Any of our family suffering from this dreadful plague?
For the past several years, I have waited expectantly for the first card of the season.
This year I was wondering if an annual event would not be repeated.
But true to form, JOHN HARPER-NELSON, the oldest living member of our family, came through once more, bless him, with the brief message, ‘still alive.’
If you would like his address, let me know.
MY RECORDS SHOW TWO FAMILY MEMBERS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS MAJOR EVENT IN 1944 AND THANKFULLY SURVIVED If there are others, please let me know.
NEIL MACCORMICK of the WILLiAM line. Linda Towne’s father.
IAIN MACCORMICK of the NEIL line. My uncle. His son, Neil in Canada, tells me his father’s landing point was Sword Beach. (He remarkably also earlier left the Continent safely in the Dunkirk evacuation.)
Both since sadly deceased.
I got waylaid this year by life so am a bit behind schedule.
But it ‘s not too late for you to catch the last few days of this mammoth event which runs to February 3 in Glasgow.
If you are old fashioned enough to send Christmas cards and want to save money on stamps….well, in the UK, yer too late for using surface mail to reach your friends and relatives on time in many countries around the world. For example, Royal Mail tells us that September 28 was the last date for sending cards to Australia at the cheapest rate for Christmas delivery.
What do you think they do with your stuff for almost three months? Maybe they have figured out the ocean currents and drop crates of cards at the right spots to be carried to their destinations by Christmas.
Anyway, I will check the US Postal Service for their Christmas deadlines. But I suspect that postal services around the world agree on such matters.
To be completely fair however, keep in mind that for Australia, you have until December 10 to use airmail for timely delivery. So they give you lots of time to save up for that extra cost!
Yes, my Australian and other correspondents around the world, I will send most of you a card this year. My piggy bank is gradually filling up.
This is the only one of these tales not originating from my own years as a New York banker.
In 1949, while on his first return visit to his native Scotland in over thirty years, a Granduncle, now a citizen of the USA, decided to cash a few of the travelers checks he had prudently bought for this memorable trip. And the bank he chose to handle this transaction was unsurprisingly that very establishment in his home town still standing, remembered from his younger days. As he walked through the door, he was faced with an unchanged layout and decor. But he still felt a sense of intimidation which banks in the past sought to inculcate in the public.
Nevertheless, recalling his new status as a proud American, he strode up to the counter and declared that he would like to cash some travelers checks. The bank clerk excused himself and disappeared in the direction of his manager’s office. When he returned a few moments later, he offered his apologies to the visitor. “I am very sorry sir. We only cash travelers checks for our customers.”
This was quite an astonishing statement, one in direct contradiction of the essence of the travelers checks system of the time.
Not to be repulsed so easily, my Granduncle reached into a pocket and produced a rather dog-eared bank book. “Well, sir, I am a customer and here is my passbook in evidence. In addition to exchanging my travelers checks, I would like to take the remaining account balance in cash!”
The poor clerk took the passbook and again raced to consult his mansger. When he returned, he again apologised but this time in a slightly more gracious way. “Would you please have a seat over there sir. We first have to examine this account.”
It transpired that indeed the account was quite in order. But the remaining challenge was that interest had not been accrued for over thirty years. The clerk had to enlist the help of a colleague and they poured over dusty ledgers, reckoning the periodic earnings, interest upon interest. And this was long before the digital/computer age and calculator machines were not widely available.
After a considerable time during which the returned native watched the labouring clerks toil over his account, he enjoyed seeing the occasional local enter and conduct whatever business they had. Memories of his own experiences there came flooding back. He wondered what happened to that haughty lady behind the counter who treated all her customers as if she was doing them a great favour by taking in their filthy money or allowing them to take her clean money right out of the bank- as if it was their own!
“Excuse me, sir.” My Granduncle was stirred from his daydreams by the clerk. “We have completed our reckoning of your account. With thirty years of interest, you account is now valued at seven shillings and sixpence. Here are three half crowns and your closed account book.”
“Now, how much in travelers checks do you wish to cash?”
I never did ask Granduncle Donald if he would have bothered closing the ancient account if his original request had been honoured.
OK so this is hardly a quote. But it has intrigued me ever since, as an eleven year old, I came upon it in my first French text book, at Woodside Senior Secondary School, . Glasgow. It was accompanied by a drawing which served to explain the seeming circular nature of the piece. My lack of drawing skills prevents me from replicating the small sketch. But it’s an easy read for those with more than an elementary knowledge of the language.
Je suis ce que je suis.
Je ne suis pas ce que je suis.
Si j’etais ce que je suis,
je ne serais pas ce que je suis.
Tonight, I will join my classmates in Ithaca, New York , via the internet, in their celebration of the 60th anniversary of our graduation from Cornell University in 1958. This will be the third and last night of their gathering and I look forward to greeting as many old friends as possible via Facetime.
At the Memorial Service yesterday, my piece, An Alumni Hymn, was sung.
My Class CoChair, Dick Haggard, tells me that the piece was well received and that it is likely that it will become a standard Cornell song.
One of the more ticklish aspects of doing a family history is how one treats one’s own activities. Well here I take the plunge and announce that my piece, Cornell Sketches, was played on the Cornell University Chimes last Friday, May 11, 2018. The bells and the keyboard are at the top of the Library Tower as pictured above, a 161 step climb for performer s and visitors. The Senior Chimesmaster, John Lee, worked patiently with me as I prepared lead sheets of the seven sections. Any faults in the outcome are due entirely to my poor grasp of elementary music theory.
In an earlier article, I gave a history of Cornell Sketches. Here is the back cover of the CD of my original keyboard setting for your guidance.
As you will see, the 21 bells do not require 21 lengths of rope but a large keyboard. If you want to see more of the Chimes, just do a search for Cornell Chimes.