About ten days after sending the letter to
Mrs. Menzies in Dundee, Scotland, I received a reply to the letter
through quite unexpected means. It was by e-mail, from Mrs. Menziesí
son, Roddy. Attached to it was a photograph of Mr. Peter, his wife, and
their son, taken in 1954. The photo was a scan of a brownish-yellow
original print, and was not at all a clear picture. But it was the first
image I had ever seen of William Mackenzie Peter.
It turned out that Roddy Menzies, who now
lives in Houston, Texas, was visiting his mother in Dundee, and had been
asked by her to send me the photograph by e-mail. At first, I couldnít
figure it out. The attachment looked like a NASA photo of the surface of
a far-away planet; the craters and the ridgelines were discernable, but
its larger patterns didnít make sense. Then I ran across what looked
like an ear, and slowly browsed up, down, and sideways.
The photograph had been sent in blow-up
size, and thatís why it looked inter-planetary! Slowly, the outlines of
three human beings became apparent; two males on either side of a
female. Their facial features were extremely hard to see clearly. Then,
by some inexplicable procedure, two files of the photograph saved
themselves in my computer. In them, I saw the normal photo for the first
time, and I didnít need a guide to explain who was who.
Left to right were: William Mackenzie
Peter, my Scottish grandfather, his wife, Mary Whyte Peter, and their
son, William James Peter, my motherís half-brother, and my uncle! They
are all decked out in formal dress, with carnations pinned to their
lapels. It must have been taken at a church function, perhaps a wedding.
My grandfather was a tall, slender, fit-looking man. In 1954, he must
have been 52 years old, two years younger than I when I first saw his
image at age 54.
O, William Mackenzie Peter! I have found
you! And now, I have seen you!
For my family, this was the news of the
century! Thanks to the modern technology of the Internet, I sent this
photograph immediately to two brothers and one sister. Copies of the
photo were sent to two other brothers, who were helping to run a summer
camp for youth at Qaggiquqtuuq, by a more old-fashioned means---a boat
delivering supplies to the camp. Now, we had a photograph to hang on our
But more was yet to come!