She was a doctor and he was a pharmacist and they spent their working lives in a hospital in Pakistan. But as well as this, they preached Christianity to the Pakistanis, which now seems rather… . Well, they did what they did with the best of intentions, I’m sure. My uncle was also quite a scholar and published learned commentaries on various Bible texts.
When we moved my aunt out of her flat into the home last August, we found lots of photograph albums. I’ve been gradually taking them to her room in the home. She and my uncle travelled a lot, both from their base in Pakistan and during their furlough years. And, happily for the current circumstances, they were very good at labelling their albums, so that I often look at them with her and can say, “Oh look, this is Baghdad – you went there in 1947” and she can agree.
One album that I haven’t taken there yet is actually a notebook, a sort of diary kept by my uncle and illustrated by photos and postcards. There’s nothing intensely personal in it; it’s mainly just an account of their travels and other activities during a few years at the beginning of their marriage. But I never knew it existed and am touched to read it. I never knew my uncle particularly well - we never saw all that much of them because they were so involved with the Brethren. He was quite fun, but not someone who was interested in children. And of course they were abroad throughout my childhood and young adulthood.
Here’s the first page:
The Wedding 24th February 1945
The place: St Philip’s Church, Joppa
Time: 2.15 pm on a dull, cold day
Officiating: Rev. J. E. Adam and A. Hutchison, Craigmillar
Guests: [and he lists them]
Best man: John [his brother] Bridesmaids: Effie and Gracie
Organist: Jim [my father]
We arranged for a taxi for Jean but it didn’t arrive so walked to church [it’s only a couple of streets from where my grandparents lived]. The wedding went smoothly. Thence to photographers – photos turned out pitiful. The guests went by special tram to Darling’s Hotel, Regent Place. A splendid occasion – speeches by Uncle Tom, Uncle Andrew, Wm Campbell, Jean’s father and Reg as well as the two ministers. Finally the singing of Psalm 23 and some choruses suggested by Mother brought the proceedings to an end. A delightful and very happy occasion.
Then we went by train to Glasgow. Taxi, in a most tempestuous storm of rain and wind, to Mayfair. At Mearns next morning Mrs Connell announced us as a honeymoon couple. Lunch at John Smith’s. His mother vastly amused at honeymoon couple.
But it was a very happy marriage.
I feel a bit odd having this notebook but there's no one else closer to them and though I shall take it in to read to my aunt, I don't know how much it will mean to her. I wouldn't like it to get lost so I suppose I'll bring it back here again. The ink's a bit faded so I shall type out the rest of the words to preserve them. The last entry is July 15, 1947.
I do like having this link to my uncle.
Words. There's nothing like them. As we bloggers know.