Sherril Claus oral history interview

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Sherril Claus oral history interview

Material Information

Title:
Sherril Claus oral history interview
Creator:
Hernandez, Kristy
University of South Florida--Libraries--Oral History Program
Language:
English

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Genre:
Oral histories ( lcsh )
Online audio ( local )

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General Note:
Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Kristy Hernandez.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
C46-00005 ( USFLDC DOI )
c46.5 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Audio

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Full Text
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text Joshua Hume (JH): I am Joshua Hume.
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Kristina Hernandez (KH): Im Kristina Hernandez.
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Sherril Claus (SC): Im Sherril Claus. S-h-e-r-r-i-l, last name is C-l-a-u-s. And yes, Santa is my great-great uncle.
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KH: So, thank you for taking time to meet with us. I appreciate it.
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SC: My pleasure.
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JH: Okay, so, Ms. Claus, you work here at the Dunedin Museum
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SC: Im a volunteer.
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JH: Volunteer. So could you briefly describe to us what you do here?
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SC: Pretty much whatever needs doing. Some Saturdays, Im on the desk. I welcome visitors, answer questions, a lot of questions, talk about Dunedin sometimes; I get questions about the town, so Im sort of reception, welcoming. I do a lot of research for projects.
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I researched for History Comes Alive last year, this year, and Ive already got most ofwell, part of itdone for next year, and thats the program where we go out to our mid-19th century cemetery.
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We feature people, and we put some tables and chairs up, artifacts and scrapbooks we make. Historical society people and volunteers and sometimes local acting students dress up in period clothes, sometimes vintage clothes, and tell those peoples stories.
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KH: So you seem really passionate.
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SC: Totally.
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KH: So do you feel like this is a calling on your life, or is it just something that just like?
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SC: Oh, no, Im a retiree. Ive had three different careers, and now Im retired, so my life is travel and giving back to the community thats been so good to me.
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KH: Okay.
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JH: All right, so now, museumis kind ofDunedin, so, its kind of Scottish. So, would you say one is more than the other, or did this?
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SC: No, the museum is the Dunedin Historical Museum. Within Dunedin, we have some notable populations and some interesting history. Our history here is that, originally, there was a little settlement of farmers, and a mercantile started here; it was run by a man named George Jones, and he just referred to this as Jonesboro, as opposed to some of the other towns that had names of people that lived there.
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He wasnt one of our pioneers, necessarily. In 1876, James Ogilvie Douglas and John Somerville emigrated from Edinburgh to build a better life for their families, who had not come over yet. They opened a mercantile; now weve got competition and commerce. Out towards the marina, across the corner of Main Street and Alternate 19, plots are up there on the map.
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And they figured outbeing what we call Kenny Scotts, which is smart, frugalthey figured out that if they petitioned Tallahassee and got the post office license for our community, they could name it. They did. Jones eventually moved his business somewhere else, not just for that reason but a lot of things were happening at this time.
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And they named it Dunedin. I think I can approximate Gaelic, Gaelic is what they call Scots-Irish, Gaelic. Anyway, Scots-Gaelic, Dn ideann, which basically means castle or point on a high place. Its the translation of Edinburgh, and that was their hometown. And thus, the love affair began.
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We havethe Highlanders are our middle school; Falcons are our high school; we have, I think, two grades of pipe band in the middle school, three in the high school, and we have three grades in the city, and theyll all be featured at things like the Highland Games. Our 50th Highland Game is happening next weekend. So were not just Scottish, weve also got a lot of Irish.
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Its a very big Celtic community. All seven Celtic nations are represented. That would be Scotland, Ireland, Walesweve got three of those countries here in your interview projectIsle of Man, Brittany, Galicia. Well, thats it. Thats seven. I had to count them. And Galicia is in Spain; Brittany is in France.
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KH: You talked earlier in our conversationI wanted to bring upthat was your outfit.
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SC: Yes.
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KH: You are wearing tartan colors.
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SC: A tartan. Tartan is the term, a Scot traditionally would have called it a plaid, p-l-a-i-d, and differentit evolved to what it is today. Plaids and tartans were only registered starting in the second half of the 19th century; about the same time Dunedin was getting started, ironically. But every clanare you familiar with the clan system in Scotland and, to an extent, in Ireland?
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KH: Yes.
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SC: Okay. Every clan had their colors, and it was what their women wove, rarely identical and often based, very similarly, by geography because, originally, it was, of course, wool dyed with plants and vegetable die and maybe some mineral dyes, depending on where they were.
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So youll see a lot of blue, green. If you get over to the Western Isles, you will see some amazing yellow, the McLeod bumblebee tartan, Leod, Buchannan, theres a few like that. So, as time went by, clergy tartans were purple for many, many years because a clergy wore purple, which clergy is Clark, and it became the Clark tartan, Clark for clerk.
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So during wartime and their travels, everybody knew they were neutral; you didnt attack the clergy. So tartan has a lot of history. Every family is very proud of their tartan. After the Battle of Culloden, 1745, 1746, when the English won, they forbade all things Highland, particularly tartan and bagpipes. So much of the American folk music you hear with violins is actually old bagpipe melodies.
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They started playing violin; they played their tunes, so they didnt lose them because it was, of course, a very oral history at that time. And, at that time, they took their plaid and buried it in whiskey casks. No Scot would everI mean, you take good care of your plaid. They werent wearing anything resembling a kilt yet; they were still they wore what we would call the great kilt, which was about six to eight meters of tartan wrapped around.
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Theyd pleat it on the ground, lay down, wrap a belt around it and throw it over their shoulders. It was a cape, it was a cover, women wore it as an arisaid, which was a skirt with a big piece that came up over. It was a cloak; they slept in it at night. It was everything to them. So tartans, the plaid, very important.
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Mine is the set, one of the two sets of clan Gunn, G-u-n-n, which was a clan that originated from Vikings. Up in the very, very, very northeast of Scotland, Caithness County, is where the clan center is. This tartan is the set that was ultimately registered when they started doing that. Wilson did it late in the 19th century. The colors in my tartan representthe Weathered Tartan, its called, very rare.
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Not all clans have a Weathered Tartan, only the oldest clans. The color is the best modern approximation from scraps that were left after the tartan was proscribed. Fifty years later they withdrew that; bagpipes and tartan were again allowed, and thats when they started, really, trying to classify because Queen Victoria loved all things Scottish. Shes the one that largely resulted in it being restored to favor, if you will.
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This tartan is what wouldve happened if you put whats called an Ancient Tartan, which was the berries and vegetablesnot very bright. The woman who had a tartan shawl on, hers was an Ancient. It doesnt have the deep, chemical colors we have in the Modern tartans. After 50 years buried in very loamy, peaty soil in a whiskey cask, which had aged whiskey and had all the chemicals in it, it would bleed into this color.
