Chapter One

Your father is the best man I have ever known.  He adored his mother and sometimes, when I ask, he tells me about her.  So, even though I never met her, I know your Grandmother was a strong and beautiful woman.  I’ve seen a couple pictures of her, talked with her family, read her obituary.  I know I would have liked her.  I used to feel bad that I never knew her, and that you wouldn’t either.  But the more I learned about her family, the more I know I am in good company.  As far back as I can find, nobody in your line has known his Brodie grandparent.

It’s kind of strange, really.  I mean, you would think that the deaths would all be related somehow; they’re not.  People just pass away.  Sometimes it’s expected, sometimes it’s sudden, always it’s early.  Maybe there’s a curse some ways back that I don’t know about, but I don’t really believe in that sort of thing.  And it’s not like they all die young.  Just about one a generation, as far as I can tell.  They all just appear to be in your direct line.

Your grandmother Suzie’s maiden name was Brodie.  Her parents met, married and lived in California; Great-Grandma Peggie still lives there in Redding.  Grandma Suzie’s father’s parents came over from Scotland in the early 1900s and settled in California.  I’m not sure why, but they interest me greatly.  The whole line does, I guess.  It’s probably because my parents have most of my family figured out through the 1500s, or something like that, and Dad’s paternal line has always kept track of their ancestry, too, just because they’re bluebloods or something and like to be able to prove it.  But the Brodies… they’ve got a bit of mystery to them, and I like a good puzzle.

I guess the Brodie clan is one of the original Pictish clans in northern Scotland.  There’s a little town called Brodie there to this day, and a castle and a Brodie of Brodies who’s the lord of the clan.  I’m sure he could tell you more about the family than I could.  I guess back in the day being a Brodie didn’t necessarily mean that you were part of the noble line, it just meant you lived around Brodie.  I like to think you are part of the noble family, but I haven’t been able to find the link so far if you are.  Don’t worry; I’ll keep looking.

There are quite a few Brodies that we do know of, though there’s a great amount more that we don’t.  Obviously, Grandma Suzie holds the most interest to me.  But, other than her, it’s definitely her grandparents, Robert and Matilda Brodie.  I’ve always felt a sort of link to Tillie, although she would have no doubt intimidated me if I had ever met her.  She was a very strong woman, I’ve been told, unusually so for the era.  And Robert, at least from the stories, always seemed rather adventurous to me, and unendingly hardworking.  The two of them made quite a pair, I’m sure.  It’s a great story, if you’ve got the time.  We could start it tonight, even.

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