Mary Brown Young is my great grandmother. She was born 7 June 1903 in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland to James Young and Catherine Brown. In October of 1910 she left Scotland with her mother and three siblings and immigrated to America. They lived for a time in Butte, Montana before settling in Spokane, Washington.
Mary was just fifteen and a half when she married John Costello 1 January 1919 in Spokane. It has been said that she had ten pregnancies. Every pregnancy ended with a pre-term delivery. Six babies had records generated about them, two were male children with no given name, four lived long enough to be named and of those four, three lived to adulthood.
Mary worked for many years as a florist in Spokane. She didn’t drive, so she traveled to and from work by walking and riding the bus.
When Mary was just 63 years old her husband died. She lived 31 years as a widow, dying 11 June 1997 in Spokane, Washington.
Sometime in her later years she made a trip back to Scotland. There are a few photos of Mary with some of her cousins. And then, there is this photo. A photo that has captured my attention. Something about it tells me that this particular cottage was important to Mary. Important enough to go and stand in front and have her photo taken.
I’ve wondered if this was her childhood home or the home of a grandmother. I’ve also wondered if I am imagining the home’s significance to Mary. Maybe it’s just the home of a cousin she visited. But then right after the thought crosses my mind I am once again convinced that this cottage is significant to Mary’s story. And that makes it significant to me.
I hope this particular cottage is still standing. I hope I will be able to recognize it when I find it. I hope to one day look at this photo and understand exactly why it is so compelling. Why Mary traveled from Spokane to this spot during her golden years. Why she walked up to this cottage and stood next to that door and asked someone to take her photograph. Why did she love this home so much?
One day, I hope I will be able to tell you.