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This color is a royal, bright navy blue, hunter green and black, with a red set stripe. And this is what it looked like, the scraps that came out. Better living through chemistry, they could reproduce everything. And typically, a woman would wear a sash; this is the Modern.
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Youd wear some type of a skirt. Men would wear a kilt, and a woman would wear a sash, and the man would wear a plaid, which is the big square thing over the shoulder, ceremonially representing the original tartan. A friend of mine actually made this in Scotland. Answer your question?
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KH: Yeah, that was wonderful. Thank you.
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JH: Well, you know a lot about the Scottish and Celtic ancestry, so could you tell us where you learned a lot of that?
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SC: Growing up, one grandmother was English; the other grandmother was Irish. I learned and I grew up in the Midwest, which was largely settled by peoplein the lower Midwestpeople that tended to be from some type of Irish, Scottish background as opposed to Minnesota and Wisconsin, which tended to be more Germans and Scandinavians.
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I grew up always thinking that. I moved to Dunedin about 20 years ago, and I was visiting the then Celtic Shop, and Sheila, who ran it at the time, was asking me questions. I bought, by the way, the John Ogilvie Douglas house that was built by him in 1876 and amended in the late 19th century. I bought it for a bed and breakfast. I went to buy tartan for the Douglas house. And so, I wanted Douglas.
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I bought Ancient Douglas, and I upholstered the window seat and the chairs in the dining room in that fabric and decorated a room in it because I thought it would be cool. And Sheila was asking, Well, you must be Scottish. And I said, I dont think so. And she goes, Im looking at you. Youre Scottish or Irish or both.
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And she was Scottish from Glasgow. She said, What are your names? I said, Well, my grandmothers names are White and Wilson. And she looked them up, and she goes, Those are both septs of Scottish clans. So then I got interested in it. My nephew, who isbut it was always something that was just there, you know.
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And then my nephew got interested, so I claimed an affiliation to Clan Gunn and also Clan Lamont, which is the White side, couldve been McGregor; it was one of the two, I dont know. But Im entitled to wear both tartans, as well as any regional tartan in Scotland like Black Watch. But if youve got your own, you dont wear the other ones usually.
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And gosh, about ten years ago, my nephew said, Antie Sher, I want to learn about our Scottish background, and dadmy baby brothersaid you know. So we started asking questions, and darned if he didnt want to do genealogy. So we mined Ancestry.com, came up with some additional information, found some other relatives.
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And what I actually discovered and was able to trace back is my grandmother was Irish. The family emigrated from Scotland. And my other grandmother was English. She was from Yorkshire, and her family had also come from the Scots. So you start digging in, and now we spend a lot of time in Scotland.
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Ive traveled there a lot, traveled to Ireland a couple of times. And I also spend summers in Scotland now. So you just kind ofI cook. How does it affect my life? I cook; I sing; I dance; I sew. All of itnot all of it. And for a while I had a Celtic wedding business with a friend who was also partially Celtic. This cross was our logo. Its an Irish Cross.
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KH: Beautiful.
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SC: Thats Irish. And this is my clan pin from Scotland. Aut pax aut bellum in Latin means in peace and in war. Its the Clan Gunn battle cry.
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JH: You said you go to Scotland every summer.
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SC: Yes.
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JH: Could you say around when that started?
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SC: When I retired. I retireditll be five years in June, so this is our sixth summer over there, fifth full one. We went for half of a summer the first time. But Ive been visiting since 1989. I think its coming up on 30 years.
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KH: Whats your favorite thing about going over to Scotland?
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SC: I have so many friends. I have as many friends there as I do here. Its a beautiful countryside, absolutely beautiful. Have you ever been to the Appalachian Mountains?
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KH: Yes.
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SC: Okay. Scotland looks a lot like that. The first time I took my current partner over there, we got on the train, he goes, Oh my God. This looks like home. And he was from Appalachians, in western North and South Carolina. So yeah. The food, the people, all of the culture, archaeology. I mean, wed go see castles; wed go see old sites. Like I said, Im just a history geek.
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KH: That sounds wonderful. I grew up in Ohio, and I heard about the Scotlands coming into the Appalachians because it looked so similar, and it felt more like home.
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SC: And youre aware how much they intermarried with the Native Americans? Because the clan system and the traveling system were similar, and the tribes were struggling when they came over here.
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KH: So they inter
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SC: They intermarried a lot. There are a number of Native American chieftains with Scottish surnames. It might be the children of them, but yeah.
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KH: What made them so similar, do you know?
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SC: The whole idea of, youve got groups that are family groups, and there were rules against intermarriage too close. So clans were allied; tribes were allied. There were enemyI mean, tribal wars are famous. You know, Hatfields and the McCoys, what kind of names are those?
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KH: Yeah.
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SC: Okay, yeah.
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KH: Very famous.
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SC: Oral history, their own music, everything.
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KH: Very, very similar.
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SC: Enough similarities that they related well, and they all hated the English, by the way. That was another common threat. Im not saying I do because Ive got a lot of English in me, but, you know.
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KH: I think were all a smorgasbord at some level.
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SC: I am. Im 57. Both of my grandfathers were German, but not much known because the old records are so bad, and they didnt have much ofmy historymy familymy mothers family has all been here since well before the American Revolution. My dads family was in Canada in the same timeframe, and then they immigrated to Detroit. And my dads an American citizen. His parents naturalized.
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KH: Did your grandparents ever talk about coming over?
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SC: No, their families had been here for a long time. Like I said, before the American Revolution. 17th and 18th century they came over. So it was generations ago. It explained a lot when I found out that my grandfathers mother was English.
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I finally realized why my German grandfather loved Yorkshire pudding, which my English grandmother didnt know how to make. I never got that, even though her family was from Yorkshire. So tracing your roots is an interesting project.
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KH: It is absolutely fun. Ive done a few, and my maiden name is Booth, so Ive been trying to prove, one way or the other, if were related to John Wilkes.  Through that, I found all kinds of neat little stories.
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SC: You may well be able to; I will say that we found out that I have a descendant related to Myles Standish. I always thought we were indentured servants, and my one grandfather probably was. But I also found that both of my grandmothers were both clans.
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My grandmother that I thought would be a Lamont descended from Gunn. And my grandmother that I thought was Gunn, her maiden name was Brown, and that is also Lamont. Go figure. Meanwhile, my nephew loves his heritage. He wanted a kilt. Thats how I learned to make kilts.
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Ben wanted a kilt. My friend in Scotland is a kilt maker. I said, Would you make my nephew a kilt? She goes, No, but Ill show you how to. You sew. Why dont you make kilts? and I said, Eight yards of fabric at 50 to 60 dollars a yard, and Im going to practice pleating? I dont think so. But Ive now made three kilts. And I help her.
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KH: Do you enjoy it?
