Monday, October 10, 2011

The final days of The Notebook

The following were originally two separate e-mails to friends/family but in the interest of closing this out, I posted them together; with some editing for clarity. I hope you enjoy reading them, and please leave a comment.

Starting at Jul 25th ...

Trips to Ayr, Gourock, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other places she has been. Usually to visit. But sometimes to shop.

On July 25th she tried to travel to Loch Lomond but missed the train by 10 min. So, headed to Gourock and "saw the fleet" including the HMS Illustrious (an aircraft carrier) that she described as "marvellous".

July 30 back to Dun Eideann for the day with Mary where they "had our first good cup of coffee in a restaurant." I must say that I prefer strong coffee and much of the coffee I've had in Scotland was rather on the weak side.

This day's entry also mentions meeting Peggy Bell at the Waverly Steps to go to ... with her for a few days. But I cannot determine the name of the place. It looks like reflall but it's not capitalized and google searches, map examination in the area of North Berwick, where she spent the next day, are not shedding any light on the destination.

Jul 31 spent the day at North Berwick

Aug 1 to Broxburn to shop with Peggy then boarded a bus for Davie's at 9:30

Aug 2 visit cousin Joe Robson in Ruchill. It appears
Ruchill is a community in Glaschu. Joe and his wife, Sophie, had a son named Jim who was serving in the RAF and stationed in Canada.

Aug 3 went with Archie and family to visit their Aunt Minnie in Rutherglen (I can "hear" in my mind the voice on the trains I took telling passengers the train made a stop at Rutherglen)

August 4th tried again for Loch Lomond but no busses; bank holiday !!!

Aug 5th .. FINALLY made it to Loch Lomond via train but missed the return train so had to take a bus. Saw lots of bomb damage at Clydebank (ship building area).

Aug 6th ,,, Glasgow again, another movie !!!

August 7 - Aug 13 were the last few days of Gram's trip. I felt a sense of sadness reading them, remembering how I felt when it was time to leave. The difference being that Gram seemed eager to return to "the dear old U.S.A." Except for Jacqueline, and The Ghillie (who I can hear slurping water from his bowl) there is nothing here so dear I feel a need to return. On the other hand, Gram was seeing a Scotland still very much effected by WW II.

Aug 7

Gram and Rhoda travelled to Largs .

Aug 8

Uptown with Ida, got "Mr Wileys" (?) birth certificate. Mary arrived from England.

Aug 9

Travelled to American Consulate, in Glasgow, with Mary, and Elsie, but it was closed. Went to Cook's Travel Agency to "see about Elsie's coming to America."

Aug 10

Went to church, with Davie, and heard a sermon by Rev Angus Gray from Inverary. I found the following when I googled for his name. It is excerpted from

*The Gaelic Place names of Glen Aray + Inverary:*

The Historical and Linguistic background

The death of Gaelic has meant that there is longer any need for a minister to preach in that language. In 1929, the Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland were united after nearly 90 years apart, and this meant great changes in the parish of Glen Aray and Inverary. The Gaelic charge had been vacant for some years by this time, and the 2 ministers who were in the town demitted their charge, and 1 minister took over the united charge. This was the Rev Angus Grey and under him, Gaelic services continued on a regular basis. He was translated to St James, Edinburgh in 1949. His successor was the Rev Donald MacKenzie, who has been the last Gaelic speaking minister of the parish to date. He was translated to the Barony Church, Auchterarder in 1966. He has been followed in the ministry by 3 ministers since then, the Rev David Kellas, the Rev Alexander Sommerville and most recently, by the Rev John MacQuilken.

Aug 11

"Flying trip" (quick?) to Glaschu, American Consulate, with Elsie. Was told there will be "no waiting for a British subject to get to America." Left Coatbridge at 05:45 from Sunnyside Station. Seeing her off were Archie, Betty, Ellen, Rhoda, Elsie, Minnie. Davy, Isa and Mary accompanied her to Dun Eideann (Edinburgh). Many friends from Cowdenbeath saw her off to London at 9:30PM.

