Mongrel or Why Did I Go To Scotland?

June 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm (Life, Recreation) (, , , , , )

I am a mongrel. Whether it’s a Scottish mongrel or a Polish or a blend, I can’t say. My father’s father was Scottish and I’m not sure what his mother was. Both of my mother’s parents were Polish but I’m sure there was also German somewhere along the line and even perhaps Prussian. It’s not as if my ancestors bred along Country/Nationality lines. They all came from countries that were being invaded and were invaders themselves. Historically, none of us are pure.

My cousins, my father’s younger brother’s sons, are the clansmen – in dress, demeanor, attitude. They know where they come from and to whom they belong. They buy the Scottish heritage line – they look good in Kilts with their pale skin and ginger hair.

I am just a poor relative: a cobbler’s daughter. Historically, I could imagine myself working in the castle kitchens or as a spinster nanny taking care of the Laird’s children. I have always identified more with the Polish peasant family line than as a Scottish Clans-person.

I went to Scotland to seek myself out; to see where part of me came from. I discovered that I like the old architecture, the houses built primarily of stone and brick, and the old, old cemeteries. But this does not make me distinctly Scottish.

I went to Scotland because I miss my Grandfather, my father’s father. He always included us. He was so proud of all his grandchildren, even us mongrels. During the last part of his life, he died before he was seventy; he went back to Scotland at least twice. He always said that his plan was take all his grandchildren back there (there are around twenty of us) but he only had the chance to take one back; my cousin, the eldest clansman.

The eldest clansman, who was my Grandmother’s favorite; it was his father who got the land when my Grandfather died. There are parts of me that think that even if my grandfather had lived, he never would’ve taken any of us back to Scotland with him except my Grandmother’s favorites.

This thought makes me feel petty. I don’t want to feel petty. I want to remember my Grandfather as a loving, kind, generous man who would have kept his promises.

My grandfather was a man who, though he never got a chance to tell me his stories, always remembered to bring everyone a trinket when he traveled. I miss him and perhaps I chose to go to Scotland as a way to remember and honour my father’s father and the pride he had in his heritage.


  1. Mongrel or Why Did I Go To Scotland? « Solitary Spinster | Stirling Castle said,

    […] here: Mongrel or Why Did I Go To Scotland? « Solitary Spinster Items That May Be Of Interest: Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Television SeriesStudio: […]

  2. Kryssy [shellypolly] said,

    Your Grandfather sounds like he was a WONDERFUL man, in that he LOVED and CARED for all 20 of his grandkids. HUGS. I know it’s hard my Grandmother (on my mother’s side) passed away 8 years ago and I still MISS her really BAD.

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