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SC: Oh, I love it. Well, no. I dont like making them. My visions not that great anymore. And if you are pleating this, you typically pleat it this way, and youd pleat it so likeIll try with this. I dont really have pleatable fabric on today. Its a slim skirt. But youd pleat so that your set, which is this big square, shows.
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So youd say, Okay, I want my set stripe, if its a military set, youd do it so that all these little red lines, thats all you saw from the back. Theyre very sharp kilts. They take a lot of fabric, very heavy because youve got to use a hole set for every single stripe. Most kilts have eight yards, and its typically up to four or five inches thick.
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KH: Wow. So its just all the red stripes?
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SC: Yeah. All you see is red stripes. The other one would be when you put it together so that when theyre pleatedlet me see if I can do thisthere we go. It looks like this. And then this one comes over. So pleated, your apron is the flat part, and the pleats around the back look like the apron, or theyre all one of the bright-colored stripes.
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But when youre pleating this, if you get off one thread, it zig-zags. I couldnt even see it sometimes. Ive got bad astigmatism, but Margaret would go, Youre squint. Thats the Scots word for crooked. Youre squint. Anyway, but I do like helping her. And when Im over there, I cant work.
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I dont have a work permit. I dont want to work. Im retired. I volunteer here. I volunteer. I drive meals on wheels. Im a platelets donor, and, over there, I volunteer at hospice shop, and I just help out Margaret in her store because I like to be busy but I dont want anybody telling me what to do anymore.
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KH: So when you go over there, whats your favorite castle or area that you go over?
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SC: Well, we love the highlands. I love Orkney. Absolutely love Orkney, the Orkneys. Archaeology buff and I was a behavioral science major, so thats anthropology, archaeology and sociology. And I always wanted to do an archaeological dig but didnt for a whole bunch of reasons.
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But you can go and visit these Neolithic sites. Just totally, totally blows your mind. Standing stones, everything. And I love the area where were because its beautiful countryside, and thats in Cairngorms National Park. Castles, Ive seen quite a few throughout the UK.
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I hope to see an Irish castle this summer when were going to make a trip to meet an other friend in Ireland for a week. My favorite one, actually, if I have to pick one castle to take people to and its fairly close to us, is Cawdor Castle, C-a-w-d-o-r.
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The dowager countess still lives on the grounds, but she opens it to public. And theyve got a little golf course there, beautiful gardens. Its a smallits a castle thats still someones home. It feels so livable. And the deceased Thane of Cawdor, this is the same Cawdor as Macbeth, had a wonderful sense of humor.
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So this was a little, off the entranceway, a storeroom hes converted into the witchs den with a cauldron. It has light and everything. They have the pet cemetery in the basement in one of the storage rooms, with things from their dearly departed pets. Some of his room descriptions are hysterically funny.
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He wrote all of the, you know, those type materials. So I like that one. Grand Castle, I like Dunrobin, which is very far north. Its a little north of Tyne. And its well on the way to the Highlands. Theyve got beautiful gardens, 178 rooms or some ridiculous number. Not all of them are open to the public.
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But the National Trusts falconer is based there, and he does bird rescue from all over the world because hes developed a technique to help birds that broke wings regrow the feather and be able to fly and not become captive birds. So, weird things. What can I tell you?
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KH: Sounds wonderful. All of it.
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JH: All right. You talked about, physically, like, you do the song and dance and everything. So if theres any specific part of the culture that meant more to you, what would that be?
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SC: Over all, Id say, very likely the musical heritage. Its music or food. Dance, to me, is kind of a subset of music. Ive done a little bit of step dancing. I do not do the Highland flingtrust me. I didnt start it until I was in my 50s. I dont fling. I just fling things around.
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But we have a lot of Scottish dancers here. I love to go watch them. I love the food. And I really made a study of both traditional Scottish food and more contemporary Scottish food. Thats one of the things I go over there for. I can eat there. Theres no food in Florida, yeah, I know.
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KH: So youve been talking a lot about your nephew and past him having an interest, and thats what kind of spurred your interest.
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SC: Well, spurred me to get more specific. Id always been kind of, One day Ill look at this. Because my friends were starting to do genealogy when I was in my 40s and 50s, but ancestry.com wasnt yet. You had the Church of Mormon records. And if you needed to get something that wasnt in there, you had to be able to go visit or call a church. Well, I didnt know enough to know where to call.
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One of our family stories is that my English grandmother lived up in Yorkshire. And John Wesley and his circuit ridershe did not set out to start the Methodist Church; he was an Anglican preacher who thought that the sacraments should go to the people because, in those days, if you werent near a cathedral town, you couldnt get legally married, couldnt baptize, you couldnt do anything. You know that right?
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KH: Yeah.
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SC: Well, John Wesley used to hold prayer meetings in their parlor when he was in that part of the country. But he also wrote an awful lot of hymnody from the Episcopal and Methodist heritage, which is mine, although now Im Presbyterian because thats the church I go to here. So its the music. I love music, any kind of music. I like folk music. We talked about Flannigans while we were chatting. Thats our local Irish pub.
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Its an Irish pub with all Celtic heritage. I love going. I love a lot of the folk songs. I will say I dont get into the Easter rising music so much. I dont get into the IRA kind of stuff. I can listen to it. I like the more really old, traditional stuff. I like some of the Scots. I like, well, I love Wales, too. Ive got at least one ancestor from Wales that I found in my tree, buried under a root somewhere. And the Welsh, I love the music.
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KH: Thats one of the reasons why I took the class, just to find out more about where my ancestors came from because it is such a
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SC: And when you dig, it maywell, theres so much intermarriage between the Scots and the Irish. The Irish immigrated to Scotland for work during the potato famine. The Scots were cleared to Ireland and went over there for work when times were bad. So there was so much back and forth.
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And if you look at the map, Northern Ireland, which is now the Republic of Ireland and part of the United Kingdom, is a rope ride away from Scotland. You can walk it on a low-tide day across the Devils Causeway if youre very adventurous.
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The Devils Causeway is through that section, crosses through the Western Hebrides Treshnish Isles and Staffa are part of that same geographictheyre interesting octagonal pillars of rocks that cluster together. I got to see those last summer. I know you hate me. Its okay. I dont take it personally. Im old enough; Ive earned this.
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KH: I dont hate you. Im just jealous. But Im excited for you.
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SC: Be inspired.
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KH: You are teaching me stuff, and also you remind me a lotand Im not saying because of the age, but just your hair cut and the outfitbecause my grandmother was very much into her heritage.
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SC: Thats good. Couldnt quite be a grandmother. Could easily be a mother.
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KH: Well, yeah. Youre not old enough to be my grandmother.
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SC: Not quite. His, yes; yours, no.
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KH: Im old enough to be his mom.
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JH: Yeah.
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KH: I have a kid his age. But its just refreshing to be able to talk.
