When I wrote Stories and Stovies in 1998, my intent was
to do another book for my family each Christmas until I died. What an ambition! I also
intended to start writing the second book in January of 1999 and complete it in plenty of
time for that Christmas. What a dream!
have a more sophisticated computer than the 386 I worked on in 1998, but became far less
advanced after all. When it was two days before Christmas of 1999 I realized I was having
so much fun surfing the web, making cyber friends, scanning, playing with an amazing array
of fonts and type styles that, consequently, I would never complete the 15 memory books by
my self imposed deadline.
So I accepted that I would have to find some other meaningful
gifts for those near and dear to me and put the book aside for a little while. Promissory
notes were sent regarding this project, and December progressed into January. But I
continued to surf, and scan, and play on the Net and work the Web. Then I became
acquainted with electricscotland.com, and our little family recipe book, complete with
errors and family references, was accepted as a gift from us to the world wide family of
Scots and lovers of Scotland.
This "Scrapbook" about a Dundee Lass is still a
book about our Dundee roots and Scottish heritage and a gift for my children and family.
The friends component, however, has developed a new dimension to include those who have
became a part of us because of our connection with electricscotland. And I hope those of
you who come across these memories of mine will understand the spirit and the intent of
This introduction I am writing this midnight hour, April
2000, in Phoenix, Arizona is to memories of whatever may come out of my heart and mind
from a nostalgic meandering back to what I can best remember from my early childhood until
the day I married John Bleh. Its an introduction to the thoughts and emotions that
rise up whilst I gather together and categorize the tangible evidences of my life from a
collection of books, letters, postcards, photographs, poems, newspaper clippings, etc.
I am so fortunate that my mother and grandmother saved so
many photographs and mementos and gave them to me. Unfortunately, Ive abused many of
the newspaper clippings and a good few of the photographs by pasting them into scrapbooks
or using those, now I realise how horrible, "magnetic" photo albums. So,
theres been a tremendous family history rescue effort here in Phoenix over the last
I hope youll enjoy, and maybe even value, this
collection whether youre one of my children, a grandchild, a great grandchild whom
Ill probably never meet, or an old or new friend. This isnt a memorial or a
testimonial by, for or about Charlotte Bleh in an attempt to achieve immortality of some
sort. Its a story of Scotland, and memories now tempered by adulthood of a childhood
spent in the company of a proud and independent Grandmother who, in her lifetime, spent
her own childhood in the company of another independent and proud Scotswoman. This little
book is also a dream and a hope and a prayer that Scotland and the people of our McIntosh
and Thomas and Alvoet and Bleh families will live in the lives of my family as targets to
set hopes, and dreams and prayers upon.
And a special message to my children -- Be good. Be happy.
Say your prayers morning and night, and include your families in those prayers. But most
of all, remember always that your father and mother love you.
My mother, my brother Victor, and me somewhere in Scotland.
(I remember how much my mother loved that ocelot coat
so politically incorrect now fifty years later.)