Welcome to the Scottish Heritage Home Page!

- Robert Burns

 

 

 

In the Beginning-----

 

 

----- and me.

 

 Hi and welcome to my world.

The Cross, Earlsferry, Scotland. The little house in which I first saw the light of day.

 

Once upon a time -------long long ago-------and far far away------

 

I was told that although the sun was shining a light snow was falling on that day in February 1926 as Dr. Pentland-Smith with wee black bag in hand closed the door of his dispensary at St. Regulus in Elie and walked the half mile to the house known as The Cross in Earlsferry, an ancient and off the beaten path picturesque village on the east coast of Scotland. I'm sure the good doctor had a gleam in his eye as his mission that day was to assist my mother and the good Lord in the bringing of me into the world. Far from the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, the Royal Burgh of Earlsferry and Elie is composed of small, quiet, adjoining villages in the Kingdom of Fife  where the Firth of Forth meets the North Sea.

 

1926 really was a very good year. Just two months after my arrival in Earlsferry; at 17 Bruton Street, at Mayfair in London, England, would be born a girl who would become Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

 

 

Earlsferry beach

 

As the years went by Earlsferry and Elie and its people became my everything, my whole world, until one day fate intervened to set wheels in motion that would take me far from home and my home land. I've now been gone from Earlsferry for  62 years but not for one day of these 62 years has my home village of Earlsferry deemed fit to let me go. 

 

I now live in and am also a loyal and true citizen of the United States of America, a country that's made up of native born Americans and immigrants from every country on the globe. Civilized countries with strong ties like the United Kingdom and the United States recognize the need to grant each others citizens the rights of dual nationality. (Because, when we get married that doesn't change the status of our mother or our motherland.)

 

The United Kingdom is a conglomerate of nations that for political reasons is comprised of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Scottish law is different from English law and there is no such thing as a Scottish or an English passport although I hear that this may be about to change.  All of the people who are part of this consortium are called British.  I've never felt that I was born anything but Scottish and I believe this sentiment is shared by all Scots who were born in the beautiful country of Scotland, regardless of where fortune and  circumstance would take us. No doubt the same feeling for the land of their birth goes for those who were born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for that matter those who were born in whatever was their country of origin. (Which is why the President of a country should be native born in that country.)

 

Now at the request of my native American born grand daughter Hillary Renz I pull aside the curtain and roll back the clock for her to learn about her roots and the land and some of the values of the people who were her ancestors and the "Pictish stoor" that begat me, her grandfather; to find out about my mystic utopia and my Shangri-La, as I recall for her the wonderful days of my youth when with carefree abandon I roamed Scotland's hills and its beaches, I sailed the sea, I climbed the cliffs at Earlsferry and where on a tiny island in the sea I found what always has been and always will be, my special place.

 

 We all have seen the relatively authentic movie Braveheart about the Scottish fight for independence and freedom and of how for his effort the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace was executed. Then as a warning to others not to emulate him, his adversaries mutilated his body by chopping it into pieces that were displayed around the country. True, that savage act happened seven hundred years ago and this is a different time but lest we forget, at an early age, the "Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled", story of Wallace's fight for freedom is burned into the heart and brain of every Scottish child. 

 

An enlightening book about medieval Scotland is  "William Wallace-- Champion of Scotland."  The author is Margaret Wallace. The publisher of this book is Goblinshead of Musselburgh, Scotland.

 

Many of the early immigrants to the colony that later became the United States were of Scottish ancestry and those men and women played a large part in the drafting of what became the constitution of the United States of America as so declared by Thomas Jefferson on July the 4th in the year 1776.

 

One Scotsman who inadvertently speeded up the process of the United States becoming independent from Britain was Earlsferry's Lieutenant William Duddingston who was the commander of His Majesty's ship, HMS Gaspee. In 1772 the Gaspee was assigned to patrol duty in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. By the lieutenant's overly zealous harassment of the merchants, the colonists captured the Gaspee, set it on fire and so destroyed His Majesty's ship. This event is considered to be the colonists' first blow for freedom which four years later culminated in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. For reasons known only to the Admiralty, Lieutenant Duddingston was later promoted to the rank of  Rear Admiral. He died on the 27th of October 1817 at his Chapel Green home in Earlsferry, my home village. Another Scot of his era and man of the sea was John Paul Jones who is recognized as being the father of the United States Navy.

 

All dressed up on my 90th birthday.

 

 

 I am now past my 91st birthday. A light snow has fallen and the sun is shining just as it was on that first day in Earlsferry so

long ago and far away.