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SC: Well, I was only able to research what I did because, towards the end of my grandmothers livesyou know, I was born in 1951, so my grandmothers were relatively old when they had kids because their men had been away, and the war was disrupting life. So Im not a quite a war baby.
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Beginning of the Baby Boom. But I asked them all the questions I could. And one of the other mysteries was where did some of this beautiful bone china come from? And grandma said, Well, I think somebody brought it over when they came. It was English. And there was never a whole set left because it got split up, but there were some beautiful pieces.
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And both of my nephews and nieces got all the stuff from the family. I started to downsize after I retired, and I just said, Do you want china? Do you want all this stuff? and they go Yeah! To me, its wonderful to have young people who want it.
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Ive got friends that just say, We dont know what were going to do with it when we die. The kids dont want it. They go, Dont you have your china? No. I gave it away. Kids wanted it. They dont use it yet, but I wanted them to have it so there was no question.
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KH: Thats so cool. Looking at the research youve done and what youve learned of the history and your family growing up as a kid, do you see how it kind of merges together? Are there some traditions?
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SC: Oh, I do. Okay. Ill give you one. I thought somebody might ask me this question. I said I grew up in the Midwest. I didnt, at that time, understand Irish and Scottish. I was just a kid. One of the things we ate, and it was one of the worst things we ever ate, was hamburger gravy. Have you ever heard of that?
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KH: Um-hm.
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SC: Okay. You have Scottish roots because the traditional meal, which I now cook all the time and bears little resemblance, is called mince and tatties. And its got a much richer flavor. You serve it over mashed potatoes or clapshot, which is mashed potatoes and what we would call a rutabaga, they called it a swede or a yellow turnip, same vegetable. So there were some family things we ate.
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And of course, I grew up with Yorkshire pudding; that was the English part. Because its all the same. My DNA is 95% British Isles, and if you go to the older layer of DNAI tested it through Ancestry.com; you can do it for, like, 99 dollars, fascinating. Originally, it was 85 percent Scandinavianwhats now called Scandinavia. Im a Viking clan. And it was both grandmothers.
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It reinforced, doing that DNA reinforced what I was finding online and in family archives. I got interested when my brothernephews dadwas visiting cousins back in Michigan. And Im the second oldest person in my bloodline on both sides of my family, which is a little scary because Im not that old. My cousin is nine months older, so its the two of us.
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And my nephews refer to me as the matriarch, but I remember a pair of jodhpurs that my dad had that were tiny, little, skinny things. And I remember my grandfather. My brothers dont because I was only 12 when he died, but he was disabled when I was about four. I have dim memories of him still being functioning.
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My brothers just remember pictures of the old guy who drooled and couldnt talk, which was sad, but thats what they remember of him. Tim got all excited. He goes, Youll never believe! Granddad was in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War I. He found a picture.
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We always wondered where those jodhpurs came from. They were granddads. And the spats that went with them. That was part of his dress. So you just find all this really cool stuff. And we get excited. We share it back and forth. Now, the middle brother is not so interested.
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My nephew and I used to sit on the phone after dinner. God, we spent one whole winter. Id say, Okay, you log into Ancestry.com. Ill log into Ancestry.com. And we tested each other because you piece it together. If youve never used it, its a fascinating research project.
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I use the tool here all the time when Im looking for people for History Comes Alive because if we know their name, and I know a little bit of information, you can actually trace and start finding families and find their parents, and it just doesnt exist anywhere.
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But if you knew where they lived and you knew their birth and death dates, that was the common database key. And youd go back. So I loved doing that. Well, you just get hooked on it.
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KH: It is addicting.
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SC: It is. But Ben and I sat up, night after night, two, three, four hours. I had some malicious phone bills. And then we both realized, duh! Get an unlimited cell plan! Well, I was old. What can I say? He said, Auntie Sher, do you have an unlimited plan? No. Get one, quick! But wed sit there.
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And so, wed find stuff. And some people would say, Oh, thats the right name. And they plaster trees because they give you other peoples public trees. I learned to just ignore a lot of it. But you could find family photos in there too, so weve got some interesting photos that weve gathered.
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Well, Ive printed books for both of my brothers. And Tim has two natural sons. He also has two stepdaughters, and Keith has a stepson and daughter, not their family. But I made five books. I almost brought mine today, and I went, No thats not what this is about. But I printed ancillary and reference information, then I went to independent resources and printed information on some of our more well-known ancestors.
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But I can trace my descendants back with, Id say, a good degree of confidence, not 100 percent because theres no such thing. But with, you know, well over 75 or 80 percent confidence, I can trace the Clan Gunn all the way back to the Norwegianit would be nowdaughter who married Gunn, the guy who started Clan Gunn, Gunner Black his name was. Gunner something. I dont remember what his last name was.
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Dont quote me on that. I didnt look it back up. I go back through Scottish King Malcolm. Of course, everybody did, some way or another. I had an ancestor in 1176 who died in Rhodes. He was a crusader knight. It makes yourI hated history when I was in high school. So, yeah. Its really been wonderful. My passion has become much more of a passion since I retired, and I had more time to really delve and devote.
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KH: Your face lights up when you talk about it.
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SC: Its fun. Oh, really? Thank you. Im about that bad when you get me into Dunedin history, too, because Im just as passionate about it, not just because its Scottish; I just love this town. All kinds of interesting stuff about where we live that, unless you look, unless you open your eyes, unless you explore, you would never know. We were this little town that didnt have very many people in World War II.
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We have probably half a dozen Civil War veterans in our cemetery. We have probably a couple dozen World War I veterans, including a woman who was a nurse in France. Shes one of the ones I just researched, who apparently met her husband over there and married him because, if you look at their paths, that had to be where they met. How cool is that? I just get excited.
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Had to find the guy who donated the land for the cemetery. That was my project earlier this year. One day I just hollered out, and Whats the matter? I found him! Because youre in records that arent digitized, and sometimes Ancestry or military websitesso Ive gotten pretty good at finding stuff. Im making it up. (laughter) No, I try not to make it up. Ill be honest if I dont know something.
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JH: But you try to put it together, so that way it actually it is meaningful and could be absolutely seen as truthful.
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KH: Okay. You go over to Scotland in the summer. So back in September 18, 2014
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SC: We were there.
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KH: Yeah. How was that?
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SC: We were in town. It was amazing. They dont have debates like we do. Their debates are so civil. And it was also the year that they had given 16 year olds the right to vote for the first time in Scotland. That was their first election, was the independence referendum. Regardless of how one feels about independence, I will leave that out of it.
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The process was fascinating. I happened to be there the Queens 75th Jubilee and all those celebrations. I was there for Kateit just so happened we were there when Prince William and Kate got married. We were there when both babies were born. We got to see the announcements.
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We were there for the Summer Olympics a few years ago. We were there when Dunedin and Sterling celebrated their 50th anniversary of twinning. We went down to Sterling and met the whole visitation from Dunedin. Our pipe band was over there playing. I mean, howyoupeople
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KH: Thats history.
