Homage to Nessie

Nessie child 001

I wanted to say something at Nessie, my mother in law’s funeral. Above is a beautiful sepia picture of her when she was about 4, I think. I had been visiting frequently for the last decade, from Texas to Scotland, watching her illness deteriorate and lurch from one crisis to another. Not only did I love her but I wanted everyone to know our relationship. To some it may have seemed as though we abandoned my husband’s parents to live in the USA. The Minister was concerned that I may not be able to finish my homage and had a printed copy ready to take over. I was nervous but only at the last paragraph did my voice begin to shake with emotion and anxiety. This is it.

Nessie was my mother in law for almost 34 years and I loved her. I first met her when I was 21 and she knew in that second I was going to marry her son Drew. I think she was looking for somebody sensible and assertive… She fully embraced my mum and me into their family and they became good friends going on racy vacations together. Her smile could light up a room and still did in her last days. We bonded over our love for her precious boy, Drew or Andy as I know him. She always told him that he was particularly special because as an adopted child, she and Dad chose him. I tried so hard to be a good daughter in law and always felt I failed a little until Nessie’s battle with Alzheimer’s began. Then the roles started to change I became the loving care giver that I had always wanted to be, albeit through regular long distance visits. Every taxi driver in East Kilbride knows me and as soon as get off the plane, a driver that I don’t recognize will say “how’s your mum?”

She was the backbone in the Duncan family, supporting her husband, son and new daughter. She was unfailingly generous to the myriad family members, especially those with problems. She was non-judgmental and open in her views of the world and people. She could be stubborn and assertive, too. It would have been so boring if she was perfect. Her primary school students adored her as did all her friends. I loved when she dished some gossip about the Rotarian club – she was so naughty at times. Bob was Rotarian President for a session and she made an excellent President’s wife throwing herself into social activities. She loved her mum and dad, her younger brother Andy and his family.

Not everyone knows that she was a gifted artist and had always wanted to go to art school. She used those skills in many ways from teaching to dressmaking and making fantastic Halloween costumes for Drew when he was young. When I was younger she loved to braid my long hair and made me clothes which I didn’t always appreciate. In her last few years I loved her the most – the staff at Abbey Lodge adored her and looked after her so well. Her death has left a huge hole in our hearts. May she rest in peace.

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VETERAN’S DAY 2015

This is Remembrance Day all over the world and I can’t write a better post than GP Cox so I have posted his. One little addition – I would like to thank the American and Canadian Red Cross for supplying such wonderful food packages to the Prisoner of War Camp that my Dad in law, Robert Duncan was imprisoned in (East Germany). These generous food packages fed everyone and was swapped for other necessities.

Pacific Paratrooper

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For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

A military parade with crowds of excited spectators along 5th Avenue, in celebration of Armistice day and peace in Europe following World War One, New York, 1918. (Photo by Paul Thompson/FPG/Getty Images) A military parade with crowds of excited spectators along 5th Avenue, in celebration of Armistice day and peace in Europe following World War One, New York, 1918. (Photo by Paul Thompson/FPG/Getty Images)

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth…

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The Forgotten War

korean entrance

My only memories of the Korean War are that it was immortalized in the series MASH. It seems ironic that we remember the series so well, especially the theme song, ‘Suicide is Painless’ much better than the actual war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M*A*S*H_(TV_series)

On our recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas we stumbled on a beautifully serene memorial to the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. It was a complicated political situation after WWII and North Korea was annexed by the Soviet Union and South Korea was surrendered to the Americans from the Japanese who had invaded Korea in 1910. We know, all too well, today that this has not been a perfect solution and North Korea remains an unstable and worrying nation. I don’t think democracy is right for every nation but totalitarian dictatorship is the opposite of what most people desire.

This memorial really opened my eyes to the reality of the Korean War – how unfair it is that we have forgotten both the military and the civilians who were killed. Our hearts break when we see two very old relatives who occasionally get the opportunity to see each other after more than 60 years of separation. I was astonished by how many disparate nations worked together under the UN banner to achieve peace in Korea and dearly wish that we could come to some consensus on what to do about Syria. The global lack of decisive action has led to President Putin assisting the reigning, if despised, Syrian government and indiscriminately bombing Syria (and also Iran, accidentally).

We worry relentlessly that we will be infiltrated by ISIS terrorists if we accept more desperate refugees when we have much more to fear from domestic terrorism. There are many sensible ways for us to determine if refugees are legitimate but we react so quickly to media panic. Are we really still asking if President Obama is Muslim – AND WHAT IF HE WAS? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a Muslim, Mormon, Catholic, Jewish or Atheist President. All they need to do is understand our constitution and abide by it.

I would never have visited this memorial if it were not for my friend GP Cox, fellow blogger ‘Pacific Paratrooper’ and I hope he enjoys it.
Click on this link to see the rest of the post. THE FORGOTTEN WAR