IN LOVING MEMORY OF IAN MOORE-MORRANS

 

Ian Moore-Morrans,loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, musician, author, raconteur, master machinist and craftsman, Scottish to the core, and all-around larger-than-life character, died suddenly at Misericordia Health Centre, Winnipeg on Friday, February 22, 2019 at the age of 86. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on May 2, 1932, Ian Morrans was raised, along with his elder brother Archie, by their mother “Wee Chrissie” and grandmother Maggie in a one-room attic slum in Campbeltown, a small, picturesque fishing-and-whisky-brewing town on Scotland’s Kintyre Peninsula. His formative years as part of the poorest family in town were spent trying to get enough to eat and stay warm during the years of the Great Depression and World War II. Ian enjoyed and did well during his school years, though his formal education concluded when he was 14. During adolescence as a blacksmith’s apprentice, Ian also began a lifelong love affair with music making while wavering between the strictures of the Salvation Army and the “worldly pleasures” of the outside world where he excelled at ballroom and Scottish country dancing.

 

Life began to improve when Ian joined the Royal Air Force at age 18 in 1950. He served five years as an aircraft engine mechanic and bandsman in the United Kingdom and then Egypt. In the latter, he experienced the consequences of the Arab “walkouts” that eventually led to the Suez Canal crisis. Ian was one of those chosen few who were selected to learn how to make palatable water for the British troops. He went on to supervise water filtration plants in isolated desert assignments while on loan to the British Army.

Finally returned to the RAF and back to Britain in 1954, Ian met Mary Fraser from Motherwell, Scotland, who had become his pen pal during the Egypt years. They were married on December 29, 1954. Ian completed five years of military service in 1955 and then began civilian life in the Glasgow area (though for a few years also part of the Territorial Army, i.e., a “weekend warrior”), first as a bill collector and a tram conductor followed by jobs related to his military training: machine-fitter, industrial mechanic, overhead crane operator and eventually shift scheduler at a steel mill.

Two daughters were born to Mary and Ian: Audrey in 1956 and Shirley in 1958. In addition, Ian and Mary cared for Mary’s elderly mother, Susan Fraser. After her death, Ian got “itchy feet” and began to think of emigrating. Misled by the inflated promises of an unscrupulous Government of Ontario official to choose Canada over Australia, Ian, Mary and the girls endured a winter sailing over the Atlantic in 1965, including a collision in the St. Lawrence Seaway. They soon found Ian’s promised machinist’s job hadn’t materialized and the cost of buying a house had been enormously downplayed. Misadventures in finding and keeping jobs and a suitable place to live in Canada led Ian to conclude that he had only moved “from poverty to poverty.” It took them five years to finally obtain the level of affluence they had reached in Scotland before emigrating.

Ian never did completely take off his “traveling shoes”!  His working years in Canada, 1965-1997, found him at many different machining jobs and residences in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, including four times in Winnipeg, where he eventually retired on his 65thbirthday in 1997. Besides many small machine shops, Ian worked for significant lengths of time for Douglas Aircraft, Northwest Industries, the Royal Canadian Mint and Burrard Iron Works. Occasionally, when machining jobs were unavailable, he found work as a building superintendent, driving his own delivery truck, teaching metal machining in an adult night school program, or even delivering pizzas. Recessions in Canada contributed to many lay offs and moves to seek work. Other times, moves were made for a better job or climate, family considerations, or just to satisfy the soul of a nomad. Despite the extreme climate, however, family ultimately drew him back to Winnipeg. (It was there, at age 44, Ian gained his “Grade 12” certificate through the G.E.D. program.)

After retirement, Ian and Mary moved north to the Flin Flon MB/Creighton SK area. There, Ian dove into his creative side big time: joining the Community Choir; performing in a community revue; organizing and soloing in both Robbie Burns’ and St. Patrick’s celebrations; acting in the play, Tom Jones; and joining the local writer’s guild.