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SC: It is! And Ive lived so much. And being there, the whole thing, whether it was the referendum, whether it was the centenary of World War I, which were celebrating our entrance here next year.
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Whether it was World War II, Dam Bustersa lot of that was English history, and it was a line or two in our history books, even world history. Hour after hour of BBC specials, just amazingly researched specials. Richard III when he was found in the car park. Remember that?
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KH: That was amazing.
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SC: That was a time team thing when they thought it was him. We watched that. We watched the follow-up. We watched him dug up. Then there was a whole series of shows about a young man who came forward and said, I have pretty much the same spinal deformity; can I help you research? Because they wanted to say he was much more deformed than anybody thought.
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How could he have done what they said he didespecially at the Battle of Boswelland this kid trained. They had special armors. They had special saddle makers that proved that King Richard could have done all that with special equipment. Theyd never make it on here. Not that people wouldnt be interested, but not enough. So, yeah. But the whole process, the 16-year-old vote, back to your questionI told you I was like Bill Cosby.
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Back to the vote, three things, Id say, stand out. One was watching the youth because they did these shows where they gave the young people forums to ask candidates questions. Their questions were so well-informed and well-conceived, and their behavior was actually much, we thought, better than the adults on all levels.
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Second incident, coming up to the actual election, being in our town, which has a lot of English that live there because most of them had been in military or on oil rigs and retired there because they liked it better than where they came from in England. So youve got two populations. Were those people going to be Scottish citizens or English citizens? How did they feel about it? So listening to the discussions was amazing.
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It was fun, and watching them right up to the last minute, watching event by event. You know, the three leaders finally went to Scotland and made this signed manifesto of all the things they were going to do, and that literally tipped the scale. When we went home, the year before the election, there was no way Scotland was going to pass.
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By the time we got back, it was getting close. By the time of the election, the polls were less than two points apart, and some of them called Scotlandguessed ahead. And then, at the last minute, literally within a week of the election, there was the leaders promises to do certain things, not one of which has been carried through.
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The Smith Commission was formed, and they have devolved a few other rights to Scotland. So watching my friends go, I didnt want this, but after looking at it, Im voting yes. And we watched, in our town, the meter go from No to Yes. It was just amazing. And the day of the election, Mike walked to play golf, and I went down to do someI forget what I was doing.
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I sat on the high street. And the church thats down kind of a block off the bottom of the road we live on. Thats the polling place just about everywhere, school, church, fraternal organization hall. This is the building where the microphones are sitting, and this stripe on the tablecloth was the walkway from the street to the door of the polling place.
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The Yes side was on one side of the aisles, and those had a table on the other side, politely passing whiskey and tea back and forth. They were all friends and family. It was so civil. And then I think of whats going on here right now, and I shake my head.
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KH: It is very interesting.
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SC: Alarming, yes.
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KH: Yes.
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SC: You said you had lots more questions.
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KH: I dont even know where to begin.
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SC: Just a random question. It doesnt have to be on your list. Can I peek in?
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JH: Im not even looking at the list. Youre welcome to. Im looking at the notes; what have we covered?
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SC: Okay. We had oral traditions. I told you about a couple of those. Did I pass them onto my children? I have no children, but I passed them onto my nephews. I think weve covered why theyre important. My family, we dont know about immigration, just looking at them. Didnt really have any traditions.
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Our traditionsokay, you want a family tradition? Do you want to laugh since were done with the meat? Our family tradition was Christmas socks. I dont know when it started. We used to do scavenger hunts for presents, and then Christmas socks. Ive got many albums full of five pairs of feet in Christmas socks. We used to sit in a circle. Now, you laugh because I moved to Florida. Im now in my 40s.
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I had my whole family here. Well, parents are both gone but my brothers, their wives, their kids and one mother in law were staying at my house the first Christmas I was in Florida. They didnt know it, but they all got Christmas socks. Christmas morning, that was funny. So we had this humungous picture. The person I bought the house from moved to the end of the block because it was on the little finger islands out.
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And they wanted that dock, so they moved down there. They had their family. Now, theyre from upstate New York. Were from Michigan. You wouldnt think there was a lot in common, but upstate New York really is a lot more culturally similar to the Midwest than it is to the Northeast, like Western Pennsylvania, because theyre so close to Ohio and everything. Okay. So they said, Come on down. So they appeared.
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I think they came to my house first. They all knocked on my door. Theyre a whole family, and everybody was coming, so, you know, Ive got about 25 or 30 people in my house. And I looked down. Mary and I looked out, and we cracked up. They had the same Christmas sock tradition. So we had two families full of people in Christmas socks. Things like that are the things you remember. My nephews still talk about it. And theyre adults, and now my grandnephews are one and a half and four.
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KH: What was the wedding like when you were over there?
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SC: It was 24 solid hours of television on BBC that they just cancelled all regular programming. They had newsbreaks. They had the news station on. We were inside, got to see the vows. There wasnt much you didnt get to see, not necessarily up close. The crowds of down the mewthey call it the mew; wed call it the mallfrom Buckingham palace were solid people.
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Whether its the Olympics, whether its the wedding, whether its the christening, whether it was the queens 75th when the red arrows fly over with their red, white and blue jet streams, it doesnt matter. Mobs of people, theyre well behaved. Theyre all wearing Union Jack hats, shirts, waving flags. Its cool.
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One of my favorite things we did since we went over there was, one year, I got a bee in my bonnet, and I decided were going to celebrate independence day, except were just going to say were celebrating Fourth of July. They all know what it is. And Mikes comment wasthis was before the referendum, and Mike, who is much more political than I am, made the comment, Yeah, well have a party. Well show you how its done.
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But I found red, white and blue stuff. I had to go all over. I had to buy it online. And I made an American picnic. I invited everybody for an American Fourth of July picnic. We live in a little, what they call a static caravan, which is a tiny, tiny mobile home. Its not much bigger than a camper. Its 12 feet wide and 37 feet long, so its just under 400 square feet. And we have a big deck on the side of it.
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We were going to invite a half a dozen people, but then we found out neighbors were there. Then we found out other people were in town. Then people had company, Can we bring our company? We ended up with 22 people in our caravan. Nineteen of them, at one point, were inside because that was the day Andy Murray won Wimbledon for the first time, so they all had to come in and watch him win. I was afraid the whole place would go (makes breaking noise).
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KH: But they were open to it?
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SC: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. They loved it. They liked the food. Now, if anybody has a barbecue, I have to take my southern potato salad and my baked beans and mydid your family do the sliced cucumbers and onions and sour cream and vinegar?
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KH: Um-hm.
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SC: Yeah, okay. They all love that over there. So yeah, the cultural exchange is not all about what we take.
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KH: Even though you are from Michigan. Im from Ohio.
