Belleville and the MacKays, half a century ago and today

Michael, Harry, and new stone in Belleville CemeteryOn this first unabashedly gorgeous spring day in eastern Ontario, I drove with my Dad down to Belleville. We wanted to see for ourselves the new gravestone for my great-grandfather, William Elmore MacKay. For 55 years there had been only an unmarked grave. My father led a family effort to put up a marker, and rallied some cousins to contribute. In this picture with me and my Dad, you can see that the inscription on the stone is genealogical, and not sentimental or religious. This is my doing. In speaking with my relatives who knew my great-grandfather, I hear mixed reminiscences. There were good times, like him teaching Gaelic songs to his three children. And there were difficult times, like the end of his life which was overshadowed by poverty. The facts are he was a son, a husband, a father, and a grandfather, and I would not exist if it were not for this man’s life.

Bill and HarryWe dropped by to see my Uncle Bill and Aunt Barb. Here’s Bill Senior on the left, and his kid brother Harry (my Dad) on the right.