Tom McKerley, co-author of Bloodlines – Touch Not the Cat (Summertime, 2012), shares his latest blog with us. (The original blog can be found at www.touchnotthecat.com.)
Telegram from The Queen
As a retired IT consultant – nowadays a genealogy mystery novelist – I spend a lot of time indoors in the seclusion of my study.
In my working days while researching my genealogy, I would have cherished this abundance of free time, but when encounters with ancestors start to outnumber the encounters with contemporaries it is time to do something about it.
To compensate for my hermitic life and mingle a bit more with the world outside, I recently signed on as a volunteer with Oxfam, to work in their bookshop in Troon two afternoons a week.
The Oxfam Troon branch had been kind enough to organise a book signing event for our genealogy mystery novel Bloodlines – Touch Not the Cat, so I felt like doing them a favour in return.
The task of sorting and selling second-hand books gave me much more than I expected. Especially when my genealogist’s and writer’s eye found something very interesting inside a book that had been donated to the shop.
At first it looked like an ordinary telegram. Apparently it had been used as bookmark.
It also seemed ‘dated’ and indeed a postage stamp on the back of the envelope indicated it was sent in 1975.
My next find was even more of a surprise.
The telegram, though ordinary looking, turned out to be from The Queen, congratulating a couple in Kilmarnock, a town a few miles from Troon, on their diamond wedding anniversary.
“What a sad story when you think about it,” I said to my colleague.” I bet this telegram was not meant to end this way.”
“Well,” she answered, “either they were so happy with it they used it as a bookmark, or maybe, since they must have been in their eighties, they simply forgot where they put it.”
In both cases it would be nice to inform someone it had been found. The “diamond” couple were unlikely to be around. However I volunteered to do some research on their children or grandchildren thinking they might be quite pleased with this genealogy find.
After only a few days, I discovered both the “diamond” couple’s obituaries, as well as their children and grandchildren. I managed to track down a grandson in Edinburgh who confirmed his mother was clearing her house in Kilmarnock and was delighted that we had discovered this telegram.
So, all is well that ends well … one happy woman in Kilmarnock.
– Tom McKerley, co-author of the genealogy mystery novel Bloodlines Touch Not the Cat, www.touchnotthecat.com