In 2000, Mary and Ian returned to Britain, exploring retirement in the Old Country. However, they had become too “Canadianized” to stay, so relocated to Nova Scotia – a touch of Scotland and halfway between Britain and Manitoba (where their growing Canadian family was located). Ian relished his two years there, entertaining in many Scottish celebrations and ceilidhs while living in New Glasgow and then Pictou. Mary was unhappy away from the daughters and grandchildren though, so returned to Audrey’s in Winnipeg while Ian attempted to sell their house. Ian moved back to Winnipeg (5thtime) in October 2002. One week later, Mary, tragically and unexpectedly, died.

Though mourning, Ian vowed to get on with life while he still was able. He proceeded to write with abandon, attend seniors’ dances and explore the dating scene. In June 2003, Ian met a much-younger widow, Gayle Moore Johannesson, whom he quickly considered his soul mate. They were married on September 7ththat year at Sherwood Park Lutheran Church, combining their birth family names to form a new one: Moore-Morrans. After Gayle retired in July 2004, they moved out of the country to explore “RVing” and retirement in Mexico.

Ian had always wanted to write, but had never found the time until, at age 63, he started to record some of the stories he had been telling for years and creating new ones. He felt Providence had a hand in his meeting Gayle, who was then working as a magazine and program editor. As he put it: “Every writer needs an editor!” Their sojourn in Mexico cemented their collaboration as Ian continued to write and perfect his craft, while Gayle began to edit his growing pile of writings. They settled into the world’s largest English-speaking expatriate community on the north shore of Lake Chapala and joined the local writers’ group. During the years that ensued, they formed a publishing team: Moomor Publishing. To date, they have published four books: Metal Machining Made Easy(a DIY book); Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie(a time-travel, Scottish adventure story); From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada(a memoir, 1932-1970); and Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie(a chapter book about a boy and two birds). Gayle began collaborating on the writing as Ian’s health deteriorated. She maintains a website for their writings at ianmooremorrans.com. Caring for Ian in his later years has taken a toll on editing the rest of his writings but she hopes to soon finish editing Ian’s second memoir: Came to Canada, Eh? Memoirs of a Scottish Nomad (1970-2004).

Ian’s passion was music-making. With a beautiful tenor voice, he loved to perform. During his teenage years in the Salvation Army in Campbeltown, he readily got up to sing whenever called upon. Highlights in his adult life included soloing at a concert in Abertillery, Rhonda Valley, Wales and, years later, at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in The Pas, Manitoba. With his trumpet, cornet or trombone he was much more of a team player, starting his training at age 14 and going on for the next over-50 years in church and military brass bands, concert, dance and community bands and small combos in Scotland, England, Wales, Egypt and Canada. When he wasn’t singing or tooting a horn, he could be found whistling a merry tune, even at work from his machinist’s bench. In his later years in Canada and for two years in Mexico, Ian performed at various Robbie Burns’, St. Andrew’s or St. Patrick’s functions, church suppers, house parties, Winnipeg’s Folklorama Scottish Pavilion and other Celtic ceilidhs. In his mid-40s, Ian competed in an annual talent contest sponsored by the Associated Canadian Travellers. After several rounds in a variety of Alberta towns, he won First Place in the Variety Division, over 363 original solo contestants. In his 70s while living in Mexico, Ian encouraged Gayle to join him in entertaining. They both sang in the Los Cantates del Lagochoir and spent many evenings perfecting their Scottish duet style.

