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A Dundee Lass

By Way of Introduction


...This is my country.
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who here toil
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh
And bone of my bone...

.....Yet do thy children
Honour and love thee.
Harsh is thy schooling
Yet great is the gain.
True hearts and strong limbs,
The beauty of faces
Kissed by the wind
And caressed by the rain.

When I wrote Stories and Stovies in 1998, my intent was to do another book for my family each Christmas until I died. What an ambition! I also intended to start writing the second book in January of 1999 and complete it in plenty of time for that Christmas. What a dream!

I now have a more sophisticated computer than the 386 I worked on in 1998, but became far less advanced after all. When it was two days before Christmas of 1999 I realized I was having so much fun surfing the web, making cyber friends, scanning, playing with an amazing array of fonts and type styles that, consequently, I would never complete the 15 memory books by my self imposed deadline.

So I accepted that I would have to find some other meaningful gifts for those near and dear to me and put the book aside for a little while. Promissory notes were sent regarding this project, and December progressed into January. But I continued to surf, and scan, and play on the Net and work the Web. Then I became acquainted with, and our little family recipe book, complete with errors and family references, was accepted as a gift from us to the world wide family of Scots and lovers of Scotland.

This "Scrapbook" about a Dundee Lass is still a book about our Dundee roots and Scottish heritage and a gift for my children and family. The friends component, however, has developed a new dimension to include those who have became a part of us because of our connection with electricscotland. And I hope those of you who come across these memories of mine will understand the spirit and the intent of what follows.

This introduction I am writing this midnight hour, April 2000, in Phoenix, Arizona is to memories of whatever may come out of my heart and mind from a nostalgic meandering back to what I can best remember from my early childhood until the day I married John Bleh. It’s an introduction to the thoughts and emotions that rise up whilst I gather together and categorize the tangible evidences of my life from a collection of books, letters, postcards, photographs, poems, newspaper clippings, etc.

I am so fortunate that my mother and grandmother saved so many photographs and mementos and gave them to me. Unfortunately, I’ve abused many of the newspaper clippings and a good few of the photographs by pasting them into scrapbooks or using those, now I realise how horrible, "magnetic" photo albums. So, there’s been a tremendous family history rescue effort here in Phoenix over the last several months.

I hope you’ll enjoy, and maybe even value, this collection whether you’re one of my children, a grandchild, a great grandchild whom I’ll probably never meet, or an old or new friend. This isn’t a memorial or a testimonial by, for or about Charlotte Bleh in an attempt to achieve immortality of some sort. It’s a story of Scotland, and memories now tempered by adulthood of a childhood spent in the company of a proud and independent Grandmother who, in her lifetime, spent her own childhood in the company of another independent and proud Scotswoman. This little book is also a dream and a hope and a prayer that Scotland and the people of our McIntosh and Thomas and Alvoet and Bleh families will live in the lives of my family as targets to set hopes, and dreams and prayers upon.

And a special message to my children -- Be good. Be happy. Say your prayers morning and night, and include your families in those prayers. But most of all, remember always that your father and mother love you.

My mother, my brother Victor, and me somewhere in Scotland.
My mother, my brother Victor, and me somewhere in Scotland.
(I remember how much my mother loved that ocelot coat –
so politically incorrect now fifty years later.)



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