Seventy-seven years ago today, my Granny went into labor with her thirteenth child and a day later, a baby boy was born in the bed my Grandparents shared, on the ground floor of a tenement building in Glasgow.
When my Father was a toddler, his sixteen-year-old sister succumbed to Tuberculosis. Two years later, another beloved teen daughter was lost to the same disease. I can’t imagine the intense grief my Grandparents felt, all while raising the curious wee boy with the big green eyes and dark curls that would eventually catch my Mother’s eye.
A third set of twins were born (only one survived) and the McGarr’s spent the majority of their childhood in the cramped tenement flat, surrounded by families like them, who defined the meaning of struggle in post war Glasgow.
Sadly, I don’t know the names of my five Aunts/Uncles who died during childbirth or infancy, but I got to know Betty and Dorothy from black and white pictures my Granda displayed on the old sideboard in the modern flat he moved into, long after Granny’s heart gave up, at the age of 61.
In difficult times, I’m reminded of the strength and fortitude my Father inherited from his parents and instilled in me, his only child. And for that, and a multitude of other reasons, I’m thankful to my Granny, for giving birth to the man I called Dad.
Wishing you all good health and cheer as we approach the end of this incredibly strange year. Thank you for the amazing support on the publication of Tales from a Wee Scottish Village. I’m hard at work on my next book and look forward to sharing it with you soon but for now, let’s enjoy the festivities as much as we can.
Very happy to announce my collection of short stories, based in and around the village in Scotland, where my parents lived, is available for sale. With a cast of local characters, and shenanigans galore, it’s the perfect trip to Scotland, without leaving home!
Aside from the fact we’re ten and a half thousand miles from home and nine hours ahead of GMT, life in the land down under instills a sense of being on the other side of the world.
One of my favourite things about coming here is spotting the Sydney Opera House on approach, as I take the jump seat and buckle the safety harness. According to one of the passengers, it was opened in 1973 by the Queen to much fanfare, which, given it took 14 years to build, is understandable!
Another thing I love about landing in Sydney is the palpable sense of excitement that sweeps through the cabin. Many of the passengers are coming to reunite with long lost family or in some cases, unite with family they’ve never met, which probably explains the reason I’ve witnessed more tears and hugs in that terminal than anywhere else in the world.
Today, I got to see the Opera House from another vantage point; the water. Sailing past the stark white million plus roof tiles, with the sun glinting, I forgot how jetlagged I am.