By 2007 they had moved back to Canada (British Columbia) where they became known as “Okanagan’s Mr. Scotland and His Bonnie Lassie.” For the first year, spent in Penticton, Ian continued his “full-steam-ahead” pace. Then, shortly after they had moved to Vernon, he was felled by a severe illness in August of 2008. BOOP (Bronchialitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia) nearly took his life and resulted in over five years of ill health before finally burning itself out in February 2013. By that time, he no longer wrote or used the computer. His vibrant personality only occasionally showed itself and he was much quieter than anyone who knew him before could imagine. Initially his health began to improve, though his memory started to diminish with an eventual diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

In Summer 2015, they returned to Winnipeg (6thtime) to Fred Douglas Place, a seniors’ residence in downtown Winnipeg. By September 2017, Ian was diagnosed with an inoperable rectal cancer and continued breathing problems from lingering heart and lung issues, in addition to dementia. After a year and a half on palliative care at home, Ian was hospitalized just before Christmas 2018. He spent his final days at Misericordia Health Centre Interim Care, still proclaiming love for his “wee wifey” and family, his appreciation of Canada and his enduring attachment to anything Scottish. Though his voice was greatly diminished, he kept on singing to the end.

Ian was predeceased by Mary, his wife of almost 48 years; his mother, Christina, and stepfather, Irishman Bill Moorhead of Campbeltown, Scotland; and his brother, Archibald Morrans of Peterborough, England. He leaves these loved ones to mourn his passing and celebrate his life well and truly lived: his wife of 15 years, Gayle Moore-Morrans; daughter Audrey German (Eugene/Carl) of Winnipeg; daughter Shirley Lee (Brien) of Flin Flon; five grandchildren: Tammy German (Brad Falk) of Calgary; Calan German (Lisa) and Ainsley German (Phil) of Winnipeg; Ian Lee (Debbie) of Creighton, SK and Tiffany Falk (Chad) of Flin Flon; nine great-grandchildren: Leland, Hannah, Caleigh, Logan and Madison German, Lexi and Alex Lee, Brayden and Haylee Falk; three nephews in the U.K. and in-laws in the U.K., the U.S.A. and Norway.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Sherwood Park Lutheran Church, Tudor Crescent and London Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, at 2 pm on March 23, 2019. Memorials are welcomed to SPLC Memorial Fund, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, the Salvation Army, Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart & Lung Association, Alzheimer Manitoba or another charity.

“So I’ll cherish the Old Rugged Cross, ‘til my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the Old Rugged Cross and exchange it some day for a crown.”

Editor’s Review of “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada”

I (Gayle) thought it was about time I got around to reviewing Ian’s autobiography, volume 1, for the Goodreads site. I listed it, recommended it and gave it 5 stars some time ago, but, with developing this blog, I haven’t had time to get a review written until now. It is posted below.

*****”I highly recommend “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada” to anyone interested in: 

Biography 

• Scotland during the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war years

• A teenager’s life in the Salvation Army in the late ’40s

• Music making, especially Scottish folk music, brass band music and tunes of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s

Life of a common airman in the Royal Air Force of the early ’50s

• British military life in Egypt during the pre-Suez crisis days

• Emigration from Scotland and immigration to Canada in the mid-’60s

The writing style is folksy, humorous and honest. Ian tells it like it was!”

Gayle Moore-Morrans, September 2012

 

An “Eye Opener” Review of “From Poverty to Poverty”

An “Eye Opener” Review of “From Poverty to Poverty”

The following review appeared on Amazon.ca for Ian’s memoir, “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” Thanks to author Harry G. Kapeikis for his “eye-opening” review. (The emphases below are ours.)

4.0 out of 5 stars Harry G. Kapeikis October 13, 2013Cover full size
 
I thought I had it tough as a boy refugee during, and as a displaced person after World War II. Peanuts on that!
 
Just read Moore-Morrans’ memoir of his growing up years in Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula, Argyllshire on the west coast of Scotland during the Great Depression. Ian adds or better said, subtracts from my concept of poverty to give it horrifying dimensions. “Yes, we were destitute!” he writes. “…we were, without doubt, the poorest family in that little town. – “…we were the poorest, by far, for no one else in our town lived in such pathetic conditions as we did.” Home, was a 10 foot square room in an attic of a run down house, practically unfurnished and most of the time unheated. Clothes? Best described as rags. It was not until Ian enlisted in the Royal Air Force at age 18 that he discovered “what it was like to have a full belly of half-decent food”. Get away from it all. Australia? Best to go to Ontario? Canada? Yeah, sure. Be brave and read on.
 
