A remarkable couple

May 14. Remembering my parents, Duncan and Lucy, today. May 14 was my Mom’s birthday and they were also married on this day in 1948 in LA California by Frank Buchman, the initiator of MRA, now the Initiatives of Change movement. They were a remarkable and very diverse couple who were together for 50 years and raised three children.

Mom was the daughter of a London businessman. She was a professional dressmaker and seamstress. Dad left school at 14 to work as a message boy and at 16 he became an apprentice pattern maker for engines and boilers in the shipyards of Greenock, Scotland, in an era of poverty and unemployment. Both dedicated their lives at a young age to work with MRA/IofC. Mom was a great homemaker; she established homes in at least eight places. She was a superb cook and a skilled gardner. I learned from her the value of hospitality. A friend said “She had a laugh you could spot across a crowded room…She had a common sense approach to what was right and wrong and was fearless in saying it.” She supported Dad in his many travels to meet with trade unionists in countries across the world.

From my Dad I gained a passion for social justice and saw the importance of community building and long-term friendship. Well into his nineties, even after a stroke, he was corresponding with friends in the labor movement, including with Bill Morris whom he had known since Bill was a young official with the Boilermakers’ Union and then General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union. Morris, who by then was Lord George Robertson, Secretary General of NATO, wrote, “It seems clear that your brain is working better than your hand and that is probably the right way round.”