M.P.S and D.S.S at BARRY 1966 - 1981
Dears Marlene and Bob,
So many thanks for all your letters which were joyfully read but not answered during the throes of flitting. We had MAC and HELEN [McIntosh, M.P.S brother and wife from Canada] during the last week in Iona and they were storm-stayed and just got away when the packer arrived to do the china and glass. So little room here but otherwise pleasant.
MAC and HELEN went on to The Rigg [Martins,Teviothead] and then to Honiton[Scotters] and Cambridge [Moffatts]. They landed unfortunate for weather - a very cold wet spring but things grow inspite of. I hear PEGGY N’Dola has elected to stay in Winnipeg so you’ll have to acquit yourself nobly with 2 nieces and a brother all at same College.
MEG and ALI [Macdonell] been so kind. ALI attended to painters and all the house was fresh and they Both gave us a good days work on the day of Removal. ALI is super with the screwdriver. It’s a great thing a screwdriver. The surveyor found some dead wood so the joiners are still working.
How lovely to be back to the amenities of the mainland - calling for orders and delivering everything within shopping distance and a traveling van 3 times a week and bananas everywhere. How difficult everything was in Iona and how expensive with freight and postage.
Dad is already in great demand - preaching next two Sundays in Meigle and taking Tarves in July, August when ALI and MEG and family [RUTH 10, JEN 8, HILLY 6, DAVE 3] go to Cambridge and a locum coming along -- a young minister died suddenly. Well, O.K., if he feels he can, who am I? If I had knees!!! Rejoice in your knees you young things.
OLIVE[Spark Stiven] and the SHERRARD family[Olive’s d. Mary and son-in-law Rev. John and Dane +Olive] all here yesterday. I now have a ‘minister’s wife’ v. friendly and helpful and the church just 20 yards from our back door.
Lovely photo of Glen. What a friendly happy boy he is. Much Love to you all 3. Mummy S.”
M.P.S : Barry : 23 March 1966 : “Darlings,
Always so glad to get your news and lovely photos of your charming son. What a happy soul he seems to be.
Floods in one place and droughts in India and so cold for May it is here. Perhaps only me but not really. Everything very far behind. So glad you’re going to paint Granny Dunn’s house. Grannies need help. How she will gloat over Glen. Please Bob read Blackwoods Magazine of 17th May - gorgeous article by MARY LUSK (now Levison) [Inveresk Assistant 1954] showing up a Committee of Church of Scotland and a good one by Barclay[William, theologian] about a friend in Canada. Barclay is so good, eh no?
We go off to Assembly[General Assembly of the Church of Scotland] tomorrow for a whole week. Dad at Royal Scots Club and me at JANET’S[Lamond]but she is away holidaying so I will be with JENNIFER but I’ll be out most of the time and can go to OLIVE’S [Stiven] any time. She has her g’child OLIVE [Sherrard] staying - as she can’t get peace in her home manse in Dundee! so has to go to her granny’s. Sorry writing so awful but so cold.
BEADY[Scotter] comes for her 1/2 term weekend when we come home. I’ve really nothing in common with her and the world she lives in so different from the world when I was 17. Not fair for her. Next year we will have 2 g’daughters at Varsity and still one son. But we will get our trip next May. Marlene says you’ve done O.K. Stick in Bob. Much love to you ALL 3. Mummy S.”
M.P.S : Barry : 4 June 1966 : “Darlings,
Beaucoup Jolis - 4th June and I feel so ashamed to have forgotten your birthday. No excuse but we seem to be bogged down with grandchildren. Went to St Andrews to MYRA’s  sports two days ago and then Dad called for MYRA and BEADY y’day to bring them here. BEADY to stay mid term w’end here and MYRA to go with MEG to Tarves. This p.m. BILLY LOVE phoned Dad to ‘Sash’ the Honest Lad and Lass[Musselburgh]. He said, ‘You know Dr Stiven twelve years ago today you married me and this is Bobby and Linty’s birthday!!!’ Well really is it left to Billy Love to remember my twins b’day! Linty usually reminds me but she is bogged down having her in laws and g’granny Fleming - they were due to sail Ist June to Jamaica to take up running a boarding house there and had all linen and silver at docks and lo! the seaman’s strike calls off everything. They’re going to lose a lot of money as the staff whom they’ve taken over are idle and no bookings.
We were going off to Tarves this a.m. with BEADY and lo! the starter wouldn’t start and it is still in the garage being mended and poor BEADY - how worried she must be. Not good spending half-term with G’Parents - tell Glen David!
Hope you are enjoying the summer at camp [Robertson, Gimli]. Did you GET THROUGH??? your exams. Could you DO IT? Is this a good church (capable of presenting a challenge) David is going to? Much Love. Beaucoup Jolis. M.S”
M.P.S. : Barry : 13 July 1966 : “Darlings,
Thank you for writing. I’ve been falling down on mine. Very different this business of adjusting oneself to to the retired life. Poor Dad he is quite lost. After some gardening - nothing to do all day except ‘patience’[cards] tele and reading. I have still my chores and can potter around. Dad never been good in the sink and I feel never will take to it, alas! Other retired men ‘do’ chores I believe. He is preaching most Sundays - here at Barry and after that three Sundays at Tarves where we shall be going to stay for three weeks.
We go to Edinburgh next week to stay with JIMMY and GRETA SIMPSON [twins used to watch the Musselburgh horse races from their window at Levenhall]
Dad is to ‘Sash’ the Honest Lad and Lass at the Musselburgh Mall on 20th. His predecessors Lords and Earls etc. A great honour to have been asked. We are going to tea with BILLY LOVE on one of the days and an Overseas tea - all in the Honest Toon’s Festival Week. We are going to MEG’S tomorrow for the day. ALI and RUTH  and JENNIFER  all away at camp so MEG all alone with her two youngest [HILLY 6, DAVE 3].
Looking forward to DAVID’s coming on 13th Aug. He goes to JEAN’S [Honiton]
off the plane - then to LINTY and some other friends and then up here. I’m to put up JIMMY  thee others [MOIRA 16, PEGGY 14, FIONA 8] all going into a caravan and two rooms along the road. I’ll manage to feed them all mid-day.
Photo from Karachi of ROLAND [8months] - SO like Glen it’s not true - fair and beautiful. MAC and HELEN [McIntosh] had a beezer time at Cambridge and Honiton and Tarves. Has Marlene met them yet? Can’t remember did they? --yes, MAC - go to your wedding? Looking forward to our trip next May so stick in. ARE you doing any reading at camp? Where there’s a will there’s a way. Much Love to you all. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 19 August 1966 : “Darlings,
Having a breather while Zambians [David and Jean, Moira 16, Peggy 14, Jim 11, Fiona 8, Shelagh 3] off to Tarves. Hope you’ve got a house for them Zambians! The kids are sick of moving and want to stay put in a room of their very own.
My word they are a handsome lot all seen together. People used to tell me I had the best looking family they knew. I think (maybe not) I’ll pass it on to DAVID and co. Of course five is impressive all looking so well. Jean pretty and healthy - think the living is good in Rhodesia. Anyway black help gives one time to have a life of ones own.
We had a gorgeous sunny day y’day when Queen Mother opened the new Tay Road Bridge - what a boon it will be.
Just written a line to KAY-TESS [Karachi]. Their wedding anniversary and HILDA’S birthday  August 29th. I lost my list of B’days in the flitting but have found it again.
We had a gorgeous three weeks in Tarves. Everybody so hospitable and kind. Hope you’ll have some money to feed us when we come next May as I don’t think we can get money across. DAVID found it too difficult. We are such a poor country we cannot part with money.
Do you know where you are to be Assistant in Sept? Who is the Dean? Name?
Anyway back to the BOOKS and stick in. Yes I do think GLEN and ROLAND look alike. But there are other sides to the family - MARLENE and TESS in face.
