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In this interview, Kathleen Ann Cameron Mainland recalls her father's World War I service in the British Army and her own reminiscences from World War II in Scotland. Her father was a member of the Seaforth Highlanders and was headed for the front lines in France. He recorded his experiences on paper and Kathleen shares them. She also recalls her experiences and conditions as a child during World War II in Scotland. She remembers that the novel "Gone with the Wind" influenced her decision to move to the United States.
Kathleen Mainland grew up in Scotland during World War II.
Kathleen Mainland Veterans History Project Atlanta History Center With Hayden Pace October 8, 2003 [Tape 1, Side A] Interviewer: Okay. This will be the recorded interview for the Veterans Project of the Atlanta History Center of Kathleen Mainland, which is taken on October eighth, 2003. It is now twelve fifteen in the afternoon and the interviewer is myself, Hayden Pace. Kathleen, if I could get you to state your full name. Mainland: Kathleen Anne Camerton [phonetic] Mainland. Interviewer: And Kathleen, where were you born? Mainland: I was born in Airdrie, Lenoxshire, Scotland. It’s near Glasgow. Interviewer: And when were you born? Mainland: Six October, 1931. Interviewer: When did you leave Scotland? Mainland: 1982. It was the date in the calendar that is also a command; March fourth. Interviewer: [laughs] All right. So you were there fifty years. Who were your parents? Mainland: My parents were James and Nancy Stout. My mother’s maiden name was Bane. Interviewer: And what did James do for a living? Mainland: James was a banker. Interviewer: He was a banker. Mainland: Yes. Interviewer: And did James serve in the military at any time? Mainland: He served in World War One. And we do have an article that he wrote. Actually he wrote it as a letter home, but because he came from such a small community, Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, it was printed in the local paper and it told of his wartime experiences, mostly concerned with his progress toward the front along with his battalion. He was in the Seaforth Highlanders. And one thing he did not put on the letter, but told us, was that the kilts that they had to wear were made of very, very rough material and he apparently had rather tender legs because when the kilt material got wet it would take the skin off the back of his thighs [laughs]. Not at all comfortable. But anyway, he was on his way to the front along with everybody else. At one point they met up with German prisoners of war being taken to the back, taken out of combat. And he describes them as great hulking brutes [laughs]. He was not tall. He was not a tall man. Interviewer: How old was he when he enlisted? Mainland: Eighteen. Interviewer: And did he enlist or was he [inaudible]? Mainland: He enlisted because he was hoping that he could get into the physical training corps. But at that time, in nineteen…barely 1917, everybody just went straight to the front, so it didn’t work for him. Interviewer: What is the physical training corps? Mainland: PT. Interviewer: Is it similar to boot camp? Mainland: No. No. It’s a section that would be concerned with physical training, with exercising and building up muscle and you know. Interviewer: So he saw it as an opportunity? Mainland: That was what he wanted to go into. He was already working in a bank, but he didn’t like it. And thought if he could get into the physical training part in the army that perhaps he could progress to that when he went back to civilian life. Interviewer: Do you know what your grandparents thought about him enlisting? Mainland: No. [laughs] I can’t…well, I don’t know. The atmosphere was so different, I think. Perhaps they were proud of him for serving his country, for taking it upon himself to go ahead and put himself possibly in the way of danger. Interviewer: Had he lived in that one town all his life at that point? Mainland: Yes. Interviewer: So this was an opportunity perhaps to travel, too. Mainland: Possibly. Although, he had lived…they went on holiday to what’s called the mainland, which means Scotland. Actually the island that they lived on, the main island of both the Shetland and the Orkney group is called “The Mainland” and that’s where my name comes from. Interviewer: Do you know if he spent his entire service career in Scotland or did he travel to… Mainland: Oh, he traveled to France. I think it was Arras. And as I say, he was on his way to the front when suddenly he found himself face down in the mud without any idea of how he had got there. And he got up and sort of cleaned himself off and went along the road and only at night, when he took off his helmet did he discover what had happened. He had a very small head and the helmets have netting in them that you’re supposed to pull tight around your head. Well, in his case it made the helmet sit high off his head, really. And a bullet had entered the crown of the helmet, gone around the inside and out the back and that was what threw him forward. And having a small head saved his life and I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’m here today [laughs]. Cause my dad had a small head. But before he got into any fighting at all--I don’t think he ever fired his rifle in anger or in self-defense or anything else--he was hit in the thigh and his thighbone was broken. So he was left by the roadside, as it happened, for