My mother left Scotland back in 1950 and emigrated to Canada. Both her parents were dead and she was an only child She had several cousins but they lived in different parts of the Britain and Scotland. She was teaching but because in Scottish schools teachers were required to strap children and my mother just couldn’t bring herself to do it, she was looking for other work. Unfortunately, now that the war had ended and men were reentering the workforce, whenever she applied for jobs, she was always up against several male candidates and they were the ones who got the jobs.
After listening to a talk one evening on Canada, the next day she went down to the travel agent’s and booked passage to Canada for the next week. She got a colleague to take over the last two weeks of her classes and didn’t even tell her employers she was planning on leaving.
The next week she boarded The Empress of Scotland for Canada. Some friends saw her off.
A few years ago I said “It must have been an emotional day for you, saying goodbye to everything you knew.”
She said “I never looked back”.
She kept in touch with her cousins and few remaining Tocher aunts, her mother’s sisters. Most of her father’s family had cut their connection with her parents towards the end of the war. The last of his sisters had cut her connection when my grandmother, by then very ill with cancer, said that she no longer had the energy to look after a niece who had been staying with her and my Mom (Grandfather had died at the end of the war).
She was very close with her mother’s family, though and remained in contact with her cousins over the years, until they all passed away. Her cousin Kenneth had divorced many years ago and his children stayed with their mother so we didn’t have contact with them. I never imagines that all these years later, through FaceBook, we would suddenly find each other!
Last week, my cousin Mags (Kenneth’s daughter) messaged me on FaceBook and this evening, her sister Sue friended me.
Mags sent me a photo of her grandfather, John Tocher. I’d never seen a photo of him before, so I was thrilled! John Tocher was the designer (apparently never credited but confirmed by Mags) of the Portobello Wave Pool, Edinburgh.
I think Uncle John looks like “James Bellamy” (played by Simon Williams) from “Upstairs, Downstairs”.
I was so pleased to have been contacted by Mags and Sue and look forward to getting to know them…