My immigration to North America was like a Cinderella experience but Ian’s more like a nightmare. Starting with misunderstanding and misrepresentations of what to expect in Canada from certain Ontario government agents to watching their belongings get dropped to the ground by a malfunctioning crane, smashed at their port of entry, all in all made Moore-Morrans’ immigration a “…Poverty to Poverty” ordeal. The Morranses, a family of four now, Mom (Mary), Dad and two daughters (Audrey and Shirley) finally did manage to purchase a new home at Hillsburg, Ontario in 1970.
 
“We’ve come a long way,” he writes. Indeed they had come a long way in many and varied ways on a road resembling an obstacle course. I was fortunate, but many an immigrant will identify with Moore-Morrans’ experience. I dearly recommend Ian’s book. An eye opener for sure.
 

Note: Harry G. Kapeikis, a fellow British Columbian, immigrant to Canada and self-publisher, is the author of two excellent published memoirs entitled “Exile from Latvia: My WWII Childhood from Survival to Opportunity” and “Beyond All Dreams: Coming of Age in Post-War America.”

AUTHOR IAN MOORE-MORRANS CHOSEN AS ONE OF “50 GREAT WRITERS YOU SHOULD BE READING” FOR 2013-2014

AUTHOR IAN MOORE-MORRANS CHOSEN AS ONE OF “50 GREAT WRITERS YOU SHOULD BE READING” FOR 2013-2014

50 Great Writers logoIan_Moore_HeadshotCover full sizeSee the Media Release that has just been published about Ian’s win by pressing here: In The News

SHARING AN AUTHOR INTERVIEW PREPARED FOR “THE AUTHOR SHOW” AUDIO PRESENTATION ON: the authorshow.com

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS prepared for THE AUTHORS SHOW, recorded on Thursday, February 14, 2013 and first aired on March 4, 2013.Cover full size

Interviewer: Don McCauley of The Authors Show, an internationally-acclaimed professional book marketing audio program in which selected authors are interviewed.

Interviewee: Ian Moore-Morrans, Scottish-Canadian author of an autobiography entitled: “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada”

The recorded version is presently being aired for 48 hours (March 4 and 5, 2013). It  will be available on this blog as soon as we receive and upload the MP3 copy. The Authors Show audio version is much shorter and less detailed than these prepared answers; in addition, several of the questions were not asked in the recorded version which very soon can be accessed on-line 24/7 for 12 months. The website is http://theauthorsshow.com. (Access to the audio version of the interview is on the “Non-fiction writers” page.)

I, the interviewee must admit that I became a bit flustered when the interview was taking place and being recorded. Instead of following the carefully prepared answers to the questions which the interviewer had furnished ahead of time, I scrapped my notes and “ad-libbed” the answers. My editor wife, who worked alongside me to formulate the answers and carefully rehearsed me through the scenerio several times beforehand, was a bit disappointed that I didn’t follow the script a bit better. Ah well, listeners will be able to hear my Scottish burr and hopefully understand the sincerity, if not the clarity, in my answers.

Q. Tell us about this book.

A. “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada” is the first volume of my autobiography. It begins with my childhood in Scotland during the 1930s and ‘40s—years of the Great Depression and World War II. I’m certain that my fatherless family was the poorest one in Campbeltown, a small fishing town in the Scottish Highlands. I describe our level of poverty as “abject” meaning “utter, hopeless, miserable, wretched, dismal and horrible.” Four of us lived in a 10-foot-by-10-foot attic room—Mother, Granny, my older brother and me. Life was a constant struggle to find food and keep ourselves warm. Often there was no money for both food and coal so we had to choose between the two.

My schooling was finished when I turned 14. Around that time my mother married a man from Northern Ireland and our lifestyle became a bit better. We moved from the lowliest of slums to a slightly-less-lowly slum. My teenage years were spent working as a blacksmith’s apprentice, joining the Army Cadets and playing in a Salvation Army band—and sometimes quitting the band because I got tired of not being able to go to movies or dancing.

