OAN September 12, 1997, twenty-twa year syne, A wis a puckle weeks intae bein ane o the maist important fowk in the warld: a primary seiven. It wis a Friday, so A hink A hid Girl Guides in Milnathort rehearsin fir Aladdin. Or mibbe it wis ane o the Fridays wi a disco at the Kinross swimmies?

But, ken, A dinnae mind. Ye’d hink A’d hae a memory o the dey it wis annoonced: “There shall be a Scottish Parliament.” The devolution referendum wis September 11, 1997, an the hindmaist results cam in the wee sma oors. A div hae strang, lastin memories o Friday September 19, 2014, the dey we fund that there wuidna be a independent Scotland (fir the noo). By that time A wis twenty-echt. A’d voted, A’d worn ma Yes badge, A’d hid lang conversations aboot pros an cons. A’d cam oan a journey masel, frae a “Mibbe naw”, tae a “Dinnae ask me”, tae a “Yes aye yes!”.

But aboot the annooncement o devolution, A cannae mind. Thir his bin a Scottish pairliament ma hail adulthood an adolescence. A’m pairt o thon first generation that funds Scottish self-determination jist, weel, normal.

Or mibbe no quite. A dae mind it bein a Big Hing. By the time o the offícial openin o the pairliament, in Mey 1999, A wis in ma first year at the high schuil an wis selectit, wi anither bairn, tae represent Kinross High at the procession o young fowk frae ilka secondary schuil in the nation. Coughs NERD coughs. We wis tae be in wir schuil uniforms an were aw gied grey jerseys printit wi the brandin o the dey: nummer ane wi a saltire. We wis tae represent the fair future o oor nation. Gulp.

We gaithert in Embrae oan Castle Terrace, afore stertin oor paraud frae the Lawnmercat tae Princes Street Gairdens, whaur thir wis diverts. A met up wi ma mither an faither an we gaed back tae the New College biggan sae as ma parents cuid mairvel at the sign readin “The Scottish Parliament”. There fir aw tae see like it wis a normal hing. This is afore the current biggan wis fínished an the pairliament debatit in the Kirk’s Assembly Ha. A mind ma faither ettlin tae express the weirdness, the lichtness, o seein a thing he’d campaigned for finally, actually, happenin. Ishbel o 1999 couldna quite grasp it.

Twanty year oan A’ve ma ain perspective oan whit thon chynge meant fir Scotland, but A wis interestit tae see hoo grown fowk experienced sic “weirdness” at the time. Raicently A did a survey fir a young pal’s college dissertation oan the media reportin o the 2014 independence referendum. As A wis answerin the questions oan whither A thocht the wey the papers hid reportit hid effectit the debate, A hid tae finally admit that A jist couldnae mind. Een jist five year oan it wis aw vague. So tae fund oot aboot 1997 A wisnae gonnae rely oan “oral history”. Tae the microfilm!

A heiched masel up tae the fift flair “special collections” at the Mitchell Library (A wis nine month pregnant an there wis nae lift) an got oot The Herald an The Scotsman frae September 12 and 13, 1997, tae read the reaction frae journalists o the time, an the public they were reportin. It wis fascinatin.

Fir a stert, the ae thing ilka reporter made shair tae report wis that the Scottish Office hidna pit oan onie booze at the offícial coont at the Embrae International Conference Centre. Jist coffee, bananas an bagels. Appairently thir hid been moanin. Eh, journalists o 1997? 2019 called tae say: YE’RE AT YER WARK.

Some o it made me feel ... icky. Did ye mind that the devolution referendum wis held oan the anniversary o the Battle o Stirlin Brig? Yeuch. There wis mair nor ae picter o Mel Gibson in the coverage. Twa-fauld yeuch. The campaign’s vibe seemed a gey stroke dífferent frae the independence campaign o 17 year later. Bit chynge wis awreddy in the air. Monie airticles an columns wis aboot the shift in nationalism awa frae a boozey, macho “English-bashin” prejudice, tae a sense o Scotland as European, international, reddy fir the future. Ae airticle quotit a Patsy Gallacher frae Clydebank: “We’ve really done it now. We’ve no excuses. We said we wanted to run our own affairs and it’s about time. It’s going to be a whole lot harder than singing Flower of Scotland.”

An his it bin harder? His it bin a trauchle tae líve in the early deys o a better natioun? Or did we forget aboot the makkin an jist get oan wi the moanin?

Dae we tak the time tae see whaur we’ve bin, apprise whit we’ve duin, an see aw thir is tae dae yet?

It’s a guid hing that the Scottish Pairliament is an ordinar pairt o Scotland’s life – that naebody his tae yaise the term Hame Rule that stuck oot like a sair thumb whan A wis readin aboot 1997. But it’s guid tae mind that the Pairliament is a young hing, no yet wi the key tae the door. There’s a trauchle yet tae come, an it’ll be mair sair nor singin Flooer o Scotland.