My Father,Tom Reekie, and Jill
The Reaper at the town of
generations of my Reekie forbears lived in the seaside
fishing village of St. Monans, four miles from where I was
born in Earlsferry.
the St. Monans Auld Kirk Graveyard are markers that tell
the Reekie story. Some of the stones are so old and
weathered and the wording so eroded as to be almost
unreadable. From what I have found out, the males of the
Reekie Clan were North Sea fishermen. Having seen the type
of large wooden boats that they went out in, it's miraculous
that they survived. The hardship of this lifestyle can not
be comprehended today. Imagine being out of sight of land,
in a boat with only sail for power, battling
mountainous waves in gale force winds, virtually no deck
protection, never any warm food, navigating for days with
only a simple compass and a few glimpses of the position of
the stars. This was their lot. My father's brother who
was a North Sea fisherman was named Robert. However because of
Robert's ability to navigate and to find his way home by the position of the stars
his friends all called him Star Robe.
father, Tom Reekie, who was born in 1880, was the first of
the Reekies to
break the chain of spending his life on the North Sea. One day when
Tom was a boy he went swimming
in the sea from the rocks in front of Newark Castle. A large
vessel came by. Its wake caused waves that repeatedly
dashed him against the barnacle covered rocks. When he did manage to get out
of the water he was bleeding from all over his body. His
fright, his hurt, and his pain were so great that he knew he
could never follow in his fisherman father's footsteps.
1895, at age 15, Tom apprenticed himself as a golf club maker
with George Forrester of Earlsferry. He completed his
apprenticeship in 1900 and continued to work for George
Forrester until 1914.
1914 Tom was called up to serve in the Army in what was to
become World War I. It was not until 1918, the end of the
war, that he was returned to St. Monans. Tom was reluctant
to talk of his war endurance. He was a foot soldier in the
trenches in France. He did say that several times the
entire regiment was forced to charge out of the trenches
straight into the machine gun fire of the enemy and that
when the smoke and the gunfire finally cleared and subsided
he was standing alive with only one or two others. All
around were either dead or dying.
returning from the war Tom went back to work for George
Forrester in Earlsferry.
this time both Tom Reekie and his betrothed Katie lived in
St. Monans. Tom's place of employment was in Earlsferry and
Katie's was in Elie. Each morning they walked or ran along
the shoreline between St. Monans and Elie from their homes
to their places of work and together they walked home again.
Occasionally Tom and Katie side tracked to Ruby Bay near the
lighthouse where they collected rubies that they had made into their engagement ring and in later years others
into an anniversary broach.
1919 Tom Reekie who was born in 1880 and Katie who was born in 1898 were married. Tom was 38 and Katie was 20.