Blogging In memoriam
Michæl McFarland Campbell  

Three connexions to my paternal grandparents

We all have grandparents. Each and every single one of us has grandparents. Some of us are fortunate to have known all four of them. I know that many have not had that fortune, but I did meet all of my grandparents. I even have some items that I was gifted by them.

This afternoon when I was tidying in the house, I found a Parker pen that I thought I had lost. It was the pen that I used when I was at Ballymena Academy. I know that I was given it by my two paternal grandparents. That must have been for my eleventh birthday — the one before I went to the grammar school. It had to have been for that birthday in early May 1989, because by the end of June my paternal grandfather, Hugh Campbell had died. He was the first of my grandparents to die.

Andrew and I have done some research to find out more about this particular pen. It turns out that it is a Parker 25 Mark III. And we know from the date letters on the cap, it was manufactured in the first quarter of 1985.

The other item I have in my possession from my paternal grandmother, Mary Campbell (née Carchrie) is a Red Letter edition of the King James Bible printed by Cambridge University Press. It is bound in black French Morroco leather, and is the Compact C.R. India paper edition, with bold-figure references. As a presentation edition, it has a note in the front saying that it was

Presented to Michael by Gran’ma with love on Confirmation 1-12-91.

This Bible is the only item that I have that has my Gran’ma’s handwriting in it.

When my paternal grandmother died in 1994, I inherited a painting of a middle-eastern woman that my grandmother had painted. It used to hang in the dining room at my grandparents’ flat in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, but now it is with us. I see it every single day, and it makes me give thanks for my grandparents and their lives. It’s just a simple picture but it is rich in colours of reds, golds, and greens, and I love it.

I burst into tears after showing each of these to Andrew. They are the only things that I can connect to my paternal grandparents other than the Campbell part of my surname. It is sometimes quite hard to believe that they both died whilst I was still at school. They were both 84 years of age when they died, albeit five years apart. That means that I am just over half way to their age now.

My usual fountain pens at the moment are my Lamy Safaris and my Lamy Vistas. I suspect, however, that they will be supplemented on occasion by this longlost friend the Parker 25. The memories of Hugh and Mary Campbell will live on for a while longer.

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