Arthur’s memories of Brechin yesteryear

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One woman’s recent memories of Abbie’s sweet treats has brought back some very found memories for another reader of the Brechiner.

Arthur Mollison, formally of 22 Southesk Terrace, but who now loves in St Helens, wrote to the Brechiner detailing his friendship with Abbie and Sandy Vettesse, an Italian family who owned Abbie’s sweet shop.

Arthur, now in his 95th year, said: “In the past I had a long association with the Vettesse family.

“I knew them all. One could say I was brought up with them. Sadly most of them have gone and are no longer with us.

“Googie” played the drums and for the company. He used to take me to the Marine Ballroom in Arbroath. We were buddies then.

“Abbie was, along with Sandy, the younger element in the family and still kept the business going in Montrose Street.

“Mary the eldest girl was the leader of the pack, post war, as most of the brothers had set out on their own.

“Abbie became a buddy of mine through my association with Googie and we used to go to the cinema together, always in the gallery (he was no cheapskate Abbie).

“In a conversation we had in the cinema he divulged that he and Sandy were thinking of different premises.

“Their ambition was to move in the Trinity region as there were plans for Brechin in the future as they had started with prefabs in Cookston Crescent, of which I was a tenant.

“The penny clicked and I said to him “Mrs Moyes was thinking of giving up the shop.” Due to me being a good friend of Mrs Moyes, Abbie asked me to tell her that both brothers were keen to do a deal with her.

“Now that deal did not go through at once but Mrs Moyes agreed to see the brothers and have talks with them. I felt so proud that I had brought the two parties together to make a deal.

“Abbie never forgot me or my kids - he would always be treating them. He would say to them Arthur was my good friend. Sandy was not as friendly as Abbie.

“Since then I have always thought well of Italians. I found them with a love of life and very friendly people. I will never forget Abbie Vettesse.”

Over the years Arthur has seen a number of Brechin’s landmarks change such as Andover School and Maisondieu Church.

“My Brechin as I knew it has gone,” continued Arthur.

Brechin could have turned out differently if Wullie Young the barber had his way. Arthur explained that Wullie had tried to get Brechin to be built with quarry stone rather than brick. However, he was outvoted.

“Wullie was captain of the cricket Wednesday team, pre-war, of which I was a member,” reminisced Arthur.

“Davie Stewart was also a member and he was the spin bowler for Forfarshire.

“He was that good I think he had a cap for Scotland.

“Balmy days those, but alas all gone. However, my memories can’t be taken away from Brechin City.”