At age 18, I joined the British Royal Air Force and served as an aircraft engine mechanic and bandsman in Britain and Egypt. My time in Egypt coincided with the first rumblings of the Suez Canal crisis and I was one of those unfortunate enlisted men who was ordered to learn how to make decent drinking water from the inaptly named “Sweet Water Canal”—after the Arab workers who had been treating the water for the entire British military force walked off the job.

After I returned to civilian life as a machinist in Scotland, I married and fathered two daughters. Then, I got itchy feet and considered immigrating to Australia. However, encouraged by two of my wife’s relatives who had earlier immigrated to Canada and misled by an unscrupulous Canadian official, my family and I immigrated to Canada in 1965. A promised job didn’t materialize and, naive me soon found out I’d been told a boldfaced lie about how inexpensive it was to buy a house in Canada. Misadventures in finding and keeping jobs and suitable accommodations lead me to conclude that we had only moved “from poverty to poverty.”

Q. Who did you write this book for?

A. For my descendants, friends and anyone who wanted to know what made me tick. My principle reason for writing my autobiography was that I had met so many people on the Canadian side of the Atlantic whose backgrounds were Scottish, Welsh, Irish or whatever, who had no idea who their grandparents or great-grandparents were, what they did or how they lived. Thus I decided that my descendants, friends and even strangers should get to know me, if they so desired.

Several times I had found myself checking out through a grocery counter and spoken a few words to the clerk. Upon hearing my Scottish “burr,” she would invariably ask me if I was Scottish and then tell me that her grandfather (or grandmother) was Scottish. When I asked her where the grandparent was, she would then tell me the relative was dead. When I inquired where in Scotland they came from, she didn’t know. She didn’t know anything about him or her—and that happened more than once. On arriving home one day from a little bit of grocery shopping, I told my wife, “I’m going to write my life story for my descendants to read—they should know who and what their grandfather did while he was alive.”

Q. Is there a central message in the book?

A. Yes, I think so. I’ve found that it is possible to overcome a negative lifestyle like poverty but, in order to do so, one has to have a lot of grit, perseverance, sometimes luck and even humor to get through it all.

Q.What is the most important idea you share in your book that will add value to the reader’s life?

A. Perhaps it is that one must look for humor in each and every situation. When all else fails, a good laugh and then, determining to pick yourself up and start anew, will help you deal with most things that life throws at you.

Q. If you could compare this book with any book out there we might already be familiar with, which book would it be and why?

A. When I first submitted my manuscript for critique by a few people in my Writer’s Group, several remarked that it reminded them of “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt. I had not even heard of McCourt’s book at the time so quickly bought a copy. They were certainly right  in that we both had appalling early lives of poverty—he in Ireland and me in Scotland. One could also say that we each, in our unique ways, were able to overcome our impoverished beginnings.

Q. Why did you choose the title “From Poverty to Poverty” for your book?

A. When my story started, I described living in appalling poverty in Scotland. Thirty years later I found myself again in poverty because of the misinformation about the opportunities of immigrating to Canada that I received from a Government of Ontario official in Glasgow. (Yes, by the time we had finally settled in Canada, we had a lot more “possessions” but they sure weren’t paid for! We were in debt up to our eyeballs!) I chose the title “From Poverty to Poverty” as I found it a perfect description for my life’s journey from 1932 until my first years in Canada. There I certainly found myself right back into poverty and, to make matters even harder to overcome, I had added three dependents!

Q. For readers of your book who have not experienced poverty in their lives, what one word do you think they would choose to describe your book?

A. (On the audio recording, Ian used the word “horrendous.”) “Eye-opening.” That’s the word my present wife and editor used after she first read my story before we were married almost 10 years ago. She was not brought up in poverty and was astonished and taken aback by all that I had experienced.