over twenty-four hours. And he tried, he describes how he tried to splint his leg with his bayonet and the entrenching tool that they carry. But it wasn’t a good job apparently because when he got back to hospital in Britain his thighbone had knit together overlapping two and a half inches. So they broke it and reset it but that was not successful and he was two and a half inches short in his right leg for the rest of his life and had to wear a surgical boot, which of course put paid to any thought of a career in physical training or gymnastics. Interviewer: So he went back to the bank. Mainland: So he went back to the bank, yes. Interviewer: How long was his career in the military? Mainland: I think he joined up in February and was invalided out in April. Interviewer: So very short. Mainland: Very short, yes. Interviewer: And as you stated, he never even got a chance to shoot his rifle. Mainland: Nope. Interviewer: I see. Mainland: The only quote Huns that he saw were those being taken as prisoners of war back to… Interviewer: When he was in the military, did he communicate with his family at all? Mainland: Oh, yes. The whole family were letter writers and this letter that Daddy wrote, well, it’s arranged by the editor of the paper, of course. But he wrote that and he also wrote a letter to his sister, Betty, which I brought. Well, I typed out a copy of it and I have it here. Interviewer: Okay. Will you hold that up for the camera? It’s a letter that was written by James to his sister Betty or Elizabeth and that’s going to be included in the materials here [inaudible]. Mainland: Monday, twenty-six March, 1917. When he was in…he does say. He mentions having met up with somebody else from Shetland. Oh, yes. [reading] “The village we’re at just now is called Ourton.” O-U-R-T-O-N. “Or Durton and lies somewhere behind Arras.” And of course, he wasn’t supposed to say that, so he’s admonishing his sisters to keep it quiet. They must not have been censored or that would have been cut out. Interviewer: Right. Did he maintain any friendships with anyone he met during his time in the service? Mainland: Not that I know of. Interviewer: Did he frequently refer to his time in the service as you where growing up? Mainland: He sang “Pack Up Your Troubles” so much that I thought it was a nursery rhyme. It’s one of the first things I learned to sing. Interviewer: And this song, in case the viewers aren’t familiar with it, is that something he was taught in the military? Mainland: Well, it was a song of World War One. Interviewer: Okay. Do you remember any of it? Mainland: Oh, yes. [singing] “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. While you’ve a Lucifer to light your fag, smile boys, that’s the style. What’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile. So pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.” And a Lucifer, of course, is a match. A fag is a cigarette. He didn’t smoke, I don’t think. [laughs] Interviewer: So other than this particular song, would he speak [inaudible] told you his stories about the bullet in the helmet and then obviously he was shot in the thigh. Mainland: He didn’t talk about it a great deal. I mean, it wasn’t something I was taken on his lap and told about. I presume, I can’t remember, but I should think sometime I was up in the attic and came across the helmet and brought it down and asked about it and that’s how I heard. And we’d never known him without a surgical boot. And it wasn’t all that apparent. It was just, the right boot was built up with a platform of cork inside it and when he was wearing trousers, long trousers, you couldn’t see. But it didn’t stop him playing badminton and oh, he played badminton quite a lot. Interviewer: Did he meet your mother before or after entering into the war? Mainland: After. Interviewer: Okay. And you were born obviously several years later, fifteen years later. Mainland: Yes. They married in 1926. I believe they were engaged for about four years. Well, you had to have enough money to marry on in those days. You didn’t just get married and then wonder where the money was coming from. [laughs] No, my mother didn’t work. She was a very shy, quiet person and she stayed at home until she went to live with my father. Interviewer: And were you living with them at the time that World War Two began? Mainland: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Interviewer: What do you remember of that? Mainland: Well, being seven years old, what I mainly remember is that war broke out in September and I was sort of vaguely aware of the grownups going around with very solemn faces and sort of clustering around the radio whenever there was a news bulletin. But my main memory is of great delight because it meant that school didn’t open. We had extended summer holidays. [laughs] The very early days of the war, there were still a lot of worried people running around. They were issuing gas masks. They were appointing people as air raid wardens. We were being told to protect the glass in our house, the windows particularly, by putting either net or crisscrossings of brown sticky paper on them so if they shattered they wouldn’t go everywhere. And of course, we had to have blackouts. We had big screens that went up over every window in the house and we didn’t turn on the lights when it started to get dark at night until we had the blackouts in place. And the air raid wardens were civilians in each street, or perhaps several to a street if it