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Part Qallunaaq
Chapter 6. SeRR-ching with Cammy Campbell


Like a schoolboy eager to please a good teacher, I showed up 20 minutes ahead of the appointed time for my interview at Scotland’s Northsound Radio. I was immediately impressed with the radio station. Everybody seemed to work on tightly synchronized timing. The atmosphere could be defined in two words: “All Business”. There wasn’t any idle chitchat anywhere, and I didn’t mind that at all! This felt like the right place, at the right time, to be in.

I sensed this to be one of the great moments in my life. I was at last in my grandfather’s country, there to tell his countrymen the story of my search for him. During my years in politics, I had experienced some profound defining moments, most often just before delivering a major speech. My mind would be singularly concentrated on the task at hand. All unimportant fluff would be purged from my head, and my purpose in life, crystal clear. As I sat down in the studio opposite the host, Cammy Campbell, I was living such a moment, again.

Having read my story beforehand, Cammy eased naturally and immediately into the substance of the search. “HeRre we have an Eskimo seRRching for his SCOE-tish gRraanfatheR! …So! Y-RR lookin’ for Big Pete-R, aRR ya?” There were no patronizing or inane questions, and Cammy gave the subject a lot of respect. At the same time, he made the search sound like an item of great Scottish national interest, and a lot of fun besides!

One of his questions forced me to size up my quest in a way I hadn’t previously given much thought to. “ARR ya seekin’ ta plug a grReat hole in y-RR identity?” “No”, I replied, “We, the grandchildren of this man, are very secure in our Eskimo identity. That’s what we are. That’s how we were raised. We have never felt ourselves to be partially mysteriously anything other than Inuit. I do, however, remember my late mother’s deep longing to know about her father. Over time, her longing became mine.”

The interview, originally scheduled for 15 minutes, stretched to 30, without anybody becoming uncomfortable. No listeners called in with any “smoking gun” information, but it had been a good show. I was genuinely content with how everything had gone. Cammy, however, ended up nervously tapping his fingertips on any handy surface. I found out why, when he told me:

“I’ve colled a caab f-RR ya. HeRe’s the add-RESS of the AbeRdeen Town RregistRy.” Here, I had been prepared after the radio interview to simply go back to my hotel, have a nice haggis dinner, and catch a good night’s sleep before heading back to England the next day. Cammy’s firm suggestion was something I would have never thought to pursue, but, in giving me this lead, he was now “seRRchin’” along with me.


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