Sunday, March 23, 2014

Deltiologically Speaking: Eilean Donan Castle

Clutching a hot coffee and screwing my face up against the cold wind, I scurried back across the empty parking lot to our rental car, tossing my bag in the backseat. It contained the only souvenirs that I'd purchase throughout my week in Scotland; a clan Cameron keychain for my brother and a postcard.

"The postcard is for my Great Aunt Mary," I explained to Jules, pulling away from Eilean Donan Castle and back onto the road. "I don't see her very often, but I try to write whenever I can."

As we drove on, towards the Isle of Skye, I told Jules about how even though Mary is now in her 80s, she still travels regularly. The last time we visited, I informed Aunt Mary about my plans to going trap shooting. In turn, she told me about how she'd been a sharpshot in her day, hunting grouse for dinner. And when she asked me about my plans to have a family or get married, I told her that exploring was my priority for the time being. She responded by nodding in approval.

"She's kind of my hero," I told him.

But as it turns out, I wasn't the only one to be holding Mary in my thoughts at Eilean Donan castle.

Last month, I received this email from Mary's son, Bob:

Hello Jessica.

It's your (2nd) cousin Bob in Vancouver. How are you? Your Aunt Mary asked if I could send you scanned copy of a postcard that she received in 1974 from your grandpa and grandma Lockhart. It was sent from Eilean Donan Castle. 

Mom thought it was neat that almost 40 years later you sent her a postcard from the same location. I've also scanned what was written by Auntie Doreen, although you'll see that it's a little hard to make out and part of the writing was ripped away when removed from mom's photo album.

I keep clutching to these things, because even the smallest things tell the most significant stories. It's the kind of history that goes deeper than ruins.

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