Much Love to you all three. M.S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 23 August 1966 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
The gang fared forth for Prestwick about an hour ago, spending the night in Edinburgh in the hope of reaching Prestwick about 11:30 tomorrow forenoon to leave about 12:30 on Wednesday 24th August.
They mean to go to UNCLE JIMMY’S [and Aunt Helen’s] at Brighton [Ontario] for a day or two and also to their friends and partners in Orilla [Ontario] where, I think, their large and Moffatt-like Ford car will await them.
They are a stunning bunch and bonny too and all good fun. I think that SHELAGH will be glad to get settled down. She was feeling just young enough  for so much helter skelter and so many late hours, though, mind you, she has stood up to it better than any one of her age I’ve seen.
See and get a breather before the routine of the regular grind begins. It makes demands on different faculties than catering etc [Church Summer Camp Manager]. Pat Moodie in a recent letter spoke kindly of you all. Love to all. Daddy.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 25 August 1966 :
[On an air letter begun by one of the Zambian children (to Caron) and discarded]
“This left behind and can’t bear to waste it. The difference between our generation and the next. We were all brought up poor. Now it’s the affluent society and everybody has everything! Enough!
Darlings - so many thanks for your letters and all news. Do take care of Marlene and don’t allow her to do too much work. You young things live at too much pressure. Dad went into Starks (North Bridges, Edinburgh) y’day at 10 a.m. and the man said, “Your son has just gone - he was ordering clerical robes.” Well, he was due to fly Prestwick at 12 noon . How do they do it?
Marlene, I’m sending a nightie FIONA left and a shawl for Penelope (when she comes) and a wee jersey for GLEN if he’s not too big for it already and an apron for Bob (man’s apron - sold in Cambridge for Dons and Fellows who come home from College and help the wives). So I’ll hope to see it well worn when I come in May.
We are having a spell of gorgeous weather now. Went to dentist in Musselburgh y’day and Dad got two lower back molars out. An hour in the chair and Dr Robertson said he should have had it done in Hospital. Frightful it was but his pulse was perfect at end and he drove home in record time but all out in bed today and frightful headache. Feeling so lonely without the Zambians. Much Love. MS.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 8 September 1966 : “Darlings,
You’ll now have your big brother [DAVID] with you. How he managed to get the family to Winnipeg and get them off to school alone I don’t know. You young fathers are wonderful. Nothing you can’t do.
I’m enjoying your Prof’s book. [Kenneth Hamilton, God is Dead - The Anatomy of a Slogan. ] Dad won’t read them. Not even original. His Railway Book Stall heretical title. If he’d even put it in inverted commas it wouldn’t have been so bad. Dad says, ‘Dishonest!’. He’s fussy. I find him not always lucid and I have to look back at the beginning of the paragraph to see if its Bonhoeffer or Bart or his namesake Hamilton. Anyway he fairly covers them all and he’s cute sometimes e.g. ‘If we take a vote the ‘living’ are in the minority.’
How very true. Anyway he is very well read and should be a stimulating lecturer.
I posted a parcel of hankies DAVID left and a new sleeveless pullover for you Bob. Have to knit. I can't read and potter all day. Can’t knit baby’s things only the big slog I can do. Hope it will be of some use. I can do another one. What colour? Do you like maroon?
Had a boy from Karachi this p.m. He was out teaching (he has no degree) in the High School in Karachi and went to St Andrews Church [Kay Stiven, Minister]. He was only out for a year. Frightful the poverty and people lying on the streets. When he came out of school he had to step over six or seven bodies lying asleep on the pavement and two million in Karachi live in squalor and filth. Oh dear, oh dear what CAN I do . Hurry up and get finished and GO and DO something I can’t do.
Take care of Marlene and make her rest - go to bed early. Why should she work so hard at camp? Is she paid for it? I had a friend once who did too much for people till somebody taught her we have only to love our neighbour as ourselves. Sometimes we have to turn it round the other way to get the meaning. Much Love to you you All. M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 16 September 1966 :
“Reminds me FERGUS has a b’day  on 18th Sept. Must get cracking.
Darlings -- This to say Dad asked me ages ago to write and ask date in May when we hope to see you get your dog collar, as we mean to sail on a cargo ship up the lakes as far as we can go so must book early. Please an air letter by return.
Had MEG and ALI on way home to Tarves from a wedding. CHRISTINA’S [Ali Macdonell’s sister] brother-in-law married an R.C. and wedding in a chapel in Dundee. MEG, sitting beside the priest at Reception, said her mother had great sympathy with St Columba who was an exile and so home sick for the streams and meadows of Ireland all the time he lived on Iona. ‘Yes’ said the priest, ‘I’m sure your mother must often have prayed to St Columba for help.’ ‘No!’ said MEG, ‘She went straight to the Almighty.’ That was the mildest of the things she said. He must have been a bit shaken by the time the meal was over.
Bet DAVID [Winnipeg] was glad to have you and Marlene there to help. Aren't they a good looking bunch? So glad they’ve gone from the so troubled Africa. Isn’t JIMMY  a nice boy? Grandsons precious.
Hope Marlene not so tired now and GLEN [almost1] flourishing and Father working. Much Love to you all. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 7 October 1966 : “ My Dear Marlene,
I have GLEN’S down for 1st November. Is it 1st October? [Yes] Please correct me and also please tell me when yours is so that I can put it on my list. We have twenty three g’children and seven children and seven mates and I find it difficult to keep looking up my wee bookie!
DAVID said,’BOB was starting to begin to start work’ but so glad to hear from the horse’s mouth that he really is working.
I have my cousin [actually widow of D.S.S’s cousin James Spark Stiven] staying and she says she’s coming to get me dressed for going to Canada! I’m not really interested in dress - less than ever now. My daughter JEAN [Scotter] thinks (from your wedding photos) you have a very good dress sense - she knows.
DAVID says it is cold already with you. They won’t like the cold but from all the news it would seem they are well away from N’dola. No more now. GLEN DAVID’S B’day? Marlene’s B’day? So looking forward to seeing GLEN DAVID. Love Granny S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : St. Andrews Day : 30 Nov 1966 : “Darlings,
So touched by your concern for us. We’re both well but trying to bear up against a bitter wind off the North Sea - Iona was mild compared to this and when there is a wind with the cold my knees shriek - but otherwise O.K.
Dad preaching nearly every Sunday. Had JOHN SHERRARD [son-in-law of Olive Stiven] preaching here on Sunday. I rang MARY [John’s wife, Olive’s daughter] to ask him to lunch and told her to tell him to have a word of comfort for the old! and lo! did he half!!!! Did you know Christmas is a Festival for the adult and the aged? Not a scripture record of even a child peeping in at the stable door at the Nativity. It was the Innkeeper, shepherds, wise men, Kings -- old old Anna, old old Simeon WAITING, who saw the the Salvation and rejoiced. I did always feel it was phony the way everybody feverishly tried to make it a Happy Time for the children. He’s a very able preacher - must say made the most of what fell in his lap. St Andrews Day for the children and 1st Sunday in Advent for us. How he tore down the tinsel and coloured paper and electric lights till we saw the real light from the opened heavens and the angels singing and how cynical he was about getting the Christmas tree out from below the stairs and the list of present receivers (she didn’t send me one last year so...) He was good.
Anyway I was brought up in a Calvinistic Home and we didn’t have any Artificial Christmas so it appealed to me. He came late to the Ministry and not too submerged in the Christmas Myth to be able to think straight. Cheers, its Christmas for the aged! The children can tag along. I won’t be popular.
Dad says we can have a trip to Kingston, Jamaica, next winter (to avoid the frost). We promised FRED and EMMELINE [Moffatt] to go and see them anyway. Been posting S.O.S. from ALISON [Stiven] for DAVID’S address. Aren't the Zambians a super family. Pity they’re being dragged around. DAVID sighing for the sun and warmth but loves the people. Much Love to you ALL three. M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 24 November 1966 : ROLAND’s Birthday. “ Darlings,
So good of you Marlene to write to me and you had a depressed husband on your hands too. I hope G.D. never gets depressed. Theology a bit confusing. Too many thoughts as you say.