Q. You claim this book is an autobiography. Are all the stories in it true and all the characters taken from real life?

A. Yes, all of the stories are true. They, of course, are filtered through my own eyes and my own experiences so another person may interpret happenings from a different perspective. I’ve told of my own observations, experiences and occasionally things told to me by others or that I learned from school or research. In certain instances, I’ve chosen to change the names of people because I felt it necessary to protect their identity or maintain their privacy.

One prime example is the character I’ve chosen to call “Jock Campbel.” (In Britain, “Jock” is perhaps the most popular nickname for a Scotsman, just as “Mick” is for an Irishman.) As far as I know there never was a Jock Campbel who lived in Campbeltown during my time there or any other time. However, when I was a wee lad and our financial situation at home was even more dire than usual, my mother would occasionally ask me to go to that man and ask him to lend her ten shillings. This was about a dollar and a half, but it had a lot more buying power then than now. But before I would go she always cautioned me to wait until he was on his own. There never was any hesitation from him. Out would come his wallet and a ten-shilling note would be handed to me. As far as I know, my brother was never sent on a similar mission and I never thought to discuss it with him or even ask Mother why. That man was an upstanding member of the community and a married man with children. I never thought much about this strange mission until years later when some things my mother said about the man led me to wonder whether he could have been the man who sired me. I deal with that wondering in the sequel to this book which I call “Came to Canada, Eh?”—not yet published but in the editing process.

Q. You describe your early family life as rather disfunctional with no one showing affection to the others. How has this affected your adult role as husband and father?

A. I know my mother and grandmother cared very much for both my brother and me. We lived on welfare and Mother worked at degrading odd jobs on the sly to get a wee bit extra. She also put our hunger ahead of hers when there was little food to share. But none of us showed or spoke of any affection or caring toward the others. When we were growing up my brother was almost always either ignoring me or beating me up until I got big enough to defend myself.

Perhaps Mother and Granny had never been shown affection and didn’t know how to do so. And if they didn’t know how, my brother and I didn’t have a chance to learn by example. I don’t know where I learned it, maybe showing affection was something that just was innate in me and eventually came out when I had my own wife and children. As an adult I’ve made special efforts to tell my family members that I love and honor them and have always been ready and willing to take care of and help them to the best of my ability. I’m pleased to say that my brother and I were able to enjoy a cordial, though distant, friendship later in life.

Q. What role did your membership in the Salvation Army play in your early life?

A. It taught me how to live a respectable and God-fearing life. It gave me a place where I knew I belonged, was respected and valued (although I rebelled off and on at a lot of restrictions it placed on my choices of entertainment). Most importantly, it gave me an opportunity to learn to sing and play several instruments. Because of that I can truly say that my real avocation in life is music-making.

Q. Who influenced your early life the most and why?

A. A man called Jock McMillan. He was the band leader and music instructor at the Salvation Army in my hometown. Along with two of my pals, including his son, George, Jock taught us to read music and to play instruments. I learned to play the trumpet and trombone and spent a lot of time in my youth playing with the Salvation Army brass band. Then, after I joined the Royal Air Force, I played trumpet in military bands wherever I was stationed. For a period of almost sixty years (in Britain, Egypt and later in Canada) I played in military, dance and concert bands as well as in combos. I’ve continued singing Scottish folk songs for various festivals, parties and competitions even into my eighties, although my voice isn’t anywhere near as good now as it used to be.

Q. What was the greatest single decision in your life that started to lift you out of a life of poverty and how did it do so?

A. Quitting my apprenticeship to a drunken, cruel blacksmith and enlisting in the British Royal Air Force. Overnight I had three decent meals a day, a decent-paying job, a bed with sheets on it, all the decent clothing I needed and future prospects. Plus that, I could continue to play in a band and had money left over to send home to my mother to help her out a wee bit.

