Thursday, 27 November 2008

"By any other name................"

There are usually one or two names that remain in the teacher's memory for ever. Usually - but not always -they are the names of troublesome children. I'm sure I taught plenty of angelic Stephens during my teaching career, but one or two naughty ones mean that I get a certain sort of feeling when someone is called Stephen. Sorry about that any Stephens reading this!

I wonder to what extent what we call our own offspring influences what they become. Probably not at all, but I think it might influence how other people view them sometimes. In our village there was a family called Dickinson. They had six sons and desperately wanted a daughter, so tried one last time - and got a little girl, very much loved. But what did they call her? Lucy Ann! Do you think they realised that her initials spelt LAD?

My best friend when I was very young was a girl called Pamela Green. As she got older she became very embarrassed by her name being P. Green.

Once, on holiday, I met the sweetest, most charming and gentle lady who seemed to sail through life with a smile. Towards the end of the holiday I found our her Christian name was Venice (she had, apparently, been conceived in Venice!) Was it coincidence that her name evoked images of La Serenissima?

When I was young an elderly Great Aunt used to visit my grandmother. My brother christened her The Bede. At the time I was really into history and thought of The Venerable Bede and imagined her tall, gaunt and austere. What a surprise to meet this little round lady like Mrs Bun the Baker in Happy Families. When I asked my brother why she was called The Bede he pointed out that he meant BEAD - she was round like one!

All families must have anecdotes about people and events in the past. Three of my bits of family folklore concern LUKE, the brother of Bead. I never met him, in fact I think he died before I was born but here are our three bits of lore - they could well be apocryphal:-

My grandmother got a telegram saying "Come quickly. Luke dying." She caught the bus to his outlying village and as she walked down the street she saw him digging the garden. He had made a speedy recovery.

He once called on his bike to see my mother and she gave him a jam pasty she had just baked for his tea. He was so busy chatting that he tied it to his bike saddle rather than his carrier and promptly sat on it.

He was an agricultural labourer for the same farmer throughout his working life. He left school at 12 and always worked on the same farm. When he was 70 the farmer suggested it was time he retired and he is reputed to have said, "If I had known this job wasn't going to be permanent I would never have taken it."

I don't know whether they are true but I do know they have been passed down our family through the generations. And they have certainly influenced my first impressions of anyone I meet called Luke!

19 comments:

Lucy Corrander said...

These sound like the stories told about Portlanders (Dorset) of the 'old days' . . . and 'Coggleshall Jobs' (Essex).

I love these tales and believe them all!

Lucy

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I adore family folklore. Sadly, I have none. I am fair skinned with blonde hair and green eyes, but my paternal side of the family was native American Indian from the Cherokee tribe. My grandfather was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma. Not much is known about this side of the family because they were mostly illiterate. in some cases they spoke little English. Cherish your stories and be sure to pass them onto future generations, Weaver.

Willow said...

I'm giggling because, as a teacher, I have 'those names', too. I'd NEVER name a son Dylan!

Sharon said...

Love the anecdote about the temporary job. How funny!

Annie Wicking said...

My ex mother-in-law, God bless her, was called 'Violet Fanny Coker' as you can guess she didn't like being called anything other than Vi. I don't think you would name a child 'Fanny' into today world... Would you?

best wishes and ((Hugs)) my dear friend, Weaver.

Annie

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Lucy - I love these stories too - they need passing on to the next generation don't you agree?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Debra - that is a wonderful background. I have Romany on mymother's side and that makes family history almost impossible because they were nomadic people. But I wouldn't have it any other way and I am sure you wouldn't either.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I never taught a Dylan willow but glad you have the same experience.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Definitely not Annie! I still get a rejection note each time I visit you but the comment seems to be there.

Leslie said...

I enjoyed reading many of your posts. Very descriptive and original-easy to read and a many imaginative pictures are formed.

Your photos are very nice too!
Thanks for sharing,

Leslie

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely post, I can remember certain students with gerat clarity (and such interesting names they had in Malawi too!)

We haven't really studied our family history, but my partner is a direct descendent of Rob Roy McGregor. And yes he's called Bob!

Sal said...

You're right about names!
I always seemed to have very naughty boys called Jason or Justin in my classes!
Helen was always the name of the most delightful girls,so much so that I called my daughter Helen.

My own parents names being MURiel and DERek..I recall that our doctor joked one day that our house should be named after the first three letters of their names, put together. ;-)

BarbaraS said...

Some great stories here, I love that Luke... you couldn't make this up!

Pat Posner said...

Luke sounds an amazing 'character', Weaver. I love family folklore, too.

Elizabeth said...

These anecdotes are such fun.
Yes, we should choose our children's name with great care.
As a retired teacher, I have lasting memories of confusing a long line of Lisa Cohen's and Nicole Cohen's - there were at least 3 of each in every year.
All pretty and polite, all reasonable clever with whatever hair style was popular that year.
With 120 students to deal with......
I knew an African named Concord. I though something to do with Hope, Joy etc . No! The plane.

Janice Thomson said...

My cousins are named Faith Hope and Charity - I wonder if they suffered any from those having to keep up the image of those names....

dick said...

Oddly enough, I was talking with a couple of ex-teachers in the Playground Mum's group the other day and we were agreeing about the frustration of having to reject favoured names for soon-to-be-born children because they were associated with horrific past pupils!

My first girlfriend was named Pat Waters. Think about it...

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I would have loved to have known Luke!

There is a tradition here in the south, and perhaps elsewhere, of families calling daughters "sister" and sons, "brother". My husband had an aunt whom everyone called "Sister". And, my husband and I have been known to refer to Edward as "brother" and Apple as "sister" on more than one occasion!

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