Monday, 20 May 2013

"When a boy ye left me weeping..."

"When a boy ye left me weeping
To the kind Creator's keeping"

When the Gemmill family cast their fate to the wind
and applied for immigration to Canada
all in the family were accepted, but one wee boy
He had a club foot, or club feet

Through years of struggle he made his way, 
becoming a journalist 
a family man, an occasional or sometime 

After twenty-one years of separation
he was able to follow his family to Canada
to connect again with those who had left him behind
to embrace again his parents, his ten brothers and sisters

heal that devastation 
seal the lingering
rift of the heart

This is a rare gem from my father's side of the family
the poem and family tree Andrew Gemmill created
upon returning to Scotland, after having made the great journey
to see again the family who had left him behind

to relocate all within 
a single text

"Genealogical Tree  & Poem" located and transcribed by my uncle Dave,
his notes below


Jonina said...

This is such a touching story. I cannot imagine leaving one of my children behind. I do not say this as a judgement of their decision to do so. The times were tough and things were different then ~ or are they?. Not for all I am quite sure... thank you Joanne for sharing this touching story. ~ All my relations ~ Jonina

Joanne Arnott said...

I am quite sure that it wasn't their decision to make-- refused entry by the immigration official on a medical basis, a re-routing of family plans in the final months or weeks or days or even hours before departure.

Another friend mentioned that in steerage, medicals were required, but not for first class travelers, so in his family, the relatives with poor health were brought over on the more expensive (but safer) ticket.

A shocking turn for an 18 year old, to have his sprawl of a family depart, leaving him to come up with a new plan, and a new way of being himself-- a sudden, massive change in circumstance.