When You and I Were Young Maggie

I recently celebrated the 18th anniversary of my marriage to my husband. When I was a little girl living in North Dakota I heard a song called When You and I Were Young Maggie. As I listened to the words I realized that it was a song about me and the man I was meant to grow old with (the flights of fancy of a little girl?) The words entranced me:

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie
To watch the scene below
The creek and the rusty old mill, Maggie
Where we sat in the long, long ago.

The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie
Where first the daisies sprung
The old rusty mill is still, Maggie
Since you and I were young.

A city so silent and lone, Maggie
Where the young and the gay and the best
In polished white mansion of stone, Maggie
Have each found a place of rest.

Is built where the birds used to play, Maggie
And join in the songs that were sung
For we sang just as gay as they, Maggie
When you and I were young.

They say I am feeble with age, Maggie
My steps are less sprightly than then
My face is a well written page, Maggie
But time alone was the pen.

They say we are aged and gray, Maggie
As spray by the white breakers flung
But to me you’re as fair as you were, Maggie
When you and I were young.
(by John McCormack)

But how was he going to know me? I told no one. How silly it would seem to others. Over the years even as I went from man to man I always thought of the man in my song. I went from one domestic violence marriage to another and finally gave up. I had learned to play piano and guitar and Maggie was the first song I played each time. Years passed as I kept my childhood secret to myself wondering if I had been wrong.

I went through five years of recovery from child sexual abuse and spent several years afterwards as a single lady never forgetting my childhood revelation. I gave up on meeting anyone who was this man and decided that was it for me. If I couldn’t find a farmer from the Midwest I was done I joked with everyone (I had grown up in a small farming community in Nebraska).

Then, with the last name of McKinnon (my grandmother’s maiden name that I had legally adopted as mine – thereby ridding myself of the names of all of the abusers) I joined a genealogy website called Scots on the Net. There I began corresponding with McKinnons from all over the world. There was one in Glasgow, one in Australia, another in Canada and then there was a man named Tom McKinnon in Colorado. Tom began an email correspondence that lengthened into daily several page long emails as we became acquainted. Months passed and romance blossomed. Then one day I received a package from Tom. It included a tape with several of his favorite songs. He said one of them, an instrumental had caught his ear as he heard it from the other room. He ran in to see what the name was and it was called Maggie. He told me that he wanted to have the honor of making it our song. I looked at the title. Oh, I thought this is that Rod Steward song, not really my kind but it’s a sweet gesture. I put the tape in my tape player and began to listen. As the first few bars began playing I burst in to tears. Here was the man who I was to grow old with. He wrote a note saying that when he first heard it he felt as if he had: wandered today to a hill to watch a scene below. but he didn’t know why he felt that way as there were no words – just the music.

He had also grown up on a farm in the Midwest.
Never give up on your dreams. Never turn your back on a gut feeling you have.

(My computer has been out of commission for several weeks and I apologize for not posting a blog. All is well now so I am back in business. I thought I would start with a happy blog for a change.)

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