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WHAT'S IN A NAME
3 October 2013
I was reading through projects on Swap Bot today and came across a post card swap that I wasn't interested in joining, but it did have an interesting description:
The story goes that the name my parents had chosen for me, if I were a girl, was Barbara, after my aunt Barb. There were 10 children in my mother's family, 7 girls and 3 boys. My mother is #7 in the line up and Barb was the youngest. Peach's mother, Marge, was #6 and in their adulthood, Marge and Barb were my mother's closest sisters. She doesn't talk about missing Barb, but she sure talks a lot about missing Marge.
But anyway, I was to be a Barbara but at some point, they decided that it might be too confusing to have two Barbaras in the family, so they went with Barb's middle name, which was Beverly.
Barb was the one who had Alzheimers and when she was still in the "developing" stages, she gave me a necklace of hers, which I treasure. It is a Pisces sign and she gave it to me because we are both Pisces. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was an Aquarius! But I still have the necklace, though I don't wear it.
I never knew that "Beverly" had a meaning until I was in about the 5th grade when the new priest to our parish, Leonard Bose, came into the classroom to meet all the kids. As it happened, we all had our names displayed on our desk and I was sitting in the first desk in the first row, so when he entered mine was the first name that he saw. "That means Beaver Lake, you know" he said. Thereafter he always called me Beaver Lake.
Funny man, Fr. Bose. He was probably in his early 40s, balding, and a funny looking man. I remember when he bought a new car, which was pink and grey. Everyone teased him about it, but he didn't know because he was color blind. He was also the first male figure that I ever developed a crush on...and lord only knows why!!
As for the "Anne," I think it was just for Saint Anne, who was the mother of Mary. My mother was not Catholic, but she was always religious and I know my godmother was very religious, so she may have had some say in the choice of my middle name. It is also family lore that when I was a baby, I had a lump on my neck. Big lump? Little lump? I don't know. But enough to be worrisome. It would require surgery when I got older. My godmother took me to the local parish church, lit candles in front of a statue of St. Anne, said prayers and, when I first heard the story, apparently the lump was gone the next day.
True? Apocryphal? I don't know, but be nice to me. I may be a miracle baby!
It's difficult to know the origin of my last name, which was West. I have never researched it, though Peach has done extensive research on my mother's side of the family, all of whom came from Scotland. My father's family was Irish on his father's side and German on his mother's side. I knew zilch about his mother's family and other than my great grandmother, whom I remember meeting once, when I was 4 and she was in a hospital, I don't remember meeting any of them, except one of my grandfather's four brothers, who was my godfather. I don't know how far back the "West" name went, but it's a pretty plain vanilla kind of name.
When Walt and I went to Ireland for the second time and stayed with his mother's cousin Nora, I mentioned to her the name of my great-grandmother and the county where she came from. Nora was indignant -- "that's not a name from that county," she said...it was from another county. I guess Ireland is a small enough country that if you live long enough, you really do know which family names come from which counties!
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Ahhh...Downton is becoming a cottage industry!
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