Robert darling give up Kierkegaard or whatever his name is. Anyway he died at forty two and one can learn an awful lot about God after forty two. All very well for Keats to die at thirty two having produced the goods -- but Theology takes longer to ripen. Our minister across the road was so so good and so SIMPLE (Dad says get Bob back to the SIMPLE Gospel.)
Go Heaven-----------------Go Hell
and the only standard of judgment was KINDNESS --- sick and ye visited me, in prison - etc etc hungry fed me etc etc.
Dad had quote in a Sermon and so many people wrote to get it:
‘In this world of froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.’
Had BILL and JEAN and KATE [Scotter] for two days - they had two days traveling to get here. JEAN came to see AUNT MARY’S [Clifton, widow of W.A. Stiven who died I think in 1929] silver and linen and small tables etc. BILL may be out of the army in July and they have never had a home. She put her name on quite a lot. We snaffled a silver brandy flask for you. All so sad. She must have become unable to ‘throw out’ after she was seventy and she died at ninety seven. What a house stacked with things. Should be a lesson to Dad to clear out.
There will be a small behoof for you all but how to get it across to you!!! Anyway it can be banked here and you can bring Marlene and G.D. over for a trip. It would do you handsome for that. But wait till Dad writes to you.
Don’t say I told you but the death duties (it will soon be in the papers anyhow) are £52,000 . WHY did she not disburse before? Poor old soul. Her Christmas presents from 1929 still as she got them. Incredible.
Marvelous having BILL who was with his men into Aborfan two days after the disaster. His men shoveled from 8-8pm and he could hardly get them off duty to let the night shift begin. The police and voluntary organisations all quite hopeless except the Army and the Salvation Army which was quite wonderful. When BILL arrived the Dads were just digging blindly where they thought their child would be! The army dentists got the school dentists lists from the C.E. Office and identified the corpses by the teeth. He had to post soldiers at the mortuary gates to keep the parents of unidentifiable children from getting in and when they had the mass graves dug, lorries began to arrive with 1,000s of wreaths and flowers from all over Britain. Such chaos, but you know BILL is super.
He only arrived back from Bahrain four hours before he had to go and do this awful job. 116 children buried alive with stuff so heavy the men could only shovel a handful at a time. They all wanted to give a full weeks pay but ‘oor Jeanie’ who works with the wives knew that the wives were gasping for their week’s pay so persuaded them to give seats for the churchyard where the Mums and Grannies could sit when they came to the graves. Some lost two and three children and some men a wife and two children.
MEG and ALI and DAVID  came on Monday to see JEAN and BILL as may not see them for ages and ALI seeing to BILL’S will. They may go to Hong Kong after Bahrain. No more now. Much Love Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 18 Dec 1966 : “Darlings,
Forty three years married today and so grateful for my boy friend (though sometimes difficult) always cheerful which means a lot in old age.
So thrilled with my Gold Greetings Telegram y’day from the clan in Winnipeg. How good of you to remember. I’ve just been ringing LINTY (no answer) to find out if its BOB’S or hers y’day or tomorrow - never can remember. Anyway Bob - it’s two years for you. Many Happy Returns. Be KIND to your wife.
David [D.S.S] preaching in Arbroath twice today so I’m having a holiday at home and getting even with some letters and purring with gratitude that we have such a rewarding family - not one black sheep among them and all doing useful work in the world.
We go to Tarves [Macdonells] next week-end for Christmas. David [D.S.S.] sent 300+ cards to let people know where we lived now so we are being flooded with returns.
Poor Jimmy [Stiven,11, Winnipeg] with his teeth. Bad luck but be O.K. [Skating accident caused two very broken very front teeth.]
Much Love to you all and a very Happy Christmas. M.S.’
M.P.S. : Barry : 14 Jan 1967 : “Darlings,
Hope Marlene and Glen got back to the lonely Father O.K. after having had a good Christmas and leaving Granny Dunn well cheered.
We have been having our passport photos taken and what old wizened crones we are but so looking forward to seeing you all. What would I do without my boy friend to do all the paper work!
Bob, did you know MAGGIE SCOTT got engaged in Cape Town to a Cargilfield master. He was out and she went too!! and it has happened. They have known each other well for sometime and Dr and Mrs Scott know him too so all is well. I’ll tell you when the wedding is so you can send a line. Dr Scott was very kind to us all.
We are having gorgeous sunny weather but frosty. I go to Arbroath Infirmary three times weekly to get therapy for my knees -- here’s hoping I’ll be able to walk across the tarmac with straight legs!
Stick in lad for your last term - won’t be long now and I guess you’ll win through - you've some strong subjects eh no?
BILL [Scotter] gone to Oxford for a week’s lectures on CHINA so it looks as if, after Bahrain, they will go to Hong Kong instead of coming back to U.K. Why, oh why, are my children wanderers on the face of the earth? Think it’s very good to see your own country from another one. We have some lovely grapefruit from KEITH’S parents [Fred and Emmeline Moffatt] in Jamaica. Gorgeous climate they have there.
DANE SHERRARD [son of Rev. John and Mary] preaching in Carnoustie tomorrow so will ask him to lunch. Dad preaching in Arbroath tomorrow. He is supplying nearly every Sunday and loves it. MAC and HELEN [Uncle Jimmy McIntosh] say they are going to visit you in Winnipeg in June too so might be able to travel with them.
Marlene, I had sent you a peach coloured loose weave blanket from Hawick.
It should have arrived. Anyway you’ll let me know if it hasn’t soon. Posted on Xmas week, I think. Much Love to you ALL. M.S.’
M.P.S. : Barry : Parcel - no date : “Darlings
Here is a badly made jumper. Have you a poor boy in your ken? No poor here. All affluent society.
I pair sox too big for Dad. Am knitting a beezer one with sleeves for you.
I haven’t got Marlene’s Birthday yet!. MS.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 18 January 1967 : “Dear Bobbie and Marlene,
Just the shortest of letters - I’m advising J.C. McI [Uncle Jimmy, Brighton, Ont] and HARROLD [Rev. Morris, Assistant, Musselburgh, 1950’s] and DAVID [brother, Winnipeg] -- that we hope to leave Prestwick on 23 May and to make for Toronto and Brighton for the first fortnight, continuing to Winnipeg on 6 June. In Winnipeg, if DAVID and JEAN and Marlene and you can endure it, we hope to stay for three weeks, ten days with Marlene and you and then ten days with David and Jean and then on 27 June we’ll go to Regina for a week with Harrold and Morag.
Before (and I must prepare for a transatlantic vocabulary!) we FINALISE our arrangements I think it wise to consult all parties concerned and I hope you will give a speedy reply.
Tomorrow OLIVE gets a year older and on Friday M.P.S. claims three score and ten. So tomorrow morning we hope to go through to Edinburgh for a two day binge. I have to get back on Saturday in order to be ready to stand in at the Pisky Church for an ecumenical Round-about (the minister of one of the Church of Scotland Kirks can’t fulfill agreement to exchange because of illness).
I’m leaving it to you folks to arrange the special accommodations in Winnipeg. Love to all. Daddy.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 28 Jan 1967 : “ My Dear Marlene and Bob,
Dad wants you to have this. I don’t. Who wants photos plastered all over. No room here and I guess you haven’t either. We had it taken when we had our passport photos done.
Many thanks for your letter. As you say we will be better out of the ‘stir’. The only snag is we can only take £100 out of the country but guess that will do if we can pay all our air travel this side. Dad says can’t get Aunt Mary’s money to you but could send it to David in Jamaica and he might be able to send it to you. We haven’t got it yet. A long time lawyers take to work things out.
JEAN [Scotter] is off to Bahrain on Sunday - flying with all the preggie mums but staying with a friend near the airport to avoid an eight hour bus journey from Honiton with all the tea-ing and pee-ing mums and children.