Q. I understand you use humor in your writing. How does this connect with the tragic circumstances of poverty?

A. Poverty is bad enough. If you can find anything humorous in whatever day-to-day happenings you encounter, then you should celebrate those things. Laughter can elevate you from the depressed hole of poverty – at least a wee bit. If you really look, there are comical aspects to a lot of things, even those that are essentially negative.

Q. What is your favorite humorous story in your book?

A. Soon after we immigrated to Canada, my wife Mary and I were at a dance in Toronto. A group of us were standing and chatting at the edge of the dance floor when I announced that I was going to the bar for a drink. When I returned, a young, good-looking woman put her arm through mine and I understood her to say, “I like the way you roll your arse!” (What we call “arse” in Britain is referred to as “ass” or rear end in North America.) I hesitated a little and looked down at one buttock and then the other, wondering what it was I did with my “arse” that got her attention. It wasn’t until I thoroughly thought about it that I realized that she was saying that she liked the way I rolled my “RRRRs!” I guess she enjoyed the Scottish accent. Boy, what a relief!

Q. You claim that musicianship is integral to your life. How is that reflected in your book?

A. When my wife/editor first read my story, she was struck by how much music was woven into the narrative. She encouraged me to expand on those instances, leading me to quote from songs or to fill out descriptions of the song connections with my own story. For instance, when I am describing my hometown Campbeltown, I mentioned the folk-song made most popular in the ‘60s by Scottish folk-singer Andy Stewart: “Campbeltown Loch, I Wish Ye Were Whisky.” We were unsuccessful in getting permission to quote the whole song in my narrative. So the next best thing was to show how it impacted my life and then paraphrase the verses.

I eventually wrote the following: “As we were growing up, three or four of us boys would go arm in arm down the street singing the first few words—‘Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky’—that’s all we knew at the time. I like to think that Andy (Stewart) heard those few words sometime in Campbeltown and created a song around them. ‘Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky, Campbeltown Loch, och aye! Campbeltown Loch I wish ye were whisky, I would drink ye dry!’

“The verses cleverly have the singer imagining how nice it would be if the loch were full up to the brim with whisky and he could anchor a yacht in the whisky-filled bay to go in for a nip and a dip ‘by night and by day.’ Clan gatherings would feature wading into the loch with toasts of ‘slainte bva’ (meaning ‘good health’). The only problem would be the police showing up in a boat and shouting, ‘Time, Gentlemen, please!’

“I find this a fitting tongue-in-cheek ode to a town that once boasted of 30 distilleries and still produces at least two very fine brands of single malt whisky – Springbank and Glen Scotia.”

 Q. Your book is permeated with “Scottishness.” Why would someone who has no Scottish connection want to read this book?

A. Lots of people like to read biographies or hear stories of other people’s personal experiences, especially if they are out-of-the-ordinary. It also seems to me that a lot of non-Scots show a curiosity about and interest in Scottish things like tartans, kilts (or what is or isn’t worn under them!), bagpipers, Robbie Burns suppers, Scottish parties called “caleidhs”, Highland games and the like. I hope they’d enjoy a first-hand account of one Scot’s unique experiences. We Scots are known as folksy and sometimes blunt people who put our own colorful slant to our language. I attempt to reflect that in my writing.

Q. I understand that you didn’t begin to write down your stories until you were age 63 and nearing retirement from years spent as a machinist.

A. Yes, I was too busy trying to make a living or playing in some band somewhere so I never took time to sit down to write until I was close to retirement. I quickly realized then that I’d have to learn to type and use a computer if I wanted to get anywhere with my writing. So I bought a used computer and a “teach yourself to type” tape and went to town on it. That’s me, though. I usually get enthusiastic about something new and go whole hog, plunging right in and damn the torpedoes!

Q. Have you always been a storyteller and what made you think you could be a writer?

A. When I tell about my early schooling, I bring up a memory of my English teacher, Miss Sharpe, telling me a couple of times during my school years that I should become a journalist after I finished school. (She had remarked often about the quality of my essays and compositions.) Huh, I thought at the time—‘me a journalist—me who had just about no clothes on my back! What a picture that would be—me in an office with holes in my shoes and no underwear!’