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JH: (laughs)
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KH: I know. Well ignore that. Big rivalries.
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SC: I said my guys southern, and he likes to talk about the big square states or big rectangular states with no personality; they take up the whole middle of the country. I said, I beg your pardon. Im from the mitten. He doesnt say that anymore. He got tired of getting the mitten in his face. I finally broke him of that.
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KH: Huge, huge rivalry. Just huge.
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SC: Oh, yeah. Ohio state and Michigan state.
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KH: I do have family that did go up to Michigan but were from Ohio.
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SC: My college roommate was from Coshocton, Ohio, so I got to go visit her.
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KH: Thats up north, isnt it?
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SC: Yeah.
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KH: Then it doesnt count.
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SC: Well, my mom was from Terre Haute, Indiana; does that count? More rivalry, only if youre into basketball.
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KH: Yeah. I dont really care one way or the other. I just like to pick on people.
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SC: Its fun. Other random questions?
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JH: Yeah. So St. Patricks Day is seen as an Irish celebration.
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SC: Oh, it is. Well, you know St. Patrick?
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JH: Yes. So do the Scottish have anyI know, obviously, they didnt have St. Patrick visit them, but do they have anything similar?
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SC: Two big days. St. Andrews, who is the patron saint of Scotland, hes at the end of November. Unfortunately, he falls in the middle of a bunch of holidays. At Flannigans, we actually did a couple of St. Andrews Day celebrations for the Scottish American community, but theyre a little bit more obscure, not nearly as raucous and much fun because theyre based in more fact and history.
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And then Burns, Rabbie Burns birthday at the end of January; we do have a bigwe pack Flannigans every year. The Scottish American Society in town has a party for Rabbie Burns Night. Theres a very set program of events. I wear something like this. I also have my modern tartan and my Ancient Tartan all in this clan. And I have a scarf from my other one, so a lot.
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KH: Is the Scottish American club very big here?
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SC: Theres quite a few people. Traditionally, it was. And then, of course, the New World Celts support various ones. Like, Ive helped at St. Pattys Dayit may be Irish, but, of course, I too am Scots-Irish. Or an Ulster Scot is the term the Scots would use. Its an Ulster Scot because thats actually where my grandmother was from, was Ulster.
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So Ive served food or beer or whatever needs doing, Ive done it forI think theyve been doing the big oneI was just realizing how long Ive been doing this nowprobably 15 years. It used to be after work, and since Ive retired, Im usually out there most of the day slinging corned beef and cabbage or shepherds pie.
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We have kilt nights. The Celtic, if we go to the broader Celtic community, there are Celt nights periodically. Every chapter does them at their local pub, typically a Celtic-type pub but not always. And everyone there drags out their kilts or whatever they wear. They have the Celtic music festival here in Dunedin.
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KH: Thats next weekend, isnt it?
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SC: No. Thats the Highland Games. The Highland Games are purely Scottish. They Celtic music festival is a little more pan-Celtic, and its now been co-opted by the microbrew society, so its now craft beer and music festival. And craft breweries are growing big in Scotland and Ireland just as they are here.
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A lot of them, I mean, if you look at who founded the New World Celts hereGod, its got to be 15 or more years ago nowaside from people with Celtic heritage, Noah Clooney, Flannigans; Michael Bryant, Dunedin Brewery; a retired police officer from Boston. I mean, how much more Celtic can you get?
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KH: Thats pretty Celtic.
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SC: Yeah. So yeah, I dont know how many more questions there are, but Im getting real random here.
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KH: This is actually wonderful because this was just more to help our
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SC: Keep the conversation from dying.
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KH: Yes.
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SC: Never a problem if Im around. Sorry. Ive probably dominated, and I tried to let you ask questions.
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JH: Thats fine. We want your information, not just to ask questions.
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SC: Well, no, but I want to make sure I cover what you need to cover for your class.
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KH: We need to cover anything you want to tell us about your history, your culture. Its about your story, not ours.
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SC: Well, my faith. I dont want to go getting religious on you, but my faith is very much influenced by my Celtic heritage, whether its the English, the Irish, or the Scottish. Im not Catholic. Im definitely Protestant. I grew up Methodist, which is, you know, the American version of Wesleys Anglican dissidents.
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Im currently worshiping at the Presbyterian Church because its one of the big ones in town, along with the Methodist church. You know, musical tradition is strong. So my faithI married an Italian at one point, and I briefly looked at converting. I couldnt do it. Nothing wrong with Catholicism, but its just notsome of the things, I said, I cant quite sign up for this any more than you could sign up to give it up.
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So we agreed that we didnt have to do that. So my faith is very much part of my everyday life. And again, that informs, kind of, my musical taste. Some art, fashion, definitely. You look at fashion. I love historical novels, and I tend to, I tend to go into my British background. Ive read French stuff.
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I mean, you know when you read something, you just go, Wow, this is really interesting. And then you read other things, Yeah, thats okay. I do believe, as a behavioral scientist, I believe one meets Jungs archetypes, which is the collective memories. Mine are very clearly from the British Isles, even though I can find other places.
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KH: The historical novels, what is your favorite time period to read when you read that?
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SC: Yes.
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KH: All of it? (laughter)
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SC: I go back very, very early. I enjoy some of the Highland, Scottish. I love, love British royalty novels. Doctor Philippa Gregory is absolutely my favorite author.
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KH: Whats the name again?
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SC: Doctor Philippa Gregory. Most people dont know shes a doctor. Its not on her books. She will write a whole series of very rich, veryI always thought, My she does a lot of research. Then I found out shes a resource to the BBC when they do historical period dramas.
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Oh, yeah, okay. Various kings, starting back Tudor up to the present. Actually, before that, she does the War of the Roses; the Lancasters versus the Yorks. Yeah, theres a lot of them. So if you like that stuff.
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KH: Im a junkie.
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SC: And yeah. Theres just amazing stuff. And then, of course, I read all the books, and were watching TV over there and one of these shows comes on and Im going, Okay, blah, blah. Where the hell do you learn all this? I say, I read books. But you dont read history. And I said, You dont have to read history to learn, if youre reading a reliable author.
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I tend to read authors notes and say, Okay did you research this? Yeah. And theyll tell you whats real and whats fake. Thats what I like. Shes very good at that. Bunches and bunches of them. Josh, any more random things? You said you were interested in understanding more about the Irish
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JH: The Celtic culture. So when you talked a lot about the food and the song and the dance and
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SC: Jewelry. Did we talk about symbolism? Symbolism. If you go into Celtic history, you get the Picts; you pick up the Druids; you get the mother goddess religions, Lady of the Lake, Mrs. Avalon, that kind of stuff; the Arthurian legends; Celtic knots are amazing.