No news. Stick in. JIMMY SPANKIE asking for you - loved seeing you in Winnipeg. Love M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 11 February 1967 : “Darlings,
How are you? I was looking through some photos and saw again the three of GLEN DAVID. They are very good indeed and how we look forward to seeing him in the flesh. TESS [Ransford] has got one of him dialing the telephone ‘cos she said in a letter 'Roland could do it too but Kay won’t allow him.’ I must tell you Marlene that Father Stiven spent many moments rebuking his children who didn’t differentiate between ‘A tool and a TOY’ - and of all people, to think that KAY was carrying on in the same way!
I am busy knitting a sleeved pullover for Bob - something to do!
I was giving the address at the Women’s World Day of Prayer in Carnoustie last night. How the time flies past. The crocuses and snowdrops and anaenomies are out and spring is lovely.
Will send you J. B. Phillip’s new book ‘Ring of Truth’. It’s very good and how I wish you could see on Tele on Sunday nights Barclay lecturing on ‘This MAN PAUL’. He’s a wizard - makes it all live. Much Love to you all Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 20 February 1967 : “Dear Marlene and Bob,
I thought you’d be interested to read JEAN’S interesting letter and enjoy ‘Jean on the disciples.’
Yesterday I posted (or have I told you) a magnum opus -- a pullover with sleeves and a pair of woolen sox for Bob. I could get my head in it - hope he can too.
Dad delighted with his W’peg Birthday mail. Thank you. Do hope all is well. Sure it will be. Anyhow you’ll be glad when it’s all over. Thank you Marlene for your letters. So glad you enjoy your job.
Just had LINTY and family [Fergus 5, Pete 4, Hester 6mths]. Big upset in a little house. VERY good they were. LINTY says I’ll not can help liking Marlene.
Much Love M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 20 March 1967 : “Dears Marlene and Bob,
Do hope the Dr has been able to diagnose Bob’s sore neck and that you’re fit for the last lap of the work. Do you get a holiday at Easter and is Marlene enjoying her new job?
Hope you Both managed to cope at DAVID’S when he and JEAN were away.
[All ---Moira 17, Peggy 15, Jimmy 12, Fiona 8, Shelagh 4 -----heard was ‘Don’t wake the baby’- Glen, 6 mths.] Lucky for them to have you.
I sent off a silly little parcel - the cardigan I got from KEITH and don’t need and the sox - my own knitting - are different sizes but good wool. The towels belonged to g’Aunt MARY - embroidered by herself and the hankies too for her trousseau seventy years ago. Hankies too big but will do when you have a cold.
We were at DANE SHERRARD’S [Auntie Olive’s g’son] 21st B’day Party last night. About thirty people there - lots of young things and OLIVE sang as good as ever. DANE is in 2nd year Theology and Pres of S.R.C. - quite a boy and doing well. OLIVE [his sister] is at St Andrews doing Statistics and Maths.
No news. Much love. Haven’t heard from HARROLD MORRIS yet. Love to you all three. Phoned LINTY today. HESTER [11 mths] talking but not walking - just sitting looking beautiful. Love. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 18 April 1967 : “Darlings,
A lovely letter from Marlene today. So friendly.
This to say forgot to say as Dad told me to confirm we go off with MORRIS after your ordination. A change from previous arrangements. I’m NOT the itinerary wallah but DO feel it is easy to change plane dates. Perhaps I’m wrong. Dad likes to have everything planned out well in advance.
Jolly good HARROLD[Morris] is coming but I guess it was HE who finally pushed you over the brink eh no? so must feel responsible a bit.
DAVID [Winnipeg] writes all STIVEN WIVES are Saints - so his family say. I’ve told TESSA. What’s the betting she’ll write back to say, ‘Kay is a Saint.’ You never know your luck with TESSA. TORFRIDA [Ransford] home from Karachi by bus. Took eight weeks -- what a journey but how interesting. Says KAY beating the air in K. but who isn’t in the Church these days EXCEPT in Canada. His problem is SNOBBERY in Karachi.
Am thinking about you Bob in your exams. All the Best. Love. M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 12 May 1967 : “Darlings,
The lovely wee papoose arrived safely and is flattening out on the study table. Many thanks for sending us such a lovely gift: we shall have it framed when we come back home.
So rejoiced to hear your news and ha ha for the B.Th. Well really who’d have thought. Poor DAVID was born too soon - or will they extend it to back students. [DAVID entered The Faculty of Theology in United College, Winnipeg with a post graduate degree (M.A. Oxon). After three years he emerged with a Diploma in Theology. I entered the same College with only half of the necessary credits towards a B.A. and emerged after three years with a B.Th. because in 1967 (Canada’s Centennial) United College became the University of Winnipeg and could confer its own degrees. There was no ‘grandfathering’.]
Not so happy as I ought to be about my Canadian trip. My knees and now my ankles and legs are so sore I can hardly bear to walk on them. We too, have had miserable weather and lots of thunder still about. Am hoping the air of Canada will help. Hope Marlene has some books on Rheumatism. Who will find a cure. I’m assured research is being done on it but so far no good. Not willing to accept ‘being reduced to a bed ridden condition of complete helplessness.’ Anyway the only place I am really happy is in bed with my electric blanket and a book.
No more moaning. MEG [Macdonell] (I told you did I?) has a friend beside the airport and we can go there by car and it’ll be waiting for us on the way back.
You remember DONALD BEATTIE? [Friend of Dad’s from student days and Dunkeld Retreat buddy] Saw him the other day. Can breathe with great difficulty and has had two thrombosis. Rejoice in your YOUTH.
PAT CAMERON [childhood friend from Kirkmichael - troubleshooter in Canada for mega construction projects] lives in Toronto we’ll be staying there two nights.
Be seeing you. Mummy S.”
[The months of June and July 1967 are a blur. M.P.S., D.S.S., Uncle Mac and Aunty Helen, The Morrises and David and Jean et al partied in Winnipeg round the ordination. M.P.S. and D.S.S. stayed with us happily in the cramped quarters of Minnigaffe St. Then we had to get rid of all our ‘stuff’ for we were ‘Settled’, by the Manitoba Conference of The United Church in Canada, in Sandy Lake, an Isolated Indian Community 145 air miles from the nearest road. Freight at that time was 13 cents a pound so we had to travel light. ‘On the way’ to Sandy we went east to Brighton and Mac and Helen took Bob, Marlene, her 11 year old sister Betty Anne and Glen, to Expo 67 in Montreal. We have no letters from this period.]
M.P.S. : Barry : 26 July 1967 : “Darlings,
Thanx for your letter and Marlene’s P.C. This to welcome you to Sandy Lake. TORFRIDA used to play at being a Red Injun Chinquachchook??
We had DAVID DICK [old clergy friend] and his daughter Doreen now the secy. of the Ruler of Swaziland but had a job in Toronto in Govt. office and so interested in Sandy lake ‘cos she typed that copy of STEVENS going to Sandy Lake which we read. She knew all about it. Small place this world eh no?
DAVID DICK’S wife died and we went to LADY MEARS [wife of Sir Frank Mears, Whitehouse, Inveresk - huge garden full of gooseberries.] funeral last week. Lovely to sit with MA BARTIE [Mrs John Bartholomew, Manor House, Inveresk - mapmakers] and ROBBIE [Bartholomew].
MEG LOW my girlhood friend in Blair [gowrie] took a stroke on Sat night and died on Sunday forenoon. Funny, I thought Sunday lunch time I’d ring up so I said ‘Meg? This is Peg.’ and lo! JENNIFER’S [Lamond] voice said ‘I’m afraid Aunty PEGGY Auntie MEG died two hours ago.’ She was cutting a meat loaf being watched by JENNIFER when she staggered and JENNIFER caught her and laid her down. She was never conscious again. What a blessing she died, for herself and them all. But what a week-end for JENNIFER and MARGARET [Lamond, Jennifer’s aunt] and JANET[Lamond, sister of MEG, mother of JENNIFER, sister-in-law of MARGARET]. Dad took part in the funeral service.
