George talks about the various jobs he had in Glasgow.
Read the transcript:
INT: So did anyone give you support? Did anyone help you to settle into Scotland?
G.T: No, not really.
INT: Anyone in the Jewish community?
G.T: No. I did my own thing.
G.T: When I started work my boss introduced me to this guy about six feet odds and a couple of years older than me. He said, “This is big Alec and he stays in the next street to you, Warwick Street.
You can go home with him. He’ll introduce you to the workers and take you round the factory.” There were three women there, a young girl and two other ladies who did all the French polishing of the furniture. He told me about saying hello and how do you do? I was still used to clicking my heels and bowing. I copied him. They were all laughing and smiling. I said, “That’s a nice crowd”; I wouldn’t like to tell you what he told me to tell them, a swear word.
INT: So did you continue working with that firm or did you do something else later?
G.T: I was with them for quite a while and I was earning seven shillings a week for forty-eight hours. If you worked on a Saturday morning you got an extra six pence.
So religion sort of fell away a bit, well, it fell away a lot but my mother was very religious so I had to go to Shul even just to keep in contact. Sometimes my mother was the only lady upstairs in the Shul. We used to fast all day long on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. A friend who had come over from Germany said he was driving a truck and was getting three pounds a week. I thought that’s for me, so I went into lorry driving you.
INT: Were you able to drive before you came here?
INT: Did you learn to drive?
G.T: No. During the war you did not sit a test because there was petrol rationing and you just went and got a driving licence –that was you. Well I was about fifteen at the time when I started working in the factory, my first job. They had a little trailer where they used to put wardrobes and tables. I went out with the driver (who was only eighteen, I was fourteen) and we carried a wardrobe or something upstairs. You were getting three pence. That was excellent because a shilling a day did me. Out of the seven shillings my mother got six, I got one shilling. I went to the pictures twice a week – three pence each time, you know? Upstairs in the Palace in the Gorbals.
You went upstairs; downstairs was four pence, upstairs was three pence but you were better upstairs because if you were sitting downstairs people were finished smoking your cigarettes they just flicked them over!
INT: So, so after the war did you eventually change jobs?
INT: What did you do?
G.T I went to the army recruitment office with some of the friends from the Maccabi but I was too young.
G.T: Well I worked for Fred Wiseman for eleven years.
G.T: That’s us. It’s a couple of years since I saw Fred, he’s not well at all now
G.T: As I was saying, they wouldn’t have me in the army so I went to Govan to the Navy and passed my medical. I’ve still got my medical card and I’m still waiting on them to call me up! But I was working with Fred actually. He had his own business by then but I was always interested in becoming a motor mechanic. I was fascinated.
G.T: I could drive but didn’t know a thing. As I was saying, when I was out with that guy delivering, I watched him and he gave me a shot up and down Abbotsford Place!
G.T: So I went to Jesner’s garage in Tantallon Road. Two brothers owned it. I was about sixteen or seventeen and asked for a job as an apprentice. He said ok but you had to get permission from the Labour Exchange. So when that was solved he said, “You can have the job if a Scottish boy doesn’t get it.”
G.T: If a Scottish boy applied for the job, he would get it. Understandable really. Never heard from them. Nobody ever got a job. So I was working in Fred’s and it was lunchtime and two of the guys who were working beside me said, “We joined the Royal Engineers in Argyle Street.” By that time I was in my thirties, you know. They said they’re looking for mechanics. So I went up to Berkeley Street. It was a funny thing. Working in the bedding place was dirty. Not now I suppose, it’ll be all machinery but it was hand-stitched and hand-made.