Growing up in Govan: Gran and granddaughter share experiences growing up in Govan - 50 years apart

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A grandmother interviews her granddaughter on Sunny Govan radio station for NSPCC’s Childhood Day

It’s fair to say that a lot has changed in the past 50 years - a Glaswegian grandmother and granddaughter from Govan have shared their respective experiences of growing up in Govan for a local radio station to see just how much life has changed for kids growing up in the last half century.

The heart warming conversation will be broadcast by Sunny Govan today (June 7) as part of the NSPCC’s Childhood Day – the charity’s flagship day of fundraising that is all about celebrating childhood.

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Donna Miller, 62, and Ryliegh Miller, 12, visited the Sunny Govan studio for the chat, covering topics such as school, favourite foods and their opinion on the differences between now and the 1960s.

Here is a transcript of a section of the conversation - which has been edited for clarity.

Donna and Ryleigh Miller interviewed each other about their experiences growing up for Sunny Govan community radio station.Donna and Ryleigh Miller interviewed each other about their experiences growing up for Sunny Govan community radio station.
Donna and Ryleigh Miller interviewed each other about their experiences growing up for Sunny Govan community radio station. | Contributed

Donna: What would you like to be when you grow up?

Ryleigh: Me and my friend Lola have got this idea - it’s quite a big one. We’re thinking of doing a tattoo/artist place since we both really love art, and she wants to be a tattoo artist. We’re going to split it so one half will be pink and the other black. I’ll be in the pink half doing art, but dressed in black, and she’ll be in the dark half of the studio but dressed pink and cutesy.

Ryleigh: What has been the biggest change in the world since you were a child?

Donna: The biggest change must definitely be the internet. We had nothing like that when we were young. My family was one of the first ones to get a phone and I only had one friend who also had one, so I could only phone one person. Someone had to go to a telephone box if you wanted to call them, but they needed to know you were going to phone them so they could be outside the telephone box.

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Donna: What does being a child mean to you?

Ryleigh: It means being young and energetic and having less responsibilities, like driving a car, owning a house, sometimes children, if you want some. It also means just having fun, not caring.

Donna: As it should be. Just having fun, no worries.

Ryleigh: The thing is a lot of children do have worries now and a lot have anxiety and depression, which is really sad.

Donna: That is sad. Children shouldn’t have to deal with that. A lot of children are carers now, they look after a parent of someone. That shouldn’t be a child’s job. That’s terrible – they should be enjoying themselves.

Ryleigh: What was your favourite food growing up?

Donna: I can’t remember having a favourite, because you basically had the same food all the time. Mince and tatties, pies and beans or something like that. You didn’t have a big variety of dinners. My grannies’ and my aunties’ mince and their soup, I loved both of them – but I couldn’t eat my mum’s mince or soup. But I don’t really remember having a favourite food because you weren’t even in the house all day; you would just come home when you were hungry.

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Ryleigh: Now we’ve got a big variety like pasta and all that. I love pasta.

Donna: We didn’t even have supermarkets.

Ryleigh: What did you have?

Donna: Just wee shops, a butcher, a grocer. All different shops for different things. You couldn’t get them all in one big supermarket. The first time I went to a supermarket, my friend’s mum was taking her and asked if I’d like to come. I said: “what’s a supermarket?”.

Donna: How does the food I grew up with sound to you?

Ryleigh: Well, not to sound rude but it does sound like it’s quite a small selection and I don’t know if the portions were big, or as big as they are now.

Donna: They probably were. We bought it fresh every day. It wasn’t like you could go to the freezer shop and get cheap bundles of chicken. So, it would just be fresh chicken you were buying from the butcher shop that day.

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Ryleigh: It sounds like the food wasn’t as processed as it is now.

Donna: Does being a grown-up sound fun or boring to you?

Ryleigh: It depends. Being a grown up might not be as fun because of the amount of responsibilities – and you might get told to act your age. Grown ups don’t seem fun, but actual people seem nice to talk to. Depends if they like me or not.

Shipbuilding was an integral part of Govan's culture and heritage for generationsShipbuilding was an integral part of Govan's culture and heritage for generations
Shipbuilding was an integral part of Govan's culture and heritage for generations | Contributed

Ryleigh: What did you least enjoy about school?

Donna: I was scared of the teachers. I was very quiet – I don’t know how I ended up the way I am now. English and geography were my worst subjects. I thought I had the worst teacher, but now when I look back, I think I got the best teacher and I’d love to meet him now. He was Mr Archibald and everybody hated him because he was so strict.

Ryleigh: What do you think you would say to him if you met him?

Donna: He knew how stupid we were all being, he actually had a grin on his face when he was teaching us. I would just like to tell him that I wished I had listened in his class.’

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