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Many of them are around, if you go back into the early Celtic church, the Coptic church, youll see the religious symbolism is slightly different from the churches that migrated from the Eastern and Roman Orthodoxy. Very different symbolism, not the icons of the Russians and the Greeks and the Italianate but more mysticalbeasts and dragons. I love it. Thats my ring. Why dont you take a look at it? Read what it says and take it in.
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KH: I dont know if I can.
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SC: Its in Gaelic.
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KH: I dont think I can read that.
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SC: Well its the same. Thats actually Gaelic. Its an Irish ring, but most of the words are the same pronunciation and some of the interpretation. Mo anam cara. Mo anam cara.
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JH: Okay, so thats what it says. Mo anam cara.
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SC: Yes.
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KH: What is the meaning of that?
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SC: Basically, it transliteratesits not a good translationtransliterates to my soul mate. Thats the ring I wear. So am I Celtic? Oh, maybe. A little bit.
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KH: A smorgasbord.
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SC: Yeah, but I cook Italian and Russian too.
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KH: Thats okay, Im learning Cuban. I married a Cuban.
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SC: Thats good cuisine.
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KH: Yes, it is.
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SC: So if youre not Irish, did you tell me what your heritage is?
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JH: Well, its kind ofI know Im Irish, and I know Im English. But then my grandmother grew up in an adopted home, so she doesnt really know her heritage, so we dont really know her story and where all of that came from.
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SC: It might be interesting to do the DNA. I mean, there are very expensive studies. You can get very granular for like 3,000 dollars. Well, my partner thought about doing a real one, which would tell him if he was actuallyyou know, how closely tied he was to his clan that his name carries.
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Well, that follows the male chromosome. But a lot of it is your mitochondrial DNA, which will show you your maternal side. And I show up, I mean, my German, Dutch ancestors show up. And the fact that there was something along southern Mediterranean, French, Spanish Italian, but the Celts came from Turkey. Did you know that?
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KH: No.
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SC: The Celts came through Turkey, and it was a Western migration. They came into, ultimately youve got the Celts; youve got the Gauls, which were the French; youve got the Gaels, where the word Gaelic comes from, which was kind of local; and you got the Picts, which is a group that came up and went away.
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Think Braveheart, blue face. Thats the Picts. And the Vikings. Well, I dont know if theyve been able to blood type Picts and Gaels and Gauls, but the French shows up. Ive got a fair number of French ancestors, which is the other thing I enjoy. I like costuming. I mean, I was into kilts before I really knew much about what they were. And the womensyou know, I used to like all the ceremonies.
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Celtic marriage ceremonies are fascinating. The colors, yeah. You wear blue, and in Scotland you dont wear a green gown to get married. Its bad luck, but you wore a blue gown. Now they wear white. Irish had theirs. I used to be more conversant with them when I was doing the ceremonies all the time. Theres courting, or plaiting.
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In a Scottish family, usually an event before, most recently translate that to rehearsal dinner. The grooms mother provides a length of tartan, a sash, something like this. And this kind of a sash would typically be put over the brides shoulder with the clan brooch. And that was called plaiting the bride.
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Thats welcoming her to the clan. And the grooms mother did it. I wear my tartan. I could wear Michaels, but I wear mine. Most of the Scottish women I know, if they have their own tartan, wear their own. They might, for ceremonial things, wear their husbands or partners. But I happen to like mine.
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And theyre very similar, by the way, our modern tartans; you have to really look closely to see the difference because theyre from that, you know, east central area through Scotland where you had all the juniper, a lot of blues and greens dyes, and a little bit of red from the berries.
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JH: So you talked about like, the pin.
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SC: Pinning. This is my clan broche.
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JH: Do you know what the significance about those are?
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SC: Well, this isthe little part on the topthis is a lapel pin. This is a miniature of the clan brooch; thats b-r-o-o-c-h. Every clan has one. And even somelike, theres a tartan associated the Wilsons, which is actually my family name. Well, my dads moms family name. Thats a big sept of Clan Gunn. They have their own tartan.
265
01:00:14.2
Im entitled to wear that too. I didnt know about it, and its a good thing because its not a great tartan. They wear a bonnet or a glengarry. A glengarry is the one that looks like the old army World War II hat. And the bonnet ispeople think its a beret; its not. Its a different thing. Its got a band here.
266
01:00:32.9
And youll see them sometimes at games, they have a little grosgrain ribbon and a tail down the back. Sometimes they have a red and white plaid, and you may see people wear a red and white plaid; that was the royalist troops. So most real, noble Scots dont do that because that would mean they were English.
267
01:00:55.2
And the brooch has the clan war cry. There are all kinds of them. Mine is, In peace and war. In peace and bellum, bellicose. Its not war, war. Its not likebut yeah. We actually broke. This clan broke very early, and we became mercenaries to the other clans. We were in Culloden, but not as a clan.
268
01:01:24.7
We were fighting for other people in other peoples tartans. My other clan was broken because they were war-like in the south and the English beat them up. I cant remember their motto. So youve got the fist, which, you know. And then you also have some kind of a botanical, and I think mine is juniper; I think because I remember that because Im allergic to juniper, so I think its ironic.
269
01:01:49.5
And they would always, in the band of their bonnet, they would have a sprig. If you see someone wearing a bonnet with feathersespecially if theres three feathers, theyre usually pheasant feathers or some type of wild bird feathertheyre a chieftain. Only chieftains are entitled to wear feathers. Everybody else, you can wear a little plume, but you cant wear a feather. And if you are (sigh).
270
01:02:19.6
Only the clan chieftain and his bride could wear their sash on the right, normally. Everybody else wears it on the left. I wore mine on the right because if youre doing Scottish country dancing, it gets in the way here. So theres all these little rules about where you wear the tartan. I can wear multiple tartans; I can wear multiple tartans. Youre entitled. Its considered bad form to mix your tartans.
271
01:02:48.5
Women, unless theyre in a pipe band, under Scottish guidanceyou know, the clan associationsand this one thing with the New World Celts. They dont follow this. They get very liberal about this, and some of us who are more traditional get a little, as they would say, shirty about it.
272
01:03:7.4
Dont do that. You dont wear hose and boots and weapons. Now, there are small womens weapons, but to be walking around the games dressed like a man is just not the Gunn thing. Women wear kilted skirts made from about two and a half yards. Its a very modern conviction.
273
01:03:31.3
And the shortened ones come from the long hose skirts they used to wear. I myself have a long hose, just a skirt with no pleats. I have a dress-like skirt in my modern tartan, but its a very formal skirt. Not formal, formal. I mean, very proper. And this is the one I made to wear to the games because its lightweight and comfortable. So there are rules about how you wear things and what you wear.
274
01:03:53.2
And there are conventions, like in anything. Think military have uniforms. Some things are pretty liberal. Other things, not so much. So thats one of the things that I got interested in because I was doing weddings, and you learn the tradition. I find it interesting that the episcopal priests, an Anglican priest, will take their stoll [sic]; in the wedding blessing of a bride and groom, wrap it around their wrist.
