One hundred years ago today my good mother was born into this world.
One-hundred-year-old citizens of the United Kingdom receive acknowledgement and a greeting from the Queen of Great Britain on their 100th birthday. My mother never lived to see this but her family and descendants can remember this centenary as surely as others will commemorate the centenary of less worthy individuals.
Mum was born on Friday, 25/8/1922, in No 6. croft, Kyles, Scalpay, Harris, the youngest of six siblings. Her own mother was born on the same date 41 years earlier in 1881. Mum was known to her friends as Chris or Chrissie, short for Christina on her birth certificate. In the Gaelic, her first language, it was Ciorstaidh Magaidh, named after two godly women, her paternal grandmother Christy McKillop and her father’s unmarried sister Peggy MacLeod.
On her 21st birthday the Allies were bombing Germany in the Second World War and their land forces were on Sicilly making their way northward through Italy. Her four elder brothers were engaged in their respective roles contributing to the defensive-war effort. Meanwhile she had just completed three years of training and qualified on 31/7/1943 as a Fever Nurse in Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow, before moving to Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow in September 1943 for three years of General Nursing training.
One year later, she celebrated her 22nd birthday along with the liberation of Paris on 25/8/1944.
Nine months later she was up a lamppost in George’s Square, Glasgow, celebrating Victory in Europe (VE) Day at the end of World War II. She might even be in this clipping or this picture. Even if she was not in these pictures, at least she was there.
A decade later, after marrying my father on 5/1/1951, she produced her second son on 22/2/1955, yours truly, named after her father Donald MacLeod. Andrew had been born three years earlier who died four years ago this month. Two younger sisters were to follow, knocking the corners off their elder brother.
There is so much to record about the first love in my life. A simple blogpost cannot do her justice but it can act as an honourable memorial.
I look forward to meeting her in heaven. Will I meet you in heaven?
18 Oct 2022: the BBC is 100 years old today, making it the world’s longest-running national broadcasting organisation.