was a long one, who went around and patrolled regularly to make sure no chink of light was showing. All the street lights were put out. There were no street lights at all. The few cars that were on the road, because of course there was no petrol or gas, had sort of hoods over their headlights directing them down so that they could scarcely be seen. And really, it was all to stop over-flying aircraft from seeing anything or knowing where they were or knowing that there was land below them at all. Interviewer: All this preparation, how did that impress upon a seven year old? Mainland: It was just…I think more excited. There was a real hum in the air. And as the time went on, I think being so young, we kids just adjusted to…that was life at the time and we hadn’t known anything else so we couldn’t contrast it. Interviewer: Did your parents explain what was going on, what was behind all these preparations? Mainland: No, I don’t think so. It was just “the war” and we didn’t know what “the war” was. Interviewer: Did you kids try and figure it out among your friends. Mainland: [inaudible, whispering] no. No. We knew the Germans were bad. Actually we, in my area, experienced the first air raid of the war on British soil. They tried, in September, I mean right at the beginning of the war, they tried to bomb the Forth Bridge, which was the main rail link between the southern part of the country and the north. And they tried to bomb the Roughside [phonetic] Dockyard. Now we were on the southern edge of Dunfermline, facing the River Forth and right down in front of our windows was Roughside Dockyard. If you had a good pair of binoculars, you could tell the time by the clock that was on the big chimney in the middle of it. So, it was going on all the time. They were testing the air raid sirens and I still get chills up my back when I hear the police in Atlanta. I’m a little more accustomed to it now, but it still goes back to that time where it meant, “Be frightened.” And they were testing the air raid sirens and so when we went out playing and the air raid sirens went one more time, we didn’t pay any attention. “Oh, they’re just testing again.” We didn’t even think that, I don’t think. Just went on. And then we started to see planes sort of streaking across the sky and then there were sparks of orange coming out of the planes. I can remember thinking, “It’s a very realistic test, this.” And it wasn’t until oh, a couple hours or more later that a neighbor came home, lived further up the street, white and shaking because he had been on a train that was crossing the Forth Bridge during the raid. And for some unknown reason, they stopped the train on the bridge until the raid was over. I don’t begin to understand the reasoning. Maybe there wasn’t any, but they did. So he sat there and watched planes dive bombing him. Said he could see the crosses on the wings and in some cases, actually see the outline of the pilot inside. Interviewer: How frightening. Mainland: Oh, terrifying. But they never did get the bridge. I mean, it’s like a pencil from the air. And later on…they didn’t harm the dockyard either. But later on, in order to forestall raids on the dockyard particularly, they put up barrage balloons, which are big helium-filled balloons. You know what a balloon looks like with the big sort of ears, which we would, in Scotland, call lugs. That’s Scottish for ear. And they’re flown at a certain height which prevents the planes from coming as low as they might do to strafe or bomb. So all through the war, we had these barrage balloons as part of our view. And we became very accustomed to them so that when they weren’t there, it was unsettling. It was worrying. And one day, I remember, we watched as one by one they caught fire and sank down. And we thought that the Germans had come and were shooting them down so that they could come in and really put paid to the dockyard. But it turned out it was localized lightning that was hitting them and taking them down. I don’t…we never really…I don’t remember understanding really what the war was about or what it was. It wasn’t directly concerning us. I mean, we weren’t in the line of fire, as it were. We didn’t have soldiers. We didn’t have…well, I did evacuate actually. I was going to say we didn’t have to evacuate. But there was a time when there were a great many raids and it was decided that I would be safer away from the dockyard and the bridge. So I was sent to my aunt’s, and she lived in the country on the west side of the country. And it turned out that that wasn’t a very good idea either because she was fairly close to the shipyards on the River Clyde and the Germans started going for those shipyards. So I came home. But we had air raid sirens, air raid warnings just about every night for ten days as the planes flew over us on their way to Clydebank. And we didn’t [inaudible word] coming out of the shelter when the all clear went because we learned that they were going to come back the same way and if they had any bombs left over they would jettison them wherever. So, we just stayed in the air raid shelter until the all clear went for the second time. And then it was all right. But by then, most of the night was over. So. And I say air raid shelter, now if we had sustained a direct hit on the house we would all have been blown to kingdom come. Because the air raid shelter was a little sort of heavy wooden structure in the corner of my parents’ bedroom, where there was just