After I left home I always liked writing letters, telling of my latest experiences. I’ve always enjoyed relating stories and jokes— to anyone who would listen—most of which somehow related to something Scottish. Many people over the years have remarked, “You should write a book, Ian.” So now I’ve written several.

Q. Other than selling your book, what do you hope to accomplish with it?

A. I hope to give my own unique spin on understanding an impoverished life in the Scotland of the 1930s to 1950s; of the pre-Suez Canal crisis atmosphere in Egypt; of the joys of learning to play an instrument and joining a band. I hope that the reader will move from seeing me as a victim of poverty to seeing me overcome that life and also overcome the challenges that an immigrant faces.

Q. Who should buy this book?

A. People of any age from teens to seniors, especially those with interests in Scottish history, Scottish life, music-making, biography, and understanding the causes and consequences of poverty and immigration.

I might also add that lots of people enjoy books with pictures. “From Poverty to Poverty” is full of old photos taken by myself or others during the period of which I write. I’ve also added a few simple maps and drawings of the slum accommodations in which I first lived.

Q. Where can people buy your book?

A. Online at Amazon, or Friesen Press. – Links to these sellers are on my WordPress blog (ianmooremorrans.com). The book is also available for sale at the Highland Scottish Gift Shoppe in Calgary, Alberta, and at the Gallery Vertigo in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada or from most book sellers by special order. I also offer signed books for sale at book readings. The book is available as an e-book in PDF or Kindle format, as a paperback and also in hard cover format. The photos and maps are included in all versions.

ANNOUNCING AN INTERVIEW ON THE AUTHORS SHOW

On March 3, 4 and 5, Ian will be interviewed on THE AUTHORS SHOW, an internationally-acclaimed professional book marketing audio program in which selected authors are interviewed.

We are posting the following announcement wherever possible:
IAN MOORE-MORRANS,  SCOTTISH-CANADIAN AUTHOR, MEMBER OF THE FEDERATION OF BC WRITERS, the VERNON WRITERS’ GROUP and RESIDENT OF VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA will be interviewed about his book published by Friesen Press in 2012:
 Cover full size
 
 
The time for launching broadcast of this interview is North American Eastern Standard Time beginning at 12:00 a.m. The initial launching of the interview will run for 48 hours. Please note that beginning times of airing in other time zones are as follows:
NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA:
* Atlantic Standard Time – March 4, 1 a.m. and for the next 48 hours
* Central Standard Time – March 3, 11 p.m. and for the next 48 hours
* Mountain Standard Time – March 3, 10 p.m. and for the next 48 hours
* Pacific Standard Time – March 3, 9 p.m. and for the next 48 hours
EUROPE:
*Greenwich Mean Time (UK) – March 4, 5 a.m. and for the next 48 hours
*Central European time (Norway, Sweden, Germany) – March 4, 6 a.m.
       and for the next 48 hours
Go to this link to access the interview at the times listed above:
http://www.theauthorsshow.com/
Then choose: “For non-fiction click here”
Ian’s interview will be featured on the non-fiction part of the site for 12 months, “24/7”  sometime after the initial launching, with access from the same site.
It will also be accessible on this blog following the initial launch.
Questions to be asked in the interview may include a brief description of the book; who the book was written for;  a central message;  the most important idea shared in the book that will add value to the reader’s life; why the title was chosen; whether all the stories in the book are true; what one word could describe the book to someone who has not experienced poverty; who influenced the author’s early life the most and why; what was the greatest single decision in  life that started to lift the author out of a life of poverty and how did it do so; how and why  humor is used in the book and how that connects with the tragic circumstances of poverty; how musicianship is reflected in the book; why someone who has no Scottish connection would want to read the book;  and what made the author  think he could be a writer.
Please check out the interview and give us your feedback if you so desire.
We’d love to hear from you.
with best wishes,
Ian and Gayle Moore-Morrans