What’s in a name? My brother Al, or Flo?

This may be the evilest post I have done to date. Sorry, brother Alan, too good to keep to myself.

Being now a woman of leisure, okay, so I know I have to start job hunting this week, but I took a few days to get a grip on this fortuitous event, and went to my dad’s to put up some tomatoes he had for me.

While there, I wanted, still, to find out about this Chivaree that was held in his and mom’s honor on their return from their honeymoon, but somehow skipped over that info.  I did find out a tad about the honeymoon, though Dad didn’t provide the gory details, naturally, he did say where they went and such. So follows what I found out last Friday.

Dad and Mom had a rather heated relationship from about a year or so after Dad graduated (52), they started dating in 1953.  Mom’s best friend was Jane Desgranges (I probably don’t have that spelled right) and she dated Merle DeVries (Dad’s cousin or just a guy he ran around with [friends]).  Anyway, Jane and Merle set up Mom and Dad, and they started dating.

They dated from 1953 to 1955 when Mom graduated, and shortly thereafter, he proposed to her.  I want to note here that Dad asked mom to marry him and gave her the ring several months later, and then, they still didn’t set a date until months after that and even then, the date was one two or three months away.  Considering the way most people handle this today, I thought it kind of interesting.  They married September 29, 1956.

Anyway, I guess they had their ups and downs and Dad told me there were times when they would have a fight and Lucille Monke, from where he worked, would call Mom after seeing my Dad, Nelson, down in the dumps, and tell Mom he was more or less pining for  her, upset about everything, and maybe they could make up.  Yes, people back then, and probably still today, interfered in their love life.

Dad specifically relayed one time that he was so mad after they fought that he marched to his car, started it, and in peeling out spun his wheels so bad as to leave ruts in the rock driveway so that Grandpa asked Mom the next day what had happened.  He doesn’t remember the argument then (aww, too bad :(), but, as we all know, they made up, got married, had children,, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, etc.

On their honeymoon, they left after the wedding and drove a whole 25 miles before stopping on Route 66 in Farmersville.  The place they stayed is no longer there, but Dad says there is a small shack standing by I55 near where the motel was. This again, was interesting to me, because they didn’t have a special hotel or plan, just started driving and only made it 25 miles before stopping.  Was it the lust or fatigue?  The world may never know.

They went to Janesville, Wisconsin,  stayed the night and went through a cave there.  Mom had a pen pal in Iowa that she wanted to visit, so from there, they went to a farm near Waterloo, Iowa.  Her name was Shirley Luhring (I think that is the spelling).  After seeing Shirley, I think they drove back home.

Weird unusual thing, Mom died in February 2008 and later that year, in May, we found out that Shirley had died in a tornado that hit Iowa (warning, this is really sad).  I write this now only as a remembrance of all these events.

After visiting Iowa, they returned home.  The Chivaree was held upon their return and before Dad reported back for service from his leave.   Maybe next time I will get information on that.

After talking about the logistics of the honeymoon, no romantic details, we somehow got on the subject of kid’s names.  Oh, I remember now.  Dad brought up how we also in 1964 went to Oklahoma and Kansas on a family vacation, I think the only one we EVER took.  This was, again, to meet one of Mom’s pen pals, and also he had some relation in Kansas.

He then said, “You know how mom always said (my brother) Alan’s name would have been Florence if he had been a girl?” and I said, “No, I don’t remember that and if any of us had remembered it, I’m pretty sure my older brothers would have nicknamed him Flo long ago!” (Sorry, Al, I’m sure if Mark or John read this, they won’t be calling you Big Al anymore!)

He continued that is was sort of a joke because Mom was convinced that she got pregnant when we were stopped in Florence, Kansas on the way back from this trip.

So, I proceeded to ask him what all of our names would have been if we had been the opposite sex, and how they picked our names.  I wonder how many people really ask their parents about this?  I don’t remember ever asking my mom or dad before the other day. And sorry, sibs, but I’m pretty sure Mom had a better memory than Dad about these things and would have provided more detail, but what can we do about that now?

Going from oldest to youngest, here they are.

Child #1 – Dad doesn’t remember the girl’s name, but he liked Wayne (his or mom’s cousin) and Mom liked John, so, John Wayne it was.

Child #2 – They both picked Mark fairly easy, but it was Mom who picked Henry – grandfather’s, great-grandfathers – I think I once counted my great grandfather’s and great-great grandfather’s just on my Mom’s side and their were 3 Henry’s and 3 Fred’s.  A funny side note, however, Mark’s nickname now is Fred Ziffel.

Child #3 – Mom wanted Susan, but Dad has a great aunt Susan who he claims was the ugliest woman he ever knew, so he said to Mom, “Don’t name her that, I’ll always think of Aunt Susan when I see her.” so Mom compromised, and dropped it to just Sue.  Elaine came from some family name, maybe on Mom’s side – Dad wasn’t sure, and knowing what I know about my family tree, I’m not either.

Child #4 – Dad wasn’t sure if Ruth was named after one of his aunts, though I do remember the lady and she was quite nice, or Ruth from the Bible – but he was sure her middle name, Sharon, was after the babysitter.  He said, Mom really liked Sharon.  She lives in my metro area and I have seen her and talked to her a few times since Mom died, and I have to agree, she’s a nice lady, and I’m sure she was an awesome babysitter.

Child #5 – I’m not sure where Alan came from, but Dad wanted to name him Matthew, well, because of the Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  Mom wasn’t too keen on the idea, so again compromised thereby using Matthew as the middle name.  Where Alan came from?  Dad had no idea.

Side note – Dad said if they had another boy, you know what his name would have been – yeah, Luke.

And, that concludes my recent historical talk with Dad.  One other minor tidbit totally unrelated to all this – he told me my great-grandfather, Henry, drank wine, supposedly with every meal (even breakfast).  He  had a small vineyard at the farm and would put up 5-55 gallon drums of wine each year (bottled, of course), and it would all but be gone the next year.  I figured it out, and if he didn’t give much away, he, and I guess his wife, were drinking about a half gallon of wine a day.   That’s supposing that my dad had the drum size correct, which is tough to say since Great-Grandpa was already passed when he and mom started dating.  I asked him how he knew this information, and he said, well, of course, Mom had told him. So,  take this info with a huge grain of salt, no?

Tune in next time for more family history.  Is this good stuff or what?    I’ll work on being funnier next time.


2 thoughts on “What’s in a name? My brother Al, or Flo?”

  1. Hello Sue, I’ve wandered over to your part of the blogosphere again. I’m working my way back from your birthday.

    On names: I once asked my mum how I got my name, and I can’t remember what she told me! I’ll have to ask her again. Both us girls have the same initials as mum, but not any of her names. The first two of my brothers has one name each from our dad, and the third would have had “Cyril” if they’d known Dad had a third name. Dad didn’t find out about it until he was in forties, when he had to get a copy of his birth certificate. It was one of his own father’s names. I enjoyed reading about your family naming method. I’m going to ask my mum about all my siblings and my names next time I speak to her. 🙂

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