In honor of Wishful Wednesday …
Have you ever been asked, “If you could sit down with anyone in history and have a conversation, who would it be?”. I have … several times. I always have a different answer, too. Sometimes it’s Eleanor Roosevelt, sometimes it is Mary Queen of Scots or Robert the Bruce. Sometimes it is someone a little closer to me like my 2nd great grandma, Margaret Ellen Douglas.
I grew up hearing stories about Grandma Douglas from my Grandpa. He never met her, but he retold stories that were told to him by his mom, Phoebe … Grandma Douglas’ daughter. There were some doozies, too.
Grandma Douglas was a midwife … and our Scottish witch.
Gramps would tell about her being called out in the middle of the night to help birth a baby. He described it as “women’s work”! Well, I suppose he was right about that … especially in the late 19th century in rural southern Illinois.
After a night of intense labor, and childbirth, Grandma Douglas would find herself on the path home … Gramps claimed covered in blood from her work. Normally, wild animals in our neck of the woods wouldn’t take too kindly to a woman wearing blood soaked clothes who happened by … but Gramps talked of nights when the heavens opened, the moon lit the path home and wild animals offered their protection of the great and powerful midwife.
He was always so passionate about story telling … and could spin some tales!
Gramps always told me she had powers from beyond the veil, and would commune with spirits. Apparently, she could make tables walk, too! She smoked cigars, which I’m sure played a part in her witchy reputation … hmmm.
Grandma Douglas would be the perfect character in a spiritually haunted tale … she was, in a family folklore kind of way.
I’m not an overly religious woman, but I certainly have a strong belief in all things not quite “normal”. I get the feeling Grandma Douglas was that way, too. I imagine conversations with her about things like the afterlife and past lives and other “witchy” topics. She’s a kindred spirit, in more ways than one.
My grandpa might cringe at this, but because of his stories, I’ve never been scared or ashamed of my interest in Celtic folklore, Paganism, Wicca, or anything else out of the mainstream. I find it fascinating to connect those beliefs to my Scottish ancestors, Grandma Douglas especially. Who knows, she may have been carrying on traditions handed down generation after generation. I’ve certainly experience my fair share of “witchy” moments.
Above all, I was blessed to have a grandpa that was a story teller, even if some of the stories were spun tales of an infamous midwife … or were they? His stories brought me closer to ancestors as far back as the 1840s than I would ever have gotten on my own. For that, I’m grateful.