Peter was my mother’ s father and his birthday was August 31 which is why he is on my mind. He came from a Scottish family who were miners on both sides. Peter had two brothers and four sisters and he was the fourth born. . All the others were born in Scotland but he was born in the United States of America.
Times were tough in Scotland and his father and a brother, friend or neighbour decided to try the coal mines of Pennsylvania. The men easily found work and things went well outside the home but inside not so well. The women were homesick and cried constantly. The men each tossed a coin for staying or returning to Scotland. The other family stayed and prospered but Peter and his family did not prosper back home. In fact, five of the kids left for New Zealand when they were old enough.
Peter got a job as a gardener and chauffeur for a landowner in Hawkes Bay. He was a great gardener and a rotten car driver. He tended to say ‘Whoa!’when he wanted the vehicle to stop rather than using the brakes. He net Tilly from Ireland, married her and they produced my mother. They lived on a dairy farm not far from where I grew up.
Tilly died when Mum was twenty. Peter sold the farm and went back to visit his sisters in Scotland. War was declared while he was on the way. Back home, he worked in a munitions factory. When he returndd to New Zealand, he lived with us. He was in charge of vegetable, Mum looked after the flowers and Dad mowed the lawns. He was an indulgent grandparent.
Near the end of his life, he moved to live with his older sister and he died in the hospital of that town of throat cancer. My granddad was a lovely soft spoken man who could always be counted on to give candy to my sister and me without telling our mother.
I am glad I was able to know him so well.