Here I was shown the power of water. Uncle Bob opened a sluice gate and the rushing stream of water passed over a water wheel which in turn drove a mill that ground the grain for the live stock. Here I had thought they were not as mechanized as we in Canada were. Well I had to take my hat off to the ingenuity that these good folk had, and likely they were doing these great things for centuries.
What a day it was meeting all my kith and kin, and what kind folk they were. Aunt Barbara, a gem seemed shy, Uncle Bob, outgoing and anxious to show me their farm. Next stop was Upper Craigmaud. This was the farm that my Mum had lived on for a few years before going to work in Glasgow. Also this was in the parlor at Upper Craigmaud that on 17th December 1917 my Mum and Dad were married. Where my Uncle Alec and Aunt Annie lived with their children Margaret , Sandy, and Elspeth.[ I had met Sandy and Elspeth as they had come to Old Manse for a piece, as it was called after school on their way home] . A piece was Aunt Mary handing them both a scone and jam or some other treat to keep them from being too hungry before they walked the couple of miles to Upper Craigmaud [home]. I remember clearly my first meeting with Sandy and Elspeth. Sandy, a thin tall boy of eleven, and Elspeth trying to hide behind him. My Aunt Mary came to the door and said to Sandy and Elspeth, "This is your cousin Gordon from Canada". They were shy and what a great head of hair Elspeth had, and freckles. That great little girl passed away a few years ago but I treasure her memory.
Uncle Alec and Aunt Annie made me welcome and throughout the day we seemed to be eating continually. Good soups, a hen as they called it, scones, oat cakes, plum pudding. Yes the farms still fed well regardless of the severe rationing elsewhere in Britain. What a day! My last outing with Grandma. This was some time in December 1941.
Grandma broke her hip in late December and passed away and was buried in the Cemetery at New Pitsligo. A violent blizzard had closed rail and roads and a sled was used to pull the coffin up the hill to the grave site. The date was 8th January 1942. I did not apply for a pass to travel north for the service.
I was to have many more trips to Scotland in the next two years, but I suppose non so memorable as meeting all my blood relatives for the first time. Also on this trip I met my Aunt Jean, Dad's sister. I will write more of this wonderful kind lady later. Aunt Jean lived at 69 Low St , New Pitsligo. She pointed out a small cottage across the street. This cottage thatched roof was gone and standing empty but there was the spot that my Dad was born 11th July 188. A thrill and chill went through me. History at my arms length. What a moment in my life at now 20. I found myself walking where Mum and Dad were born and raised and I now was walking where they had trod. Indescribable!
Now, over sixty years later where did they all go, the years and the good folk??