How Life Turns out

Back in the day

It was 1978,I was living in Redcar in Cleveland. I was 17 years old and staying in a B&B with my pal Maggie. We had decided to leave Shettleston for work and just a break really and ended up in a small seaside town in North Yorkshire. Both of us were missing our family and desperately skint.

My mum had got a new boyfriend called Peter (he was just out of prison) and he was displaying some very peculiar violent behaviour and was extremely passive/aggressive towards me, he scared me. So I left Glasgow.

Redcar was some where my family had visited in the early 70s and I thought it would be somewhere I could be happy. My wee pal Maggie just went along with whatever I decided.

We used to walk up and down the seaside watching families sit on the beach and we ached for our own people. We were lonely, mostly starving and missing home. We couldn't get a job and the B&B we lived in wasn't cheap, social benefits meant we were left with £5 a week each to feed us every day, buy clothes, pay for laundry to get our clothes clean. The laundry was £1.75 in itself. But we tried to get work and we decided to stick it out for a few months.

So most days were spent scoffing the breakfast that came with the room and then eating cheap biscuits/yoghurt and drinking water till the next morning.

The only hot food we got every day was the breakfast and at tea time the land lady’s husband would give us a big pot of tea and a pack of biscuits. We used to hide them in our room for later eating.

One day my dad sent me a £10 postal order and I cashed it immediately.

Me and Maggie ran to the seaside cafe that we had often walked past and fantasised about eating in.

We got two big rolls on sausage and mugs of tea and sat at the yellow Formica table. We felt like proper people, paying for food and sitting in the good seats.

There was a little flip through juke box at the table and because I was flush I played my favourite tune that month.

It was Dean Friedman singing Lucky Stars. I was lost in the music. I knew all the words, I drunk the mug of tea and chomped on the roll in blissful happiness enjoying the moment. I loved Dean Friedman’s music.

Imagine being in New York and hearing him live? Imagine travelling to America?

If only I knew that 30 years later that I would be a comedian and Dean would come and see me, we would be buddies, his daughter and my daughter would end up being comedians/actors writers and hanging out in LA together?

If you had told wee Janey that as she sat in that beach side cafe looking out to the Redcar seafront wondering where she is going and how she will eat tomorrow….she would have LAUGHED IN YOUR FACE.

Life has unexpected turns.

I eventually came home from Redcar late 1978 and met a boy, got married in 1980 with Maggie as my bridesmaid.

In 1982 mum’s boyfriend murdered her and to lose a mum at 21 years old was the worst thing possible.

Life goes on.

me and Maggie at my wedding in Glasgow 1980