The Notebook

Some time ago, after my January 2011 entry, I was given a treasure I did not know existed. A journal kept by maternal grandmother, Susan Robson Bryden, when she returned to Scotland (via England) to visit between June 17, 1947 and August 13, 1947.

She had been away for more than 20 years. World War II had come and gone, but some of the places she saw still showed the signs of German bombing, and Scotland was still rationing food and clothing. According to page 176 of Scottish Customs: from the Cradle to the Grave, rationing was strictly enforced into the 1950s.

Grandma Bryden left Scotland a young woman. When she returned to visit she had 7children including my mother, the youngest. Mom turned 6 years old 3 days into my Gran’s visit; Grandma Bryden even wrote “Happy Birthday Honey” in the journal.

As I pored over the journal, trying to read her writing which is now more than 60 years old, some of the ink faded, I marvelled at the number of places she visited, or mentioned, that I have seen. I felt a sense of sadness at the places she visited that I had wanted to visit during my visits but for various reasons were never reached. Perhaps/definately next time.

It took me some time to read all of the journal, because some sentences needed re-reading, and more than once I “googled” for information about some of the places she visited. I even used what little of the Gaelic I possess in order to find a place she mentioned but she wrote its name in a sort of English.

Over the weeks I read the journal I sent my thoughts, via email, to relatives and friends who I thought might want to follow along. I have been encouraged to copy/paste my emails to this blog so that others can also read what I had to say. Therefore, the next few entries will be devoted to The Notebook. Then I’ll share another treasure, that I did know existed, I received from Scotland.

Until then, may the best you’ve ever seen be the worst you’ll ever know.

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