about room for the four of us to sit in there. The idea was that we were up against an outside wall which was double because we had a cold cellar just outside. Crazy. And I expect the Anderson shelters that were corrugated iron set into the ground, if they had sustained a direct hit they would not have…well, I say put into the ground. Then they had soil, dirt packed over them. But a bomb would have killed everybody in there if it had come close enough. It was some shelter but not really a hundred percent. Interviewer: An Anderson shelter. What is that? Mainland: Well, that was this thing that you dug a hole in the ground about maybe four feet deep and you got these pieces of corrugated iron that came up so far and then curved over the top to make a roof. And then when you’d got that you would pile dirt on top. You could dig it deeper than four feet, I guess. And then you piled dirt over the top and that was your air raid shelter and you went in there. Some people had bunks inside so they could sleep. But I don’t know what the air raid shelters that we had at school were made of. I know we went down into them and I think they must have been brick built and you went down into the shelter, which I remember feeling very resentful that we had four or six of them in the girls’ playground, not the boys’. It was a mixed school but we were strictly segregated. In the classroom, the boys sat on one side, the girls sat on the other and when we went out for recess or playtime, the boys had a separate playground from the girls with a great big wall in between the two [laughs], which seemed…I mean we just took it for granted. That was the way things were. But it seems crazy now. That was in elementary school. Infant school we all played together. That was five to seven year olds. And then when you were seven, eight, you went to elementary in the separate sexes. Although we were both in the same classroom. And then the same when we went to high school. The boys had a separate entrance and a separate gymnasium and we sat separately in class mostly. But that’s just an aside. I was going to say that the one fear that stayed with me, and pretty much through the war, at least until the air raids finished, was that there would be an air raid while I was part ways between home and school. What would I do? Where would I go? I never voiced the fear because there was all this thing about stiff upper lip and you weren’t supposed to show your fear and you didn’t tell people about hardships or what you were feeling or anything. That was part of the war effort. Interviewer: The war went on for years. How did you deal with this for such a long time? Mainland: Yes, but the raids didn’t go on. I mean, I guess by what…’42, certainly by ’43 there were no more raids in Britain. And so it was three years, four years. Just when I was little. Interviewer: From age seven to ten? Is that about right? Mainland: Yeah. Something like that. Interviewer: Other than the two assaults on the bridge and the dockyards, which were I guess unsuccessful, do you remember any other assaults on your town or your village? Mainland: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. There was one time when my father…I saw my father afraid and that was very scary. He was, as I say, an air raid warden and after the siren had gone he went out to check round about that nobody was showing any lights. And when he came back in, he was pale. And he said, “Oh, we’re for it now. We’re for it now.” And he told us that what apparently had happened was that the light bombers had come over first and they had dropped incendiaries all around the…well, I don’t know whether all around, but all around the boundary of the town that we could see from our windows and we were fairly high. And he said that they [inaudible] it’s a ring of fire that the heavy stuff is going to be dropped into. Well, he had reckoned without our fire service because when the heavy bombers came over, there was no ring of fire left. It had all been put out. And I don’t really know whether they dropped their bombs or whether they turned around and went back and dropped them somewhere else or what happened. And I don’t know why they would want to drop the bomb on Dunfermline because there was nothing there. We weren’t a military town. We weren’t making munitions. We weren’t doing anything outstanding for the war effort. Interviewer: How big was this town? Mainland: It was about sixty thousand. Incidentally, it’s where Andrew Carnegie was born. Not a big town and yes, we did have the military in town. They commandeered the public…the Carnegie public baths, the swimming pool as barracks for the army. As they did when I…at my grandmother’s, she lived outside Glasgow and there was a little sort of community hall down the road from where she lived and that was made into a barracks. And when I went to visit her, and I had a great time running errands for the soldiers and getting paid for it, you know. Interviewer: Did you meet with the soldiers personally? Mainland: Oh, yes. Interviewer: [inaudible] the errands? Mainland: Oh, yes. Yes. Interviewer: What do you remember of them? Mainland: The main thing I remember was that they had a pipe band there and every morning I would get up early and go down and march up and down with the pipe major as he practiced his pipes. I’m sure the neighborhood must have been delighted having a piper at seven o’clock in the morning [laughs], but I loved it. I thought it was just great