Monday, August 8, 2011

Names have meaning

We named you after my great-aunt. While she never married, legend says she was engaged three times. She became the primary caregiver for her mother, so marriage didn't seem to work out for her. She was the executive director for the Girl Scouts of Racine, Wisconsin. She was also a school teacher. She became mother to her sister's daughters, and grandmother to all of their children.

When my dad got sick, she took us for individual weekend road trips. I got to travel to Holland Michigan. I remember being so incredibly comfortable with her on this road trip. Tulips, windmills, tourist attractions and plain hotels. And just her and me in the car.

She always had lawn games in her car. Jarts, badminton and this one that I can't find a picture of because I don't remember it's name. The game was played when you had two long sticks (half length of a pool cue) and put a ring around crossed sticks. You would throw the ring to your partner by flinging the sticks open. You had to catch the ring by hooking it with your sticks, then take your turn flinging the ring back. No hands could touch the ring. Come to think of it, this game would be really dangerous for my kids now. I remember a fair amount of jousting with it.

Our family would go to her apartment for a picnic or inside meal after the annual 4th of July parade. Cracker Jack, cotton candy, water balloons, Tootsie rolls, Texas Cake and a sip of my Grandfather's flat warm Budweiser beer out of a can. I can almost remember the smell of her home; a blend of Jean Naté and cedar wood.

She went to early Packer football games in a fur coat. She had style, she had courage, she had a simple way of living. She was always brilliant.

Your second name came from your dad's mom. You didn't know her at her healthiest. She raised seven kids in a turbulent time in Detroit. She and Papa were dedicated to staying in Detroit, even when much of the neighborhood "turned." She was a devout member of their parish. When it closed, she and Papa supported the new parish with as much dedication as ever. She also ran a child care; always able to engage 3-4 toddlers simultaneously. She would sing to one, while bounding another on her knee, tickling a third while winking at the fourth child. She cooked with passion. She made a beautiful home and supported her husband as he grew from 6th grade English teacher to eventually the superintendent of the South Lake and St Claire Shores school systems.


We named you after your dad. You and he share the name with a few of your dad's cousins, Nonna's brother, who died before your dad was born, and Zio Stephano, who died just two years before you were born, in the paternal home in Santa Guilia. Your dad probably knows so much more about the various Stephens in the family. Or you could ask your Aunt Mary, your godmother.

Your second name is after my father. A man I didn't know well, but understand he was a great conversationalist, joker and all around classical music lover (OK, maybe not so fond of Wagner)

We split your names as fairly as we could. Each name carries the history of family members that precede you. We hoped that by giving you these names, you would know that you are part of a long history of good, caring and loving people who have left their mark on the world. We continue their legacy through you.

You come from a long line of strong women and men. We hope your names give you strength and a sense of belonging to a proud family.

#53 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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