Wednesday, 31 March 2010
By Walt Grant
Here’s a story about my father. He was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. His parents had immigrated here from Scotland. His father, Alexander, was in the granite business and traveled frequently between Quincy (which then had several large granite quarries) and Barre, Vermont which is still a major granite-producing center.
On one trip, when he was carrying a large sum of money, his body was found on the railroad tracks in White River Junction, Vermont. Robbed and murdered. The crime remains unsolved to this day.
My father and his sister were about two and four years old at the time and were taken back to Scotland by their mother. Shortly thereafter, she also died - of pneumonia. The two kids were raised separately by relatives, my father by his uncle Walter Farrell (which is where I got my name).
My father (an American citizen by birth, of course) returned to the States when he was in his early twenties. He never talked much about his youth.
An interesting aside and somewhat of a mystery: I visited Ireland in the early eighties and was walking down the street in Glenties town (near where my mother had grown up) with one of my Irish cousins. An older woman greeted us on the street and my cousin introduced us. She exclaimed, "You must be Tommy's son."
I told her I was and asked her how she had known Tommy. She said she had grown up on a farm adjacent to the one where Tommy lived with his Uncle Walter. What an amazing coincidence, I thought. She gave me the location of the farm, just a couple of miles outside Glenties. Later that day, I visited the farm and talked briefly to the current owner. She confirmed that the place had belonged to a Walter Farrell many years before.
When I came back home, I asked my mother if she had ever known that Dad had lived within just a few miles of her back in Ireland. She just shook her head and refused to talk about it.
And, to this day, that's all I know about this curious set of facts.
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]