and I marched up and down keeping him company. Interviewer: Did the soldiers ever tell you any stories or… Mainland: They hadn’t been anywhere yet. This was a staging post. I mean, they weren’t training. They must just have been there waiting until they were deployed, until they knew where they were going to go. Interviewer: Do you remember their general mood? Mainland: It was pretty upbeat as I remember. But then they wouldn’t show anything else to a child. Interviewer: And you said that the town sort of had an attitude, “Keep a stiff upper lip.” Mainland: Oh, the whole country. Interviewer: Really. Mainland: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I don’t know that there were any posters about that. The posters mostly were about “careless talk, save lives”. Careless talk…oh, what was it? “Careless talk costs lives.” That was it. So if you knew anything you weren’t supposed to talk about it. Interviewer: Now you stated that the air raids ended after a period of time and the war continued. Mainland: Oh, yes. Interviewer: What do you remember about your family or your town keeping track of the war [inaudible]? Mainland: Oh, radio. Radio. Everybody sat around the radio when the news came on, six o’clock news at night. I mean, there were newscasts at other times of the day, but six o’clock you could just about count on everybody being indoors listening to the news and the different news readers. Albar Ledell [phonetic] is one name that comes to mind. They always announced their names when they were reading it. “Here is the BBC six o’clock news and this is Albar Ledell reading it.” Interviewer: And were these broadcasts just simply reporting what had taken place or were they from the front lines? Mainland: Oh, they weren’t from the front lines. No. They might be stories from the front lines, but the news was purely reporting what was going on, what had gone on that particular day, what progress we had made. Interviewer: Very different from today’s coverage of the military. Mainland: Yes. Interviewer: Do you remember the end of the war? Mainland: Oh, yes. [laughing] Interviewer: What was it like? Mainland: I can’t remember exactly what V-E was like, Victory in Europe. But some people at school, high school by then, got a hold of some paint and on the entrance, the two entrances, boys and girls, to the school, they put a great big painted “V-E” on either side of the doorway. Never found out who did it. [laughs] I have a photograph. I don’t know. You might like a copy of it. It’s actually the prizewinners for 1945 and I was one. And there we are all clustered on these steps and you can see the V-E and they’ve tried to take out the V-E with blackboard dusters. You know, where you just smacked the chalk dust on it. But you can still see the V-E showing through. V-J I remember better because I was visiting Shetland. Stopped there staying with cousins. And we knew it was coming. And when it was finally announced, the first thing I think people did…must have come in the evening because that’s what I remember about. People rushed to take their blackouts down and let the lights shine out. And it was wonderful. We went up to my cousin’s bedroom and she was up on the third floor and we could crawl out the window into a little balcony on the front of the house and we watched the lights coming out. And there were…this was Lerwick which is a harbor. And there were little craft going up and down the harbor, shooting off ferry lights and it was like fireworks and we’d never…couldn’t remember seeing anything like it ever before. That was just…that was a wonderful night. [laughs] Interviewer: [inaudible] celebration? Mainland: Yes. Oh, yes. I don’t remember parties. I suppose there must have been but that’s my memories of the end of the war, especially in Lerwick. Those ships running up and down and the lights coming on. Interviewer: And moving sort of backwards, do you remember when Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor or any event? Mainland: Not particularly. Interviewer: The United States at that point… Mainland: Oh, yes. Interviewer: [inaudible] Mainland: Oh, yes. Interviewer: [inaudible] Mainland: Well, not really. I mean I was what? Eight when that happened and it was just all part of “The War”. I wasn’t aware that America hadn’t been in before or that it was in now. Didn’t know where Pearl Harbor was. Didn’t particularly care at eight years old. Interviewer: Did you have a notion of politics or Allies? Mainland: No, not really. Interviewer: After V-E and V-J, do you remember the Scottish troops coming back home? Mainland: It wasn’t really noticeable. I didn’t have anybody who was in the war closer than a second cousin. Oh, no. A couple of second cousins. One was a surgeon in the navy and the other one was in the army. Oh, part of my war effort was writing to the one in the navy. I wrote letters to him regularly. And we got special…like the…you know the airmail letters that you get at the post office that you just fold up and stick? We had forces letters that were something like that. And that was what I wrote to this cousin just to [inaudible] my war effort. Interviewer: Did you get letters back? Mainland: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Interviewer: Do you remember any of them? Mainland: Then he came and stayed with us. I don’t remember any…I mean he…again, writing to a child. He wouldn’t put anything horrid. Interviewer: Am I right in seeing there’s also a letter written from