November is a month of many things. Not the least of which includes Movember, Remembrance Day, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and even Peanut Butter Lover’s month!
To preface the following entry, do you know that Mennonites are not particularly creative with names? It’s a tradition. Family names are important; and I don’t mean surnames. The first or the middle, depending upon which generation you’re speaking to, has meaning. My middle name, for example, is an adored family member! For my grandmother’s generation, the first name is the one most commonly passed along.
Margaret, Helen, Maria, Anne; common names for girls when grandma was born. Peter, John, Henry were very common boy names. In fact, the names were so common that it was easy to find another family sharing all the same names! True story, by the way. My cousin’s wife’s coworker and our family had the same number of children with the same name order and yet there’s no relation. Not that uncommon oddly. But I digress…
A recent chat with grandma and mom had me inquiring. Growing up, it was common to hear grandma’s friends call her Pearl. But this is her middle name. I too often go by my middle name. But why did grandma?
It began in school, they said. Margaret Fehr was an atrociously common name. So common that there were multiples in one small classroom. To identify which one the teacher wanted, middle names were called instead. That carried over to outside of school, and into adulthood. A fun and pretty way to identify the individual. Unless your middle name was Paulie and you hated that. Sorry Great Aunt Paulie!
Families are filled with fun and silly little anecdotes just like this. These stories are a part of our heritage. They make us laugh. They remind us of where we’ve come from. They strengthen the bonds we share!
Grandma’s palliative now. Her time with us is limited. I want these stories to remember her by, so that I can always carry her with me. And not the frail woman lying in bed. The spunky little Pearl of the prairies who has a heart for mischief!
What stories does your family share? November is the perfect month to start reminiscing.
Cheers and blessings, Selina Elliot