I hope you had a lovely time at expo and with the Morris. She’s a blithe soul is MORAG [Morris] eh no?
But nobody like our new daughter-in-law. You should hear the reports we give her. We had a lovely six weeks. Should have cut it short by a week. DAVID and JEAN had too much on their plates without us. We didn’t realise. Nice letter from Peg who was in ALI [Macdonell’s boyhood] town St Albert [Sask.] and had seen WILL CAMERON [childhood friend, Kirkmichael] at Meadowlake Sask. An awful lot of lakes eh no? Love to you all and GLEN. M.S.’
D.S.S. : Barry : 19 August 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
I wish you and Glen a length of happy days at Sandy Lake (will the next boy be called Sandy?) and blessings in the work you do together now.
Be sure and study weather conditions thoroughly and tell me what time of year I could choose to come and see you before my 75th year (if ever I reach it!) for my first experience of Marlene’s hospitality makes me long for more. Indeed I think you’re both ideally matched, Bobby having if anything the better of the bargain.
Today I have written and told DAVID, what lack of an address made it impossible to tell him before, that £1000 is on Deposit Receipt in his name at the Clydesdale Bank and I think I can tell you confidently that if you decide to make your Scotland visit next summer I can put another £250 at your disposal to cover traveling expenses in this country. So lets exchange ideas on this subject during the early part of this winter.
Ever since I came back I’ve suffered from the lack of sleep which your too too warm Canadian summer caused me and although I have taken duty nearly every Sunday and officiated on Thursday at MAGGIE SCOTT’S [daughter of Dr Scott, family Dr in Musselburgh] wedding to SANDY MARSHALL I don’t feel quite 100% yet. RUTH [Macdonnell] was one of the bridesmaids and the RANSFORDS [Kay’s in-laws] and Mrs MOSS [Jimmy’s mother-in-law] and SUE [d. of Mrs Moss] came north for it --- asking for you and sending love.
What a lovely time you gave us, memorable both in its Winnipeg and McKenzie Island aspects. Ever so many thanks and much Love to all. Daddy.”
P.S. David Dick’s daughter Doreen in Canada a year or two ago came across the Sandy lake documents and typed and duplicated them. So it was her work you shewed us.
M.P. S. : Barry : 26 Aug 1967 : “My Darlings,
How are you? I send my sympathy Marlene. Nobody was ever so sick as I was beginning a Babe but it passes - praise be. Take care of yourself. Can you get an Indian woman to work for you? Or can they keep houses? Anyway they could do something. Why ‘winter homes’ and ‘summer homes’? Is that for the hot months and the cold[Shelter of bush in winter - anti-fly breeze off river bank in summer].
LINTY [Moffatt] and MEG [Macdonell] are both to have babies. LINTY due next week and MEG on 5th Jan. As LINTY says that would be 25, quarter century, and now ‘Penelope’ comes to Sandy lake. Cheers.
We are having Population Explosion dinned into to us and nobody should have more than two! but plenty room in N. Ontario!!!
David will be settling down in Jamaica now. Please in your next say EXACTLY what your address is.
No, sure enough we forgot to bring the whisky flask with us. Forgot to pack it alas! You’ll get it when you come or when Dad comes to you.
We were both exhausted when we got home and have had to rest and rest although Dad preaching every Sunday and doing funerals and weddings for ministers on holiday.
Spend your money Bob on getting things put right - stoves, mowers, hydro etc. The Hudson’s Bay men must have theirs O.K? Do hope the white women are friendly and help Marlene. How sad about the wee boy. [Drowned, Glen’s age]. Take care of GLEN. Is he speaking yet? We haven’t seen Mrs TILLMAN [wife of Wpg. Dean of Theology]. Have we missed her do you think? Do hope you’re getting your home fresh and clean. Much Love and all success and Good wishes. Go slowly Marlene and go to bed a lot. M.S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 29 August 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
Just a very short 'advice’ notice. Today for posting tomorrow I have put in an envelope to go by sea mail a Penguin of Langlands Piers Ploughman in modern English which I liked very much while reading it in Iona. He and the Venerable Bede are wonderful gentlemen with whom to keep company. And I have included something I meant to bring for your use either in Church or at home -an Iona Book Mark. It came only yesterday having been on order for several weeks before we left for Canada.
And an apology! Sorry to have caused you a disappointing search. We really meant to bring the flask in case we ourselves should be 'grippit’ in the flight. So now you have to look forward to carrying it in your hip pocket next westward light.
WILL CAMERON [Kirkmichael] and his wife left for Canada last Thursday. He says he knows another Sandy lake in Manitoba.
Mummy and I are still recovering from our Canadian heat-exhaustion. But I’m still busy at the weekends. It will be GLENISLA this weekend and next.
Love to all and blessings on the work. Daddy.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 11 September : 1967 : “Darlings,
So desolate. I got an air letter returned from Sandy Lake (not called for). Where is Favourable Lake? [mine-site that gives S.L. its P.O. so it is not confused with all the other Sandy Lakes in Canada.]
Do hope Marlene is feeling better. PENELOPE MOFFATT arrived in Cambridge at 8 a.m. on 8th September - nearly 8 lbs with masses of black hair. That makes 24. 25+26 on the way. What about the population explosion? I am knitting a shawl for LOIS MARY [must have been prescient, not born till April 68] - special effort.
JEAN [Scotter], IAN , ALISON  and KATIE  live in a caravan two fields away for three weeks and ALISON (S’pore) and two eldest daughters [MYRA 12, ELSPETH 10] arrive today for four days then on to Tarves where more room.
But JEAN goes on with her caravan on Sunday - dropping IAIN at his school in Sedberg. He is very slim (age 15) and very sweet natured and helpful and nice. KATIE keeps us all in order.
Dad preaching every Sunday. We all went to Glenisla where he preached y’day and had a picnic in Glenshee. JEAN has a huge Zephyr car for pulling the caravan. Very difficult to manipulate but I think she does very well.
LINTY very well and bright. She has a telephone at her bedside so we get her on the line at once.
Do hope you’ve got the Manse clean and bright. Get the white paint going. You seem to be very busy and what fun sailing on the rivers and lakes.
DAVID and JEAN had a wonderful welcome in Kingston [Jamaica]. JIMMY [S’pore] feeling very lonely with his two youngest only [WILLIAM 8, ROSEMARY 6] but ALISON flys back when she puts [MYRA 12, ELSPETH 10] into school. Hope this gets you. With ALL our love to you all 3. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry: 24 Sept 1967 : Sea mail, packet : “ Darlings,
This will take ages. I thought you keep yourself abreast with ‘Frontier’. It’s sometimes very good.
Hope things go well with you and that Marlene is able to feed Lois Mary. JEAN and I fought about that. She says it is pronounced Low-iss Mary and I’ve always said Loi’s. Which is it? Anyway it might be Peter. I went on referring to PENELOPE before she was born and when she was born KEITH said “Why NOT?”
Had a delightful long letter from MOIRA . She seems to be settling in well and the Jamaicans too. JEAN and her family went off in their big Zephyr and Caravan and then ALISON [S’pore] who was at Tarves for a week came back and put her two girls 10 [ELSPETH] and 12 [MYRA] into St Leonards and then came back for three nights. Loved having her.
Dad has been in bed all week. Got to the top step of a pulpit last Sunday and stepped forward and lo! a step DOWN. He jarred his back and his war arm which has been quite numb since 1917 jingled and burned and screamed with pain. Had to cancel his preaching today and Goodness knows for how long. Bad luck. He yells with the pain and can’t get anywhere to put it comfortably. One night he moaned, ‘I’m done -I’m done. What am I to do? What can I do?’ till I was crazy and I ventured to remind him we had been singing for 65 years:
Thy cross of grief or pain.’
