(Disclaimer - I'm typing these blogs from 12 years ago verbatim so forgive the writing style as its changed a LOT since then!)
Actually, this story starts about five years ago (1993). Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with all the details, just some of them.
My family told me that in 1963 my Grandmother received a letter from "somewhere in Scotland" telling us that she had the rights to a Scottish castle. The name and whereabouts of this castle are still a mystery because being the level headed woman that she was, my Grandmother never thought she or anyone in the family would ever go to Scotland. So she threw it away. After her death in 1997, her legal papers and personal papers revealed nothing. Not a trace. So I decided to go to Scotland to find it for myself.
Well, needless to say, I actually did lead a very sheltered childhood. Naive isn't quite the word for it. I didn't get out of the state of Arkansas (Memphis didn't count since it was just across the river and was only for allergy shots in my youth) until I was in college. Only then it was Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. I didn't actually start travelling until after my first marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a nerd or a geek, although I know some and they are very nice people. I just didn't get out much so I didn't know a whole lot about anything.
Then I got my first computer. It was only in 1995 but I got one. I decided to do some research on Scotland. The first site I came across was something in Edinburgh and the college there (how amazing how the internet has changed in 12 years, eh?). I found a history professor (whose name escapes me) and we conversed back and forth about some castles there. He led me to a website that had photos of castles. I printed them all out and thought (much to my disappointment later on) that these were the only 12 castles in Scotland! Yes, I'm confessing to being a total idiot! So I decided to go to Scotland, on my own, and check them out in the library (not the actual castles, just information about them!) and figure out which was my family's castle. I got on the phone and started calling airlines. I found a fare in January for $400 only if travelling in March of that same year. I was $200 shy of the ticket on the deadline of getting it and cried for a week. (Little did I know I wasn't supposed to go then...it wasn't for me until much later.)
I got kind of discouraged at this and let much of the castle hunting go by the wayside.
Fast forward to 15 December 1997. That's when I knew I was going no matter what and that no one could stop me. Knowing that this lovely place was quite cool in the winter, I planned to go in the summer of '98. Setting the dates for the first two weeks in August, I was going go - hell or high water.
Until I found out how horribly expensive it is going on your own .... ALONE!! I then started begging my co-workers and friends to go along. My (now ex)husband cared as much about Scotland as I did about professional rasslin' (no offence Goldberg fans) so I knew he wasn't going to go even if the trip was free (which it wasn't, by any means!). I asked men, women, single, married, I didn't care as long as I had a companion to go on my trip. My ex wasn't the jealous type and needn't have been, not to worry. The last thing on my mind was anything like that - I just wanted to go to Scotland!)
I asked well into January and finally, a lady I hardly knew walked up to me one day and asked, "Would it be okay if I went with you on your trip to Scotland?" FINALLY! Someone bit! Later I would learn she would become one of my very best friends on the face of the earth! In much shock, I yelled, "Of course!!! YES!!"
So that was that. I was on my way to Scotland. I didn't know what it was going to be like or what it was going to take to get there, but by Golly Miss Molly, I was going!