Myra’s Tea Towel Story

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Myra was my friend Jean’s sister.  They shared a home for the whole of Myra’s life; neither married but both had many, many friends and were close to other family members.

I didn’t know Myra as well as I do Jean, because she died in 2006, unexpectedly,  but I know a lot about her, from both Jean and the rest of her family.  Although born in Inverness, she moved as a young child to Aberdeen where she spent the rest of her life.  There are lots of stories about Myra: she was notorious for the speed of her walking, especially across the busy Union Street, we all wondered how she was never knocked down by a car; she was an amazing baker.  If she was a young woman today she would probably have opened a tea room and she loved having her photograph taken.  A camera out and she would be standing, with a ramrod straight back, smiling.

I was interested in the story of the Aberdeen Girl Guides Tea Towel.  When I asked Jean last year, she told me this story.

“This was Myra’s favourite tea towel; she always loved it.  Myra was a Girl Guide as a young girl; she loved being in the Guides, loved the camaraderie.  Myra didn’t have time to really be a child because our mother died very young, when Myra was 14.  She had to leave school immediately and take over the running of the house while Dad went to work.  After all, there were four of us.  Being a Guide was her only chance at childhood, Dad made sure she could always go to the meetings.

As soon as she was old enough she trained to be a Guide Leader.  She loved being a Guide Leader, being part of the Girl Guides.  She liked teaching the girls, nurturing them.  She knew what they could learn by being part of the Guides, feeling part of a team, making lifelong friends and having a lot of opportunities.  Myra loved going camping, being out in the countryside.  Myra was a Guide Leader for more than 36 years.  She got an award for her work with the Guides.

The Aberdeen Girl Guides made this tea towel to try and raise funds for guiding and they certainly did that.  When they produced this tea towel, Myra bought one for herself but also one for Betty and for me.  

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Think about all the Girl Guides there would be in Aberdeen and how every family bought at least one tea towel!

I like looking at this tea towel because there are all those sketches of Guides, drawn by Guides, like on a School Tea Towel but they don’t represent individuals by name.  The colour has faded over time but the blue and yellow were the guiding colours.

The Scottish Guiding Association owned a big chalet in Austria where Guides and Guide Leaders could go and stay on holiday.  We went several years.  I have a photo from there, at the time time when the tea towel was launched and our excitement at seeing what it was going to be like.

Myra would have loved the idea of being a Guest Tea Towel.  I am glad that you are looking after all our tea towels because if I had to use these tea towels every day I might feel sad at Myra not being around but it has been nice talking about her and knowing they are safe”. 

Thank you Jean for telling me the story of the Aberdeen Girl Guide Tea Towel.  A great story.  Jean is on the left of the photo below and Myra on the right.

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