The lucky penny

By Francis Healy

The hunters and the hunted (Issue II/2021)


“The wedding scramble was one of the highlights of being a wee boy in Glasgow. Where I lived was an old army barracks which had been converted into flats. It was enclosed so kids could run around on quiet streets. In a wedding scramble the bride and her father get into a car, leaving for church, and throw big handfuls of change out of the window. Someone yells “SCRRRAMBLE!” and the kids all chase the wedding car, picking up the coins so they can go off and buy sweets.

I’ve still got specific wedding scrambles that I can remember. Usually I hardly got a coin, maybe 2p, and all the bigger kids grabbed the money. But one time I remember actually getting 50p. It’s seared into my memory. I remember vividly how the wet cobble stones were and the exact angle of the 50 p as it lay glinting between the cobble stones and tiny bits of glass.

That was a big moment of childhood - a whole 50 p. Scrambles were a very popular but maybe died out a bit once communities started to fragment. Something makes me thing that it is like a really ancient thing. It’s wrapped up in the idea of throwing something for good luck, like coins down a well or the bride throwing her bouquet at a wedding.”

As told to Jess Smee

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