Monday, July 21, 2008


In my family, names are…flexible. I don’t know if it’s a southern thing (that’s what I’m trying to find out, right?) but it sure seems that way.

Here’s the run-down:

My great-grandmother, Phareby Anne, went by Anne, but was known around town in DeRidder as Miss Annie, and by my mother as Mama Anne.

Mama Anne’s daughter, my grandmother, started out life as Arilla but later changed it to Aurelia.

Mama Anne’s son, William LaRue, went by LaRue, but everyone called him Brother. He had a daughter, Linda, who, as far as I know, still goes by Linda. But LaRue’s son, Calvin, goes by Bubba.

Linda’s son, who went by his middle name, Len, for most of his early life, later decided he preferred his first name, Jeremy, better. As a kid, I thought his name was Lynne—because that’s how it sounded colored by my relatives’ southern accents. (I thought it was odd he had a girl’s name, but thought, you know, the south is different.) It wasn’t until I received a letter from him, when I was in my mid-twenties, that I realized it was actually Len. But by that time, he was Jeremy, anyway.

Mama Anne’s second husband, Roy Marshall, was known around town as Mate (sounds like Moddy). My mother called him Mate Dear (see my post of 7/18 for the back-story on that one).

My mom goes by her given name, Mary Kay, though she is prone to playing with it a bit…Mary K. instead of Kay written out.

Honestly, it’s like trying to keep up with all the name variations in War and Peace.

The funny thing is that my mother always militantly protected my name, and just about killed anyone who Liz-d or Beth-d me. And she insisted that I enforce full pronunciation, too. It’s ironic, really. I guess she knew—better than I—that you have to protect a name if you want to hold on to it.

No comments: