Vader as he tried to talk while using it! He tried to avoid you if you had a cold to stop him getting it but he was still as strong as an ox and it didn't interfere with his day to day life. He had also developed Diabetes which came to light when he keeled over in the bowling club one day as a result of not eating anything and his blood sugar being goosed! Staff called for an ambulance but he came round quickly and told everyone not to make a fuss and that he was going no where becuase he hadn;t had a sip of his piny et. Mum son marched him to the docs though and diabetes it was! Despite this though nothing prepared anyone for Monday 19th July 2004. So ends part 2.

Jenny xx

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