Who's Rory Mor?

My parent named me Roderick William Clarke after my two paternal greatgrandfathers who were both native Scots. It's an old Highland custom to be known by some physical characteristic rather than your family name. Ruairidh is the Gaelic equivalent of Roderick and the former sounds like 'Rory' to Sasunnach ears; Mor means big (among other things). So at 6ft-2 and 225 lb, I think I qualify as Mor.

I've been selling books for over fourteen years now but bookselling is only the latest of a long series of careers I've engaged in. I paid for the priviledge of following this present career by serving thirty plus years in the US Air Force which included fifty combat missions in Europe during WW II, fifty-five in Korea and a year at a desk in Viet Nam. In between time I practiced my engineering skills in Air Force R & D activities.

Since leaving active duty I've done a number of other things such as creating a traditional jazz museum, helping to organize a professional baseball team, operating a 'hi-tech' consulting firm and searching for information about my Scottish heritage. The latter activity led me into bookselling which helps pay for some of the expenses. On the other hand, I take no salary in order to keep my prices as low as possible. In addition, searching for Scottish roots got me involved with the Clan Macpherson Association which I've served as Chairman of the United States Branch and later as Honorary Vice President of the International Association. It also got me involved with An Comunn Gaidhealach America including a term on the Board of Directors, four years as editor of Naidheachd and Vice President for Operations among other activities.

Just so you won't think my focus is too narrow, I've also served on the Board of Governors of the St Andrew's Society of Washington, a member of the Clans of Scotland and a member of the Robert Burns Society of Annapolis. And then there's the four years I spent editing The Pot Still, the newsletter of An Comunn Uisge Beatha, a malt whisky tasting group in the Nation's Capital. And last but not least, I'm a volunteer for the American Red Cross serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Chapter, Chairman of the Chapter's Information Services Committee and as a Disaster Computer Operations Officer for large scale disaster relief operations.

But before you of the Irish persuasion get the idea that I might not be able to help you, please be informed that two of my maternal great grandparents were born in Ireland and came to America at the time of the 'Great Hunger'. Besides, the difference between an Irish and Scots heritages is inconsequential when compared with any other two cultures you'd care to mention. Ireland and Scotland are separated from one another by only 14 miles at their closest points and the historical contacts that these two great Celtic societies have had over the millenia are myriad.

If you're beginning to think that bookselling is really only an avocation with me you're getting close to the truth. However, I've been at now for over ten years and it has helped me follow that time worn adage which my lady of fifty years keeps reminding me of -- "For better or for worse but not for lunch!"

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Thistle and Shamrock Books
P.O. Box 42 * Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-2207 * FAX (703) 548-6162

Let me know what you think of all this by e-mail; mail to:

rory@his.com