your dad to his sister during World War Two? Mainland: Yes. Yes, there is. This is the letter that he wrote. It’s just an extract from it about the war, about not getting too much sleep and also about the night that the bombers came to drop their incendiaries and then the heavy stuff was supposed to go inside the ring of fire. Oh, he adds…I had forgotten about that. But the next morning, the burnt part that we could see, there was just a horde of people going down, going through it, looking for souvenir pieces of shrapnel and bits of bomb and whatever. We did not join in that. [laughs] He says, [reading] “It’s amazing what some people will do.” But it was a time of deprivation. Everything was rationed. Gasoline for instance. You just could not get…unless you were a doctor or needed it for essential work. Public transport did get it obviously, but there were no cars on the roads virtually. I walked to and from school. It wasn’t that far. Twice a day, because I came home for lunch. Food was rationed. Every food was rationed. I think, I have a picture that shows the exact amounts per person, per week. The only thing that I remember for sure was candy. Four ounces per person per week. And rationing did not finish in 1945. The first thing that was de-rationed was candy in 1950. And rationing was fully finished in 1954. We put everything we had into the war effort. Interviewer: So the transition from wartime to non-wartime took a period of years. Mainland: Oh, yes. Oh, it wasn’t instantaneous by any means. Clothes were rationed. You had coupons and it was so many coupons for a pair of socks, for a length of dress material. When I was thinking about coming to this, it occurred to me to wonder how the theaters managed with clothes. I don’t think they got special…they must have got special dispensation to buy material to make costumes. Another of the wartime phrases was “Make do and mend.” And you did. You mended your clothes until they wouldn’t hold stitches any more. I don’t know how my mother managed to keep interesting meals on the table because meat was rationed, for instance. I mean it was something like six ounces per person per week. But you didn’t get to choose. You went down to the butcher shop and you took what he happened to have in at that time or maybe he was having something else in the next day. And so she wouldn’t be able to plan ahead. She just had to decide on the way home what she was going to cook or how she was going to cook whatever she had. Much of our garden, which was quite large, was given over to growing vegetables. And we had fruit trees. We had apples and gooseberries and raspberries and black currants and rhubarb. And all through the war, my sister and I did not start drinking tea. My sister’s five years younger than I am. In the summertime we would have milk to drink, as far as I remember. In the winter, going out to school to give us something warm in our tummies, we had a glass of hot water with a spoonful of honey in it. One of my father’s cousins lived up in Aberdeenshire and kept bees. So at the beginning of every winter we would buy twenty pounds of honey from her. It came in a great big can. And that meant that my mother could save the sugar that we would otherwise have put in our tea and she used it for making jam and pies and so on. Interviewer: How about the psychological transition from wartime to after the war? Is this something that you noticed or people didn’t relax as quickly as you might guess they would? Mainland: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think it took a while. I don’t remember exactly. I guess I stopped being frightened when there stopped being air raids. Though I’ll tell you another thing that…everything went gray during the war. We didn’t bleach things any more. So newspaper was gray. The books that you bought had gray paper and very thin sort of flimsy feel to it. The packets that the cereal, breakfast cereal, came in were gray. We didn’t get Rice Krispies any more cause we don’t grow rice and Rice Krispies were my favorite. So that was a real hardship. This aunt that my father was writing to came to visit us in 1950 and I came back with her and spent a year in Atlanta. That’s what made me want to come back. That and “Gone with the Wind,” which I read seven times when I was in my teens. But…where was I going with that? Going across in the ship I had Rice Krispies for breakfast every morning. It was great. But we didn’t have corn flakes, cause we don’t grow corn very well. It’s only really fit for animal fodder, the corn that we grow. We grow a different kind of corn, which is a real grain. It’s not the maize that you think of as corn. And we had wheat flakes. It’s really not very appetizing. And the bread went gray because the flour wasn’t bleached. Interviewer: Do you remember this returning to normal after a period of time? Mainland: Not really. Nope. Seems strange. You’d think I would. I don’t remember it at this point. Interviewer: And then you moved to the United States and you have children? Mainland: Yes. Yes. I have two sons. One is living with me. I came partly as the result of the breakup of my marriage. My husband left and shortly afterwards my mother died. My father was already died [sic]. He had a cerebral hemorrhage at age fifty-five. I suddenly realized that there wasn’t anything to keep me in Britain anymore and it wasn’t really where I wanted to be. The early eighti

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