I come from a large family, my mother had 5 siblings, and my father 4. My parents had 8 children and 12 grandchildren. My mother was sixth generation Turnbull. My Scottish ancestor, Elliott Turnbull arrived in Mexico in the
late 1800s. My mother was very proud of her ancestry and many years later, I was lucky to find out about the Turnbull Clan Association, join and learn more about the larger sense of family.
It was my mother´s dream to bring together all her grandchildren. It was not an easy task because the eight grew up in different cities and countries. Unfortunately, my mother´s wishes only came true as a result of her passing in 2006. Knowing how much it meant to her, my siblings and I organized a memorial in which we did succeed to bring all of my mother´s children and grandchildren, together with cousins, and friends.
The Turnbull crest always had a place of honor in my mother´s living room and under its guard, we gathered and remembered that remarkable lady. I then threw myself more enthusiastically into strengthening the family bonds among my nieces and nephews who had grown far away from each other. At that memorial, some of the younger generation remarked how it was that this one or that one looked so much like “her” or “him”. Well of course – they were brother and sister, but the cousins did not know that. This deplorable state of affairs made me more resolute and I promised the eight, that in four years time (it would take me that long to save money) I would invite them to a reunion. And in December 2010, thirty of us gathered in San Antonio, Texas. The thirty included members of the family that live or were in three continents, in cities far apart, like: Christchurch, New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia, Mexico City, Mexico, Veracruz, Mexico, Houston, Texas, San Antonio, Texas. My sister and brother-in-law flew in from London, right at the time when Heathrow had been closed because of bad weather, yet they managed to make it, my husband and I travelled by train, from Chicago to Austin, Texas. They all came, by train, by car, by plane, some got lost, some flights were cancelled and re-scheduled, some arrived slightly late, but they all came. We spent two glorious days in which we reconnected, recognized each other, talked, had meals together and learned more about each other.
Since part of the purpose of the reunion was to help acquaint everyone with our ancestry, I rented kilts for all the male relatives, and the ladies wore long gowns. It was an elegant and unforgettable experience. One not devoid of laughter of all sorts, some of it occasioned by a group of Mexicans, not accustomed to wearing a kilt, making understandable mistakes. For example, one nephew put the kilt on backwards, with the pleats to the front. Another put the sporran over his shoulder, and yet another placed the kilt pin on his lapel. One of my nieces took the wrong measurements and her son ended up with a mini. But in the end, these are some of the comments on the experience of wearing a kilt and the reunion results: “I felt powerful.” “I felt I belonged.” “Now we know each other as family,” “I feel so comfortable among all my cousins.” And finally, a very moving anecdote by my 13 year-old-grand-niece who lives in Houston, on having been bullied at school for being Mexican. Here is her reply: “I was born in Mexico, however, my ancestor came from Scotland, and he saved the life of the king.” The bully has not bothered her again.