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was an old tramp who stayed here often, whom we nicknamed Whitey, as all you could see were the whites of his eyes. His face was always encrusted with coal dust; indeed he would tell us that the authorities had taken him against his will and given him a bath and a change of clothes. Whitey's pride and joy was an old moped which did not work. He used to push it everywhere he went, with a few meagre belongings strapped on to the back with an old rope. He was often to be found in the area of the brickworks or Managers Brae which led to a part of the woods we called The Tramps' Tunnel, as there were always signs that tramps had been here, such as old newspapers, blankets, a mattress, odd garments of clothing and billycans. Whitey was often the subject of our tales, of how he had grabbed one of us to kidnap us and put us in a sack to be taken away and never seen or heard of again. This resulted sometimes in a crowd of us going to seek him out and call names at him then run for our lives as he gave chase.
The Co-operative bakery backs on to the beach and some days stale cakes and pastries were thrown out on to the beach, presumably for the seagulls, but if we were there at the time playing shops on the rocks we would run up and scoop the cakes up before the seagulls got a chance to peck at them, and used them to sell to our customers, sometimes taking a wee taste to ourselves if the temptation was too much.
Once a year we would go on the Legion trip. It took place on a Saturday morning and you could only go if your father was a member of Prestonpans Royal British Legion, which is still situated in Rope Walk near the Pennypit. Anyway, my dad was a member, so we could go, and I always remember my mum always bought my brother and me a new hat for this trip. We would receive two shillings each to go to Wallie Wilson's drapery shop which is now Tommy Morgan's sports shop at the foot of Policeman's Brae, to choose a new hat each. One year I remember I chose a green wool one and my brother chose a leather type pilot's hat with ear flaps and we went quite happily on to the bus with our hats on, waving to our mother as the bus departed for the trip. But as soon as the bus was out of sight we would pull the hats off and stuff them down the seats. It was a strange ritual that my mother insisted on every year, 1 can only think she thought we would look well-dressed to the outsiders to whom we waved during our journey.
I have lots of fond memories of my childhood in Prestonpans and I have mentioned but a few of the shops, and familiar landmarks in Prestonpans where I as a child enjoyed many of my adventures. Even I have seen a lot of changes for the better in Prestonpans, and I am not yet an old age pensioner but twenty nine years old with a family of my own
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