A FAMILY BIOGRAPHY OF SORTS
It struck me as I was reading through the draft of this narrative that many of the younger generation are literally a world apart and don't know a thing about one another. I thought I would remedy that by writing a little biography about each of my siblings and their offspring.
So starting at the oldest, my sister, Kit, was born in the house my parents lived in at 61 Sorby Street, Parkhead on May 28, 1908. On December 31, 1929, she was married to William Albert Gunn, known by his middle name of Albert. They started their married life in a top floor apartment at 4 Bouverie Street, Yoker, Glasgow. Albert worked in Halleys Limited, a company that built commercial vehicles, buses, lorries, and specialized in fire engines. Kit and Albert had sad experiences with their early offspring. Their first boy-child died when he was only a few months old -- and they lost another boy at birth. Finally, in 1936, daughter Catherine was born and grew up to be a real treasure. And in her mother's golden years, takes great care of her. Catherine was a nurse by profession and retired in 1995 from the position of Nursing Sister in an Oban hospital. She married Donald MacGregor in the early sixties. Donald was a telephone linesman with TeleCom. Kit's second surviving child is Gordon, now in his late 40's. He trained as an engineer and when his apprenticeship was over, he went to sea as a junior engineer. He was impressed by New Zealand so much that he finally went out there to stay and later met and married a Scots girl there. Unfortunately, although they had a son, the marriage did not last.
Kit's other grandchild, Fiona, Catherine's daughter, trained as a nurse in Scotland and went to Australia, where she married and had a child of her own, but in 1995 went back to live in Oban.
The next in age in my family was Alec, born 1910 and died 1922. I have covered Alec's brief story elsewhere in this narrative.
A baby brother, John, was born in 1913, and died at nine months old.
I came next, born September, 1915. I married Bessie Fraser -- born 1914, died 1980. Our children, in order, were Margaret, born May 10, 1936. Margaret married Ed Brouse in Philadelphia in 1959. Their children are David, born 1963 and Joel, born 1972.
Next of our children is Helen, born February 15, 1939 in Yoker, Glasgow. She married Joe Fizell in 1957 and I have written about that elsewhere in this tale. Their children are Stephen William, born January 13, 1961 and died December 30, 1989. If it seems I have not given much space to Stephen in writing this memoir, it is only because I did not want to stir up the pain we all felt when Stephen passed away, but I'd be doing him and the family an injustice if I did not give him the credit and honor he deserved. None of us can be faulted for the feelings and failings we are born with and this is doubly true for those of us born to live with a different lifestyle to the norm. Stephen was so borne and it ultimately caused his early death from Aids.
Stephen was a very accomplished hairdresser who made a successful career for himself and had a very large circle of friends. His parents and family loved him to the end and his memorial service at our church was attended by so many people, it was standing room only. No one can ease the pain of parents who lose a child and when death is seen approaching this way, and knowing the inevitability and finality of death, the suffering of the family can only be imagined.
Helen and Joe's second child, Elizabeth Anne, known as Beth, was born October 17, 1962 and is still going strong. Finally, Wendy Helen came along, born June 15, 1967. She married Luigi Rosanova on October 6, 1990 and they have a son, Luke, born August 4, 1994.
My number three daughter is Elizabeth -- born June 30, 1943 in Airthrey Castle, Scotland. She married John Dyer in December 1962. John served more than 30 years in the Royal Navy and retired as Chief Petty Officer in 1992. They have two children, Margot, born February 9, 1966 in England, and Andrew, born June 30, 1967, when they were stationed in Singapore. Today, Margot is a chef in a Portsmouth Hotel. Andrew was a Captain in the British Army and served in the Gulf War, in Northern Ireland, Belize, and Germany. He came out of the Army in 1994 and rode on a bicycle across the U.S., coast to coast in 44 days. He then went to Morocco to work for a Christian educational mission and is now with British Airways in cargo management.
Our youngest daughter, Wilma, born September 2, 1951, came to the U.S. with us in 1971 and worked as a merchandiser. She eventually became a department manager. Wilma married in 1980 and went to live in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. She had two children, Heather, born September 9, 1980 and Peter, born July 19, 1982. Peter is an ice hockey buff and also plays baseball in Summer. The marriage broke up in 1990.
Next in line after me is Peggy, born August 1918 in Glasgow. Peggy married Peter Greer at the end of the war and they went to live in Milton, Dunbartonshire. They had two children, Margaret, born 1945 and William, born 1950. Margaret married Campbell McColl, an ex-Royal Navy Petty Officer and now lives in Cheltenham, England. They have no children. William went to Canada and is in the police department in Cambridge. Peter died -- at age 61 -- in 1970.
My brother, Robert, was also born in Glasgow, in February 1925. Robert grew up in Dalmuir and trained as an engine fitter in John Brown's shipyard. He married Anne Law in the 1950's and they have four children, all grown and married -- Anne, Helen, John, and Robert.
The baby of the Cathro family is Mary, born May 9, 1927. Mary married Billy Rogers in 1951 and, initially, lived in a very old apartment building in Old Kilpatrick, where their two oldest boys, Billy, Jr. and Marshall, were born. They sailed to Australia and settled in New South Wales. They had it rough in their early years there, but Billy was a real craftsman and built houses and furniture and they were able to have a comfortable home, eventually. It was a blow to us all when Billy died in 1993 and we share in Mary's sorrow. Mary and Billy had another two sons -- born in Australia and, of course, they are all grown up now and all but one -- Ian, married with children.
When Mary and Billy were courting, Billy had a Sunbeam -- a 500cc motorcycle with a shaft drive, which was the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles. It just purred. They toured the entire country on that bike from John O'Groats in the north to Devon and Cornwall in the south. When the family came along, Billy gave up the bike. And I remember his first car, a Morris 12, which was very popular in its time. It had an interesting feature built in and I think it was the only car ever to have hydraulic jacks built in, one at each corner. I had one like it later, just before I got the Ford Prefect in 1959.We had our first reunion after 25 years, when we all went to Scotland in 1983. I went over again in 1988 and Mary and Billy were over there that year also. Later, of course, they came to the U.S. for Wendy's wedding as did Peggy, Campbell and Margaret.