Did you ever see a BULL with a Red Rag?
I won’t venture that again.
Will be writing air mail soon. I am knitting a shawl (magna opus) for ‘Peter’: full of mistakes but beautiful. Much Love Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 11 October : 1967 : “ Darlings,
How are you? So sad I’ve missed GLEN’S B’Day. I’ll keep his £1 till he comes over. I really will. Is our money any use to you over there? Am enclosing TESS’S letter. You are not the only one who has a tough job. The top executives (snobby) in Karachi have little or no interest in the Church and only ‘cos TESS runs two good Sunday Schools, Urdu and English, do they get a congregation at all. It’s very depressing, frustrating (is Kay’s recent word -for first time). You’ll just have to sing 520 :
[Workman of God! O lose not heart.....
Thrice blest is he to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field when he
Is most invisible....
He hides himself so wondrously
As if there were no God....
His ways are far above
Only by childlike love....]
Your Dad says, ‘We all have to sing that from time to time Peggy dear.’ Well I guess we have.
Dad’s arm healing. We get so old and infirm [71&70]. Rejoice in your youth. Long letter from EMMELINE [Moffatt] giving news of DAVID and JEAN and family’s visit. Loved the swimming pool.
LINTY been v ill. Thought she was dying of flu temp 104 and phoned JEAN to say they couldn’t come for day as planned (only one hour away) and JEAN said, ‘It’s your bosom!’ So it was and penicillin worked wonders and she’s O.K., nearly, again. Poor KEITH but as he said resignedly, ‘In sickness and in health.’ PRINCE CHARLES is in Trinity now but not taking Maths. PENELOPE TESSERA (means 4th) is the name: born 8th Sept.
No News. Much Love. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 1 October 1967 : “Darlings,
So glad Marlene is feeling better. Decided (I have) that four years must be your limit there and that you Both must have dentists appointments frequently to let you ‘get out’ to see the wurrrrruld. I remember that girl who visited you said she had to make dentists appointments just to get out.
What do you mean by your house being a ‘hang out’? Guess the same as MEG’S kitchen to all the Tarves children. MEG and ALI popped down to see us y’day and enjoyed your letter.
Re: your calligraphy. Sometimes you write like a boob of twelve and sometimes you write the most beautiful, elegant, fine writing ever.
All very interesting your work. All the best! Fancy being up against ‘meum and tuum’. We still have it here. I would get on with the Indians.
Have I told you of our evil days. Dad stepped DOWN into a pulpit and didn’t notice the step down (who would?) and bashed his war arm against the Bible board. Such pain as he has suffered. Goes to the Dundee Royal Infirmary now to have it Xrayed and bandaged. It is the nerves which are badly shattered and I am acting valet to the old gentleman. Studs etc flummox me and he has now a truss for a rupture and that’s an inconvenience too and a frustration.
Oh dear dear - the woes of old age. Rejoice in your youth my dears. So glad to have Marlene’s contribution in the letter and to know she’s better. MEG and ALI popped in to cheer us on Saturday. Children all so thrilled to have their mocassins!
The shawl grows bigger. Would never knit a two ply shawl again but loved doing it for LOWIS-MARY or Lois Mary.
Phoned LINTY - she coping and well. Dad says, ‘She has machines.’ but KEITH on telephone said, ‘I’m her best machine.’ MEG very happy now and looking very well. Loved having ALISON for some days alone before flying back to S’pore. Much Love, Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 18 October 1967 : “Darlings,
Here is the shawl for LOIS MARY - in plenty of time and sox for Bob.
It’s a unique shawl. Never was one knitted with more mistakes in it. Never again will I do one with two ply wool. Hope nobody will see the mistakes.
Winter began today here with cold and snow (not here) but in the north - lots of it. Dad’s arm is better-- praise be. I cannot live without my chauffeur and shopper. I’m so glad you’ve been out to see your doctor and your mum.
I’m sure you’ll both do a wonderful job among the Indians. I do pray for you and your work. Spiritual work is difficult everywhere and always was. Always a minority and sometimes a small one but always THERE. Much Love Mummy S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 21 October 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
I am sending off by sea mail some books for your winter reading and I hope to send a few more from time to time as the weeks go on. For Marlene I am sending (though I myself found our copy of it quite useful when I was left alone) a copy of the Penguin Cookery Book and, in the hope that the lake will be ‘bearing’ soon and that her piano will arrive a copy of the Penguin Book of Carols ; and for Bobby a Commentary on S. Matthew and a Penguin Book of Quotations.
Later on I hope to send other Gospel Commentaries and a Rogets Thesaurus and books about the inhabitants of Mexico and of the South Seas and a book on Fishing.
We had a visit yesterday afternoon - all too short - from LORNA BROWNIE who came over by boat and intends after seeing some other folk in Scotland and England to fly back from Amsterdam over the Pole to Vancouver to see her daughter there. She was looking well and had happy recollections of your wedding and of the joy and gladness prevalent on the occasion of GLEN’S arrival.
You’re own P.C. from Red Lake came in a day or two ago. Hope you enjoyed your Presbytery and home visit.
This letter should also advise you to expect another parcel posted yesterday - a shawl of M.P.S.’s knitting. Her own letter advising you about it is, she tells me, in the parcel.
I was just beginning to get over my Canadian exhaustion when in a strange pulpit I stepped into a void and gave my wounded arm and its appurtenances a mighty wrench. That was quite a month ago and I still feel the effects.
We hope to take MYRA  and ELSPETH  next weekend to Tarves, I to preach at Barthol Chapel. Love to all. Daddy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : ? November 1967 : “Darlings,
The lovely case of nuts - such gorgeous ones they are - arrived today. Thank you very much. You’re early with your Christmas!! in your far away retreat.
The enclosed is a jumper I knitted myself - every stitch of it - a mammoth work. I had to do it ‘cos I got the wool from JANET LAMOND. It was in MEG LOW’S house when she died complete with pattern. MEG never got it done.
I’ll be writing air mail so won’t say any more. The news will be old by the time you get it. Sent an aeroplane to GLEN but not the right one. Too advanced and NOT the one I wanted. Much Love to you ALL. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry: 5 November 1967: “Darlings
Hope all goes well. We had two days in Edinburgh and went to the YOEMAN TWINS Silver Wedding - a lovely feast and dance on Co-op Rooms. They look very well and liker each other than ever. They had their bridesmaids and best men and and all as twenty five years before. Their minister didn’t come - but Dad made a very good speech. Lovely meeting old friends again. Lots of people asking for you. We paid a hurried visit to JEANNIE FORD [Bakers] before the event, sitting watching tele with her two aunts. They reminded me that you went to their tele to see the Coronation. JEANNIE is so good at remembering you all and keeps on writing long long letters to me!!! Such a trial.
A letter from DAVID [Jamaica] today shows he didn’t understand about your money being sent to him. He doesn’t take things in. Nobody has got any of AUNT MARY’S money - estate not wound up but as you could only get it through DAVID then (I don’t understand) it was arranged that it would be put in his name. Now he writes he has only got his own - not yours too. Anyway Dad got up bright and early today and wrote to him but he is stupid like me and needs things made so plain to him. We are all gasping for AUNT MARY’s £1000. JEAN bought a caravan with it. MEG (ALI says) has spent it five times over. I don’t like A.M’s lawyer. Not a gentleman like our PEECHY [of Reid, Johnson, Bell and Henderson].
I went to the Associates Meeting of the Iona Community - Dundee Branch to meet the new Leader. He is too good and too sincere and too fine to be leader. No ‘Hallelujah I’m a bum’ about him. Wonder if it will survive. Kay has stopped being a member - now only an associate.
Don’t get discouraged about your work. Bad luck the Chief was in charge of the money. Keep on loving him - does he respond? Are the others afraid of him?
