Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's in a Name?

Victoria, Cousin Nicholas, and Will

Announcing a new grandson: William Meron Thompson, born Thursday, July 30, 2009, at 3:03 p.m. 8 lbs. 4 oz. 21 1/2 " long!! Parents: Stephen and Tracy; big sis, Victoria, 6.

His first name is to honor the Williams family name of my daughter-in-law, Tracy. The second was after my father-in-law, Meron James Thompson, June 18, 1918-December 4, 2004. He was named after his maternal grandfather of Wayne County, MS, James Marion Thompson, Feb. 2, 1854-?

Well, I've found out just how many William's are in our family since this baby was named--my oldest brother, William Eura Smith, August 24, 1926-July 17, 1972, and at least four nephews! This son of Stephen and Tracy and little brother of Victoria is the newest.

The oldest ones I know about are:

a maternal Taylor grandpa, William J. (Billy) Taylor, born 1836 in Tuscaloosa County, died August 1904 in the Civil War, and buried in Richmond Virginia;
and a paternal uncle, son of Robert Smith, 1818-1840 (my great-grandpa), William C. Smith, 1846-1923. (Robert Smith also fought in the Civil War--Co. A 41st Infantry Reg.)

Here's a poem about naming that I wrote a long time ago. Note that I took poetic license here because the truth is sometimes harder to believe than fiction. Grandpa Newton Howard Taylor actually had two wives, Jennie, and then Ella. By those two wives he had 27 children. I think seventeen were Ella's.

In Memoriam: Tempie Savannah Taylor Smith
November 18, 1902 - September 28, 1966

Her name was Ella.
Ella Hasslentine Ella
Sanford Taylor.
I never saw her chop cotton
or cabbage for kraut.
I never heard her hum
the lyrics yellowing now
in her trunk for one
of their seventeen.

I never saw the bundling
board, or the dog trot,
but fireplace rocks still
stand there, outwitting time
like a marble monument
marking hours spent,
stirring syrup and stews
and nurturing new names.

She named you Savannah.
Had she felt the spiky
side of a sand dollar?
Had she ever chased
a bevy of sand pipers?
Did the breeze that bends
sea oats cause her to shiver
as she stoked the fire?

You never saw that place
she conjured up for you.
You named me Mary Kathleen,
youngest of twelve. My pew
in Savannah is marked with brass:
I sit next to your shiny name
and wonder what you dreamed
for me--what horizons, what sea?

No comments:

Message in a Blog

  About twenty Birmingham language arts teachers endured my holding forth yesterday in my current gig as a Road Scholar ...