Childhood Memories to Last a Lifetime
During the summer of my fourth and fifth grade school year, my
family decided to take a three week trip to Scotland.
My grampa is originally from Scotland. He was born in his house
called "The Cross" in the village of Earlsferry,
which is where the Firth of Forth meets the North Sea.
Earlsferry is in the County of Fife.
My Grampa lived in Scotland until he was 28 at which time he was
invited by an American visitor to Scotland to come and live in the United
States of America.
My grampa felt it was important that I should know about my
heritage and where he was born and where my roots are. The best way
to show me this was by having me come to his village in Scotland and
visit many of the places where he went during his childhood.
One of the places that we visited was the Old Presbyterian Church
at St. Monans, which is the second
oldest church in Scotland. The church is built right on the edge of
the sea where waves in the wintertime crash against its sea wall.
All of my ancestors for many hundreds of years were born in St.
Monans, and were fishers of the North Sea. We
walked the entire churchyard where the graves of the local people
are and found many of my Reekie
forebears on the headstones. Some of the stones were so old and
weather worn that the names could just barely be read.
While we stayed at Earlsferry we walked
many miles visiting my Grampa's old haunts. Some of these were the
Elie Lady's Tower, the
Elie Lighthouse, the harbor where he
kept his boat when he lived there, and the ruin of the ancient
chapel that was built on the edge of sea. The marking on a gable of
the chapel has the date 1093 carved into the stonework.
Nearby is an area of cliffs. By means of chains as handholds we
traversed the length of the cliffs. On the way we came to several
caves the first of which is called Macduff's
Cave (this is the reason we chose to name our dog
Macduff). It was here that
Macduff the Earl of Fife hid while he
was being pursued by MacBeth. To make
his escape local villagers of Earlsferry
rowed him in a small boat to the south
side of the Firth of Forth, hence the name of the village
Another place we visited was Ruby Bay. When my mom was a teenager
she went to school in England for a year. While in England, during
a vacation period, she went to Earlsferry.
One of her favorite places was Ruby Bay, near the Lady's Tower where
she spent many hours collecting Rubies. She has a gold ring that is
set with rubies found here that she treasures greatly.
While staying in Earlsferry we also
visited all of the east coast fishing villages, and the famous town
of St. Andrews, which is recognized as being the place where the
game of golf was originally started. Also in St. Andrews we visited
the ruins of the cathedral and the castle that has a bottle
dungeon. It was there that people who were out of favor were
lowered down to the bottom of the dungeon where they died a slow death.
All in all my visit to Scotland was a
great experience. It helped me to understand my forbears and my
grampa is now an octogenarian. Just this year
he started a personal web site in which he shares his childhood
memories. His website is called
Scottish Heritage. While visiting there, look at his
Note: Hillary was 14 years old and a sophomore in high school when
she wrote this in April 2006 as part of a school autobiography
project. See Hillary now.