DAVID not in love with the climate of Kingston. Alas! and so gorgeous at Strawberry Hill where the MOFFATTS are. A lovely photo of your family picnicking which Dad sending on to all the family for Xmas. Hope they all appreciate it. Let brotherly love continue. Do the Indians have rheumatism? If so send their home made cure. Much Love M.S.”
D.S.S : Barry : 15 November 1967 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
By the post with which I’m sending this letter I’m sending also another two books --- Rogets Thesaurus and a book on Fishing. The latter I hope will be of help to you in what leisure hours you may have - Marlene ‘dressing’ for flies. The former may be of use in whatever little articles you may be sending out to a hungry press as the eventful years pass by.
Mummy and I go twice a week for yet another fortnight for treatment in Arbroath, she for her knees and I for my wounded arm. We had an evening out with the SPANKIES at the modern Fife Hotel - Fernie, very opulent.
DAVID made a mistake about the money I put to his account. He must have forgotten that it was by his suggestion I sent it out of my funds so soon - in order that he might make arrangements for the right working of this United Church computer. I have written reminding him.
Mummy and I have been invited to go to Colchester [SCOTTERS] and Cambridge [MOFFATTS] over Christmas and New year and hope to spend a little over a fortnight, leaving on the 18th. Over the 3rd of December I expect to be in Glasgow taking Anniversary Services for J.G.S.S.THOMSON who a generation ago succeeded A. Gunn as Minister of St David’s Knightswood when A.G.G. returned to New Zealand. [Gunn, Student Assistant, Inveresk,1948 ; J.G.S.S.T.,1946] J.G.S.S. tells me that A.G.G. is not well having had a second stroke.
Did I tell you that FLO’s [WILKIE, a Stiven cousin of D.S.S. at Longforgan] husband JACK has been operated on for prostate. We called at Longforgan a week ago and found him up and getting on - but looking considerably older.
I still have more books to send... hope the carols and cookery were welcome! I sent some photos (taken in Canada) some days ago and thought them not bad. Love to all Daddy.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 4 December 1967 :
“How are you? MOIRA [Stiven,17, U of Winnipeg] writes she and RAY [McIlwain] hope to go to you at Christmas - how lovely for them. We are just back from preaching in St David’s, Knightswood, Glasgow. Dr J.G.S.S. Thomson former Assistant and MALCOLM and KAY HARE, former Assistant, came over for tea. It was lovely meeting them all again. The HARE’S have two children. All working hard in their Parishes. THOMSONS still grounded in their Faith Mission of Wallyford and my word what a wonderful prayer meeting they had for fifteen mins before Evening Service. I had thought to see oldies and beardies and lo! it was all young people. Three young men going in for the Ministry. The former Minister before Thomson was GUNN (former Assistant). He is now back in New Zealand and poor soul has had two strokes just recently and very ill. We all prayed for him in Church. Thomson says Dad taught him ‘tolerance’ (laugh?). All recall the Inveresk days with happiness.
I posted a shawl for Penelope and a sweater (I knitted it myself) for you. If it is hopeless give it to an Indian.
The Thomsons just back from a lecture tour in Canada and full of a place out of Calgary ‘Prairie Bible Institute’ where people work just for their living; live by Faith like the China Inland Mission. They are very solemn people, the Thomsons. You know how ribald Dad can be. He said he always knew P. B. I. stood for ‘Poor Bloody Infantry.’ That was received without a smile.
Dad was taking Anniversary Services. Lovely Church Extension Church and so well packed it was. Church not dead, in Glasgow anyway.
AUNT MARY’S money through now - each gets £1300 but DAVID not answered Dad’s business letter yet. Hope he is well enough OR is the heat too much for him. Take care of yourselves and Marlene and Love to you all. We go to Cambridge [Moffatts] on 18th. M.S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 18 December 1967 : “ My Dears,
specially Marlene who I have neglected. forty four years ago today I was married and how many years ago tomorrow were you married?
I phoned LINTY last night and they had forgotten their anniversary till late in the day. We have nothing to do but remember. Your silly old Dad sent 260 Christmas cards (home made) and of course we get 260 back and what to do with them I know not.
Anyway we are off to Cambridge at 10 p.m. tonight. KEITH [Moffatt] meeting us at 7 a.m. at Kings Cross. Hope his alarm goes off O.K. Dad baptises PENELOPE on Boxing Day and JEAN and BILL [Scotter] take us to Colchester with them after the event. Then home on 4th January to look forward to your coming in August(?)
How, ‘Family is your LIFE!’ And if you haven’t any, guess you have to find something else. Did you get KAY and TESS’S [Karachi] news letter. If not I’ll send you one. You’ll have to construe one next year. Very interesting it would be believe me. MEG [Macdonell] is being taken in to Aberdeen Hospital early ‘cos of snow so we hope we’ll be back in time. I could go and cook after she comes home.
The nuts are super. So many thanks for such an imaginative present. Take care of yourself Marlene. Did I tell you we had a visit from Mrs BROWNIE, Winnipeg. I was moaning about your mail once a week. Their’s was once in six months in frozen North but I guess not now. Much Love Granny.”
M. P. S. : Colchester : 27 December 1967 : “ Last letter for the year Darlings,
We came here yesterday after Dad baptised PENELOPE TESSERA in Trinity College Chapel. BILL and JEAN and family [Beady 19, Pon 15, Katie 7] came to Cambridge for the Ceremony and took us over here with them till 3rd January.
We are going to BETTY SIMPSON’S [daughter of ‘faither’ Bob Simpson and ‘mither’ Simpson of Easter Cowden farm near Musselburgh] for supper tonight. She lives quite near here and she and her husband are coming for lunch on Saturday.
Of course! I’ve never yet said how chuffed we were to get your telegram of Good wishes sent on from Barry to Cambridge. How good of you to remember [anniversary]. I hope you’ve had a happy Christmas and GLEN had a good Santa. It was a hectic but happy time with LINTY. The boys are not quite as wild as they were and HESTER [20mths] now walking and talking is most endearing and PENELOPE [4mths] the perfectly good baby. LINTY goes at 1000 miles an hour. Never saw such speed as she lives at but always time for everybody. She had twenty children from round about in for carols on Christmas eve and she played and sang with them and fed them on baked potatoes and sausages and ice cream and still feeding her baby. Don’t know how she does it : such energy and in her mini dresses looks like a twelve year old.
Now we are living deluxe at the Brigadiers. He is on holiday and cleaning out the hen house. Twenty hens they have. BEADY, PON, and KATIE all home for Christmas but JEAN has a woman all day and a batman but has a lot of entertaining to do.
Cambridge was hard on my knees - so damp and cold and rimey and so far Colchester bad too - low lying but all centrally heated like you Canadians.
BILL’S work now takes him all over the world and he goes to Canada some time soon to where soldiers are training. Hope you all keep well and happy. Looking forward to August 1968. A HAPPY NEW YEAR. Much Love Mummy S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : Christmas 1967 : CHRISTMAS CARD (home made)
Picture of house at Barry with Church behind it: Title: ‘His Kirk our Bield.’
Poem : Title: “A great joy which shall be to all people.”
God’ ancient bards had vision to foretell
A joy to be proclaimed by angel bands--
Joy of all people that on earth do dwell--
That hills would dance and trees would clap their hands.
A green hill and a heavy laden tree
Displayed the fruit of prophecy and psalm,
Where, working woeful victory, the Lamb
From a world’s sin a sinful world set free.
O Christian, of whatever name or tongue,
‘Tis thine to gladden others unto praise:
A doughty Christmas angel all thy days,
By thee obedient let this joy be sung,
Thine ear, thine own ear, waiting for the word
“Enter the joy, beloved, of thy Lord!”