275
01:04:23.5
Thats called stoling in the Episcopal Church. Its actually derived from the Celtic plaiting custom. And I saw a real ceremony in August. My kilt-making friend got married. And they had, think of it as a ribbon. Its much narrower than this. Its about half this width, mightve been longer.
276
01:04:46.0
And the officiant actually ties it in knots around their hands, so when they pull apart, theyre knotted together. Then they do this and it comes undone. Its a really cool thing. I dont know how to do that. We used to just knot them. Some of the other Celtic and Irish will use colored cords, but the notion of binding together is very much part of the Celtic and early Celtic churches.
277
01:05:21.3
KH: Your clan broke up.
278
01:05:24.0
SC: Yes, its called a broken clan.
279
01:05:26.4
KH: What exactly does that mean?
280
01:05:28.5
SC: It means, at some point, in some period of historywell, both Clan Gunn and Lamont have no current castles. Theyre gone. They were destroyed. The McGregors were actually not broken per se, but they were banned. They were a proscribed clan, and for almost 100 years, you could not use the McGregor name.
281
01:05:51.9
Thats why Lamont and some of those namesthey took other clan names that were allies, so I dont know. I mightve come from McGregor stock. I have no way of knowing the names that we used as a Lamont name.
282
01:06:3.4
KH: So when they were like beaten by the English, they were
283
01:06:6.1
SC: Well, it could be beaten by the English. It could be the government at the time said, No, you guys are bad guys. We dont want you. You cant be a McGregor; they were too war-like. Then they were forgiven and they came back and they all pulled their tartans out and became McGregors again.
284
01:06:21.0
And the Gunns never went away. Part of the Gunns was it was a very large clan, there were a lot of brothers, so they broke for different reasons. The Lamonts were broken because they were bashed. The Gunns kind of segmented, and there are a lot of big clans. A lot of the really big clans have different types.
285
01:06:40.1
So theres the McLeods and the McDonalds from the Western Isles and theres different ones depending on which isle they were from and which part of the clan. Some of them stayed affiliated. Some of them just kind of went their own way. So Gunn is now used as an affiliation.
286
01:06:56.1
Then there are other clans that werent big enough to be powerful in their own rite, so they formed in clan federations. Theres a clan federation or brotherhood called Clan Chattan, C-h-a-t-t-a-n, named after the Scottish wildcat, which looks like it could be our American tabby. They are genetically similar.
287
01:07:17.7
Im not sure how they got here, but I just know that. I guess a haggis brought them over on its back, I dont know. You all know haggis still exist; its not an animal. Its a food, not an animal. They have haggis hunts in Scotland as well as here. Its kind of like snipe hunts or whatever those stupid hunts were, used to have them as a kid.
288
01:07:38.5
Go look for something that doesnt exist. So there are different ways a clan broke up or clan federations, and Chattan is one of them. Davidson, which is Michaels clan, is Clan Chattan. He didnt know that. He thought we werent at Culloden. I said, Yes you were; youre right there. Interesting story, he and a buddy of histheyve been buddies for about 23 years now.
289
01:08:4.7
They met singing, and I met Kevin throughwell, I met Mike through Kevin. Kevin and I went to the same church, and Kevin and Mike sang at a group somewhere else. And our director started a corral, and Mike got invited and sat behind me. He likes to say I was a redhead brighter thanI dont color it anymorethe redhead sitting in front of me. The cute redhead, that was me a long time ago.
290
01:08:26.2
So anyway, we went to Culloden. The two couples went, and were out walking, and I said, Guys, youve got to come over here. Theyre looking, and Id been there before, so Im out there and I go, Kevin, Michael, come now. You guys feel like brothers. Look. Clan Chattan, Clannow Ive just lost it. Doesnt matter, its not one of the real well-known ones. Lovit. Lovit and Chatton, side by side, front line, first flank in Culloden. Side by side the clans fought. Okay this is weird.
291
01:09:9.8
KH: Fascinating.
292
01:09:13.6
SC: Oh, family folklore. My grandmother was a witch. My Irish grandmother was a witch. We used to laugh, too, she had the stigma of the witch. She had the thumbnail growing out of both thumbs, which traditionally couldve gotten youif you go far enough backcouldve gotten you stoned or burned. And she used to come up with all this stuff.
293
01:09:32.5
Shed call and say, Whats wrong with you? Nothing. Youd come home from work, and something had happened at work. They called home on their honeymoon, she goes, How much money do you need and what happened to your car? I mean, not just logical stuff. She came up with this all the time.
294
01:09:46.0
Well, I inherited that from her. So Im a bit of a witch. I dont celebrate Wiccan. I dont mean that kind of a witch. I just mean fae; the Irish would call it fae, descended from the fae folk, f-a-e. Or faeries, f-a-e-r-i-e-s is the way they spell faeries.
295
01:10:4.8
JH: So what was a witch able or capable of doing in
296
01:10:10.4
SC: Well, not so much of a witch. I prefer the term wise woman. They did know things. Theres kind of a deep knowing, part of its from a line that used to pass from women. They used to have, depending on how far you go into the magics; maybe they had magical power, but Im not talking that kind.
297
01:10:30.7
Im talking about the women who kind of were instinctive healers and studied it and passed it along. They are the ones who, very oftenyouve got to read, if youve never read Diana Gabalden, youve got to read her.
298
01:10:41.7
KH: Okay.
299
01:10:44.3
SC: Sorry. Speaking of which, its about time travel, but its got some interesting stuff about old times. Her first book was The Outlander. Theres a whole series. They got kind of outlandish at the end, but Stars has the series on. The first season was out this year or last year.
300
01:11:1.0
KH: Oh the series, The Outlander?
301
01:11:2.0
SC: Yeah.
302
01:11:2.5
KH: Okay. I havent watched that at all.
303
01:11:4.1
SC: No. But I dont know how good it is.
304
01:11:6.0
KH: I hear its fantastic.
305
01:11:8.0
306
01:11:30.2
JH: And a lot of that knowledge being like, of healing?
307
01:11:38.2
SC: Yeah. Healing and some of the kind of arcane knowledges, old practices. Then you can go intoif you get into the Arthurian legends and the chalice, I read a lot, then you get into they can manage light; they can manage the elements.
308
01:11:56.8
And from that its a short into what we call fantasy, which I think everybody of your generation know. I didnt. Fantasy to me meant Cinderella. But its changed. Youre kind of between us. Id probably get a little of both. Your kids would be into fantasy, though.
309
01:12:13.0
KH: Yeah.
310
01:12:13.5
SC: Might be. Not will be, but might be. So but a lot of that fantasy derives, if you go back and you look at the symbolism, theyre Celtic archetypes, very much Celtic archetypes and or a bit of Viking.



PAGE 1

COPYR I GHT NOTI CE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 19952016, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


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