What is a homecoming story?
This is the story of George Mackay, a Scottish native, who emigrated to Canada years ago. He commissioned us to research his family history and conduct a Homecoming Ceremony for him and his family to celebrate his Scottish ancestry. Here is the homecoming story provided to him and his family.
The story of George Mackay – Part 1
George McKay was born in Glasgow on the first May 1930 to parents George and Maggie. He spent his early years living with his parents and sister Margaret in Clifford Street, Kinning Park in Glasgow. We were there earlier today and the old tenement is still there, looking much the same as it did in the 30’s, although everything else around is unrecognisable.
As a boy, George attended the Scotland Street School nearby. Scotland Street School is now a museum and I know that today, George had great fun showing the family the tiered seating, shared desks, slates and inkwells. One of the classrooms was the actual room that George attended and it brought a shiver to his spine when he recalled Mr McMinn classes – a terrifying teacher who was too fond of the belt. George left school at 14 years old, which was typical of the time. It was just before the second world war started and times were tough.
He was not academically minded, he was a practical boy and was more interested in getting out into the world to work. And that is exactly what he did. His dad worked at the Co-op, in a warehouse in Govan in Glasgow, so it was easy step for him to get a start there, which he did. His first job was as a delivery driver around Glasgow for the Co-op.
His early years in Glasgow were happy times. He was part of a close knit community and was spoiled by his Aunties – Auntie Annie, Auntie Grace and great-auntie Biddy. They are all sadly gone now, but fondly remembered. George was the best knitted for laddie in the whole of Kinning Park.
For their holiday, the family would go camping. It was a great excitement and they always had lots of fun. George loved the outdoors and in those early days he was always up to something. I’m not sure anything has really changed, even now in his 80’s he’s still got a few tricks up his sleeve !
The distractions were not just outside, one day he decided to see what would happen if he swung off the ceiling light in the living room. You can imagine the scene – he jumped up and grabbed the light flex and was happily swinging back and forth until he brought the ceiling down. His poor mother!
His love of cakes and sweets probably started then as his mum used to bribe him with cakes if he agreed to behave. Even now, there is likely to be a good stash of tablet, one of his favorites, somewhere in the house. And I am sure the suitcase will be packed full of fudge and tablet on the way home.
After a few years in the Co-op, and having developed his driving skills to become one of the first articulated lorry drivers in the country, his sense of adventure got the better of him.
So this tells George’s story up to the point before he made his move overseas and landed on Canadian soil.
Look out for our next instalment of George’s story in our next blog post!