“Christmas 1967 - New Year 1968 :
David and Margaret Stiven
Wish you (all)
Joyous Memories and Happy Hopes.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 9 January 1968 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
You will be - I’m sure - very interested to learn that your brother JAMES in a letter from Singapore received by us this morning exclaims against the bitter cold, and goes on to say that it is 75F. You will be equally surprised that when they received it your aged parents were shivering in their attic bedroom with a temperature of about 30F. It was quite amusing to us to read your description of the ‘Freeze up’ and its consequences but we were very glad to learn that you have received the books and parcels. There will be another consignment on its way soon. How are you liking the description of conditions in New Guinea and in Mexico? These, I think, are the last sent off. I thought that perhaps you would find it interesting and it may be helpful and even comforting to compare conditions.
Very glad to know that you have got the £1000 I sent through DAVID. As it turns out the division which I found I was able to make to each amounts now to £1300. But I don’t know how best to deal with your extra £300. Would it perhaps be best to retain it in my own hands and use it to purchase your plane tickets when you visit Scotland (I suppose that CAN be done from this end - after all they are RETURN tickets). Or would you prefer the Bank in Edinburgh to hold it for you in Blocked account. Or would you prefer me to ask DAVID if he can do with it what he did with the £1000. Just let’s know what’s what.
The insurance company reported yesterday that they had received your premium.
Our love and best wishes to you all (I hope the snow cat doesn't scratch!)
M.P.S. : Barry : 15 January 1968 : “ Darlings,
Your Christmas card arrived today and just have to write a line to say how lovely it is. What a lovely wife you have and such a beautiful son. So like LINTY’S FERGUS it’s not true.
Hope Marlene still looks as well. What a lovely setting for a photo and what an eager wee boy. You don’t say if he is talking yet.
We were intrigued by your poem. My clever poetic family are too much for me. Dad says in criticism, ‘You can preach Atonement but you can’t make it.’ That’s beyond my theological level.
I’ve been writing to MEG to say if she really thinks it will be a help if I came just to make meals. I always felt depressed when the Hallelujahs were over and one came back to the sink and the cooker. It’s a critical time and such changed days and treatment. We were never allowed a leg out of bed till the 10th day. Now they’re up and doing exercises at once. Oh well who knows the truth. Anyway WE had a lovely REST.
It’s enough to have KAY and TESS depressed in their work. Anyway you have a wife who will keep you up. Don’t let anybody get you down. Much Love. Mummy S.”
M.P.S. : Barry : 14 February 1968 : “Darlings,
Here’s a buckshee letter just to say LUCY arrived this morning in Hospital in Aberdeen. All well. Poor DAVID like DAVID’S JIMMY in Kingston [Jamaica] will have four females to cope with. But we are all very grateful. Guess you want a sister for GLEN - a refining influence - and Marlene, believe me, daughters give more comfort to your declining years than sons. Bobby of course the exception.
Do hope you keep well Marlene. Didn't do too much or have too many people coming. Begin as you mean to go on //------stop giving advice you silly old woman.
We’ve had a freezing spell - frightful - but thaw came at last and we can breathe. The old legs are bad and did I tell you I now have to cope with a Hiatus Hernia -- horrid it is. Oh how good it is to be young -- no aches and pains and fleet of foot. My old man is so good on the legs and feet. He can dance the Highland Fling like a young ‘un. I’m so grateful for him. He is preaching every Sunday in different places. Very interesting it is for him.
When does your thaw come? April? Beginning or end? Oh dear what a climate. Love to you all M.S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 11 March 1978 : “ Dear Marlene,
This is to welcome you home again after your happy visit to Red Lake, and to hope that your short holiday has done you a world of good. I don’t suppose that the frost is any less intense with you now as it was when you went away. We can feel a sniff of balmier air here now and it cheers up our ancient bones after quite a chilly winter - as winters go in Barry. I am hoping that with the better weather and if the chancellor of the exchequer is not too hard on petrol to explore the glens to the north of us and plan out expeditions for the time you are with us in the autumn. I forgot which way you intend to travel. I recollect that one way will be by air and one by sea. If it’s not too late for suggestions might it not be well to make the return voyage by SEA. That would enable you to take some things back to Canada with you less expensively than you would do by air-freight.
Dear Bobby --- I’m sending two more books by book post today. They are (1) a very readable translation of Homer’s Odyssey and (2) a Penguin edition of Montaigne’s Essays. I think that you - and Marlene too - are likely to enjoy both of them......
M.P.S. was addressing MEG’S Guild[Tarves] last week on “40 Years in the Manse”. The EDDIE YOEMAN family looked in on Saturday - remembering you - and JOCK [my dog] - kindly.
Our love to you all. Daddy.”
M.P.S : Barry : 15 March 1968 : “ Darlings,
My knees are so sore don’t have heart to write to anybody but I do think of you a lot. When is the DAY in April Marlene and how are you. You don’t moan about your legs darling. Is it veins? Anyway they’ll all go away when LOIS MARY comes. All forgotten. Do hope you can keep well and that all goes well when the great DAY comes. Take care of yourself. Happiest days of your life remember.
BILL [Scotter] had supper with JIMMY and ALISON in S’pore. He fairly gets around. KEITH [Moffatt] going to U.S.A. in August. Fare paid and fee and calling in at Jamaica for G’Granny’s 90th B’day. When do you come? Have you got your itinerary fixed up yet?
KAY [Karachi] comes home Sept. to go to Moray House Training College to take his Dip. Ed. I was there 50 years ago. Hope it’s more inspiring now. So many of our Ministers are teaching now. The Youth don’t come to Church but when you teach, anyhow you get them in front of you willy nilly. Dad fierce about neglect of Parish Ministry but of six young crofters in Iona only one came to Church and none of the teenage Oban scholars ever came when on holiday. They did when 1st we went but stopped. Same all over. So what to do?
Everybody asking for you and Dad showing off your Cree language or whatever it is. Looks like geometry! Much Love esp. to Marlene. Mummy S.”
D.S.S. : Barry : 18 March 1968 : “Dear Bobby and Marlene,
How happy to learn that the Bookings have now been made and that we are to expect you between the 7th of August and the 10th of September. I have taken a note of those dates and of your flight numbers and I hope myself to be meeting you at Prestwick on the 7th - my father’s and mother’s wedding anniversary.
Naturally we want to see as much of you as we can but it is understandable that you will want to see as many of the rest of the family as you can and that means that you will have to move around fairly extensively. I think that I said that I'd put £250 at your disposal while you are over here (that of course is ADDITIONAL to the £300 which is already earmarked on a Deposit Receipt as your own) and I think that one way of spending part of it would be on the hire of a car for you for a month, or indeed for the whole period of your stay. Just say the word and give me an indication of the capacity required and I’ll try to be meeting you with it on 7th August.
I am informing JEAN, MEG and LINNET of your dates and asking them if any periods between those terms are not suitable for a visit from you and then I’ll try to fit in the periods that are suitable with the greatest time economy. JEAN is likely to be the most difficult to fit in, as that period may quite likely be their holiday. LINTIE is likely to be home in August, for at that time KEITH may quite probably be on your side of the water. The MACDONELL holiday at ROBBIE BARTHOLOMEW’S cottage at Broughton should be over by that time. So will ours (for while they are at Broughton I expect to be taking duty at Tarves).
Tomorrow I go to Perth on duty. I have to take a wedding there. My old friend DAVID DICK, whose daughter did the Steven of Sandy Lake Research, lost his wife last summer. An old friend of his ELLA’S lost her husband. So tomorrow the widower and the widow will be wed - one of the most sensible things I’ve heard about for a long time and I’ll be glad to tie the knot. And on Thursday M.P.S. and I hope (if the blizzards abate!) to go through to Kilbarchan for the wedding of SANDRA RUSSELL who came to help M.P.S. two summers while we were on Iona. M.P.S. can get about in the car. Her knees rebel at other ways of getting about. But she is to see another specialist about the beginning of April.
I’ll send a Penguin St Mark. Just a wee bit ADVANCED but interesting and helpful.
See that you take care Marlene.
Our love to you all. Hasta la vista, Daddy”
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