Aug 12

Arrived London 06:45. Room was not ready so they (she was apparently travelling with someone but does not name the person. Was it Mary?) were made comfortable in the lobby until the room was ready. Then it was nap-time.

Following the name was Madame Toussad's Wax Museum ("it is wonderful"),
Regent's Park , Albert Memorial, and Kennsington Gardens. She wrote "there has been a lot of bomb damage in this part of London."

Aug 13 (her last day)

"Had a wonderful night's sleep on an innerspring mattress." Yes, she underlined the innerspring mattress !!!! Apparently that was quite a treat.

This was her last day. The flight "back to the dear old U.S.A." was to leave at midnight. She wrote that she had "an awful long wait but there is still lots to be seen. Have to fill in the time."

And with that sentence she ended The Notebook. There are other notes, such as addresses, etc. but no more narration. I have no doubt I will re-read her words over and over until it's effectively memorized.

She left the USA on Jun 17, 1947 and returned Aug 13. What I would not give to be able to spend that much time in Scotland.

Monday, October 3, 2011

More travel notes from the notebook kept by Gram

Between Jun 28th and Jul 24th, Gram travelled quite bit back and forth, visting and shopping and site seeing: Coatbridge, Ayr, Dunfermline (near Edinburgh), Edinburgh, Burntisland (near Edinburgh), Glasgow, Cowdenbeath (near Edinburgh). She seemed to rreeaallyy like movies and other events such as vaudeville. Or perhaps her hosts like them and dragged Gram to the shows?

Regardless, a few highlights, one of which required quite a bit of digging; thank God for google and a large map of Scotland.

Jul 1: two hours in a ration line with very little to show for the time.

Yikes, I have lots to show for less than half that time in a Hannaford.

Jul 3rd: Shopping in Glasgow. Did not buy. Not impressed by quality or price.

Jul 11: woke with a terrific headache but had her migraine pills.

I know what that's like. Sorry to read she suffered from that affliction.

Jul 12: she mentioned being "shocked to hear about the accident involving Linda Lockridge" but provides no further information.

This next entry required a bit of googling, poring over the map, and knowledge of The Gaelic.

Jul 15: "started out early to go for a sail to Tinabrouch on the Marchoness of Graham"

A google for Marchoness of Graham revealed many pages about a vessel called the Marchioness of Graham. Here is a link to a video of her being launched. Marchioness of Graham launch. If you google for the name you can read much more information including Clyde steamers. I have sent an email to the webmaster, asking him to confirm the next bit of information.

I could not find a reference to a place called Tinabrouch or any of my creative variations of Grams writing. So, I researched the area that the Marchioness covered, sat in front of our wall-mounted 3ft x 4ft map of Alba (Scotland) and began a sweep in ever widening circles around Ayr looking for something that might have been Tinabrouch. Only about 15 miles from An Tairbeart where J and I have stayed during our trips to Islay, I found a place called Tighnabruaich I believe Tinabrouch is Gram's Anglicized spelling of the Gaelic name. Perhaps she feared a descendant would never make any sense of Tighnabruaich? In any case, as I mentioned, I sent an email to the webmaster of the 'steamer site" asking if Gram could indeed have sailed from Ayr (or nearby) to Tighnabruaich.

Jul 19: train to Dun Eideann (Edinburgh)

She disembarked (minding the gap when alighting from the train) at Waverly Station. Been there, done that. Very cool. She shopped on High Street seeking a set o' the pipes. But the cost was too dear. She did purchase a sporran, glengarry and some books which she had shipped to Ellen (I assume Aunt Ellen?).

She even saw the Royal Family. Not that I am impressed but she certainly was. She also visited Princes Street Garden. I am not much on gardens but Princes Street Garden is stunning !!! I attached a picture that I took of the garden. Grass very green in May !!!

July 24: left Dun Eideann, headed back to Coatbridge.

Time for me to sign off. More to come.

Note: by the time I posted this to the blog, from my email, I received email from the webmaster (previously mentioned) who confirmed Gram could have taken the Marchioness to Tighnabruaich.