|Uncle Alistair, Papa, Nana, Aunt Jean, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Bruce and My Mom|
It think this must have been taken shortly after they came to Canad
My mother came to Canada on a huge boat when she was 4 years old. My Papa had come over 6 months earlier with my Aunt Jean (she was 16). He was laying the ground work for them, finding work, finding them a home. Remember these were the days before Skype, before computer or internet, a time when it nearly cost a weeks pay to make a transatlantic phone call. Nana left the only home she had ever known to sail across a huge ocean to the great unknown. She left Scotland to make a new life, what she hoped was for a better life. My Mom was only 4, Uncle Bruce would have been 9 or 10, Uncle Johnny 11 or 12, and Uncle Alistair 14 or 15. Perhaps Uncle Alistair was old enough to be a help to Nana, I'm not sure. Nana would have been younger than me when she came ( I always put things into what it would be like for me). I try to think about what was going on in her head as she watched her country, her Mother and Father, her brothers and sisters fade like a dream. I try to imagine myself making that HUGE trip with my four kids all alone, without Christopher's help. When I think about it, my Nana who has always been my hero, becomes even more of a hero.
I come from a long line of people who have achieved old age. Meaning that if I change my junk food ways I might live long enough to see great- grandkids. My Nana lived to 82 years. Her father, my great-grandfather was nearly 100, or so the story goes. This May, my Great- Aunt Ella will turn 100. Aunt Ella is my Nana's younger sister. From the time I could remember family stories I have been told of my Aunt Ella's great beauty. When I say great beauty, I don't just mean physical, I mean her inner beauty. When my Mom talks of Aunt Ella she always gets a little peaceful smile on her face (I'm not sure if she knows this). I met her once, my Aunt Ella, when I was 3. I remember it in memory snap shots. I do not have a running movie memory. I remember that she was nice, but I was 3.
The beauty of the age we live in is technology. Technology has allowed us to be in touch with people around the world with minimal effort and maximum joy. Simply by turning on my computer I am able to be in touch with my relatives across the ocean. Across that ocean which took my Nana and Mother away from all of them. Thank you Facebook! Because of Facebook I know have the privilege of knowing my cousins in Scotland. I even get to Skype my cousin Patricia (who is really nice and has a bit of a look of my Nana). It is because of this technology and newly found family that Mom received an email from her cousin David. Would we like to send a greeting for Aunt Ella's birthday party? It's not every day someone turns 100, of coarse we would.
It seemed like such a lovely and simple idea. "Mom, we could send her a video greeting!" It would just take a few minutes, famous last words. Mom and Dad came over and we cleaned the area that would be caught on film (no one is going to accuse me of being a clean freak). We placed everyone, set the video camera on the tripod. We sat, ready to go. Mom wanted the kids to say "Happy Birthday from Canada", and then we would all sing Happy Birthday to Aunt Ella. So sweet, so simple. The camera was rolling, everything was ready... until I happened to glance at my husband. There he sat, dead panning the camera, poker straight, perfectly still. He just sat there unmoving, like it was a photo we were taking. Not just that, for some reason that is so completely unknown to me in every single picture that I have of him, he feels the need to stick out his lower jaw in all of his pictures (not unlike Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys). I took one look at him, and that was it, I was in hysterics. Unfortunately after I have given in to one batch of hysterics, I'm a lost cause. Every single time we tried again, I would peel into laughter. I would stop, go rinse my face, get myself together. "Are we ready now?" Christopher would ask me in a slightly irritated tone. "Oh I'm ready" I would tell him. I was ready, I swear I was ready, and then I would go into hysterics again. As I went into hysterics, my mother was helpless not to follow. Mom and I spent most of our "face time" in peels of laughter.
It took an hour to get salvageable footage. Sadly the only footage we could use was not excellent, but merely passable. It was near the end of the hour. At that point my eyes were all puffy, my nose was a nice shade of purple. Our family in Scotland will be worried about poor wee Katrina's daughter and her drinking problem ( you know because of the puffy eyes and purple nose). We have edited to the best of our abilities (that's not saying a lot). It's ready to go to Scotland. If nothing else, it provided me with the most laughter I have had in months.
Happy Birthday Aunt Ella!
The above video was not sent to Scotland, it is a blooper real.