With each name that I research, it still amazes me the finds that I make in my pursuit of my family's genealogy and the stories that I find behind their names. Sometimes, though, the story leads to the name, or a picture, or another person to add to the family tree...Today I'd like to introduce you to my "Boo". No, it's not Boo Radley [Silly. That's a fictional character.], but my great-grandmother, Alice Florence [Vaughan] Truitt. I don't have a picture of her unfortunately, but I do have the story behind her name.
My grandfather, James Wesley Blacketer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa 22 Mar 1894, grew up in Missouri, joined the army, was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and this is where he met and married my Gran, Mary Alice Truitt [Boo's daughter]. My grandfather [who I never met] was pretty much a "bean counter" all of his life, which [no offense, but] doesn't usually lead to an adventurous life. However, my grandfather managed to put a little pizzaz into his life when he secured a position with a company in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Yes, you read correctly. Mexico. Now, growing up I had always heard about my grandparents and my eldest aunt living in Mexico for awhile, but never thought much about it until I found my grandfather's and my grandmother's applications for a U.S. Passport on Ancestry.com. This was definitely a good find because the applications included a picture of the applicants, and I had never "seen" my grandfather before.
Image by MichaelB in Houston via FlickrIn the 1920's [and a little before], Tampico, Mexico was a booming city with the introduction of the tramway/railway and the development of natural resources such as oil. Many companie s came there to "set-up shop", and apparently many Americans in search of work followed them, and my grandfather was one of them.
Happy and Bilingual [Sort Of]
So, what does this have to do with how my "Boo" received her nickname? Well, I'm getting to that. As you can see, in the picture that was used for my Gran's application, there are 3 people. On the left, I believe is my Aunt Anne [actually, she's my Gran's sister, but we always called her Aunt Anne], my Gran is on the right, and she's holding my Aunt Happy. [There's a story there, too, with that name.] Aunt Happy was about 6 months old here in this picture. The story that I heard countless times was that when the family came back from Mexico, my Aunt Happy could only speak Spanish, with just a few words known in English. One of these words [and apparently one of her favorites] was "bamboo" [I suppose they had some growing there where they lived]. When not speaking Spanish, she called everything "bamboo" including my [you guessed it] great-grandmother, Alice Florence [Vaughan] Truitt. Try as they may, they couldn't get her to call her anything else, and eventually it was truncated by my Aunt Happy to just Boo. And she's been Boo ever since.
Her Irish Eyes, They Were A Smilin'
My Boo, Alice Florence [Vaughan] Truitt was born in Port Bolivar, Texas 23 Oct 1883. [Port Bolivar is the peninsula that was one of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Ike last year and is also known as Bolivar Point and The Bolivar Peninsula.] Unfortantely, I don't have many memories of my own of my Boo. In fact, I have just one. I remember my Aunt Mary Anne and my Uncle Lloyd bringing Boo for a visit in the early 1970's and she was quite elderly then. Uncle Lloyd was forever yelling at her. No, not really yelling at her, but speaking very loudly to her [it just seemed to me like he was yelling]. Well, I never understood why he did that, so I asked him. He replied that Boo was hard-of-hearing then he walked off. I then turned to my Boo and said "I don't yell, and you're able to hear me just fine." She replied, "Don't worry about him. I just do it to annoy him." [A woman after my own heart.] Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr [Howth & Ireland's Eye. County Dublin, Ireland.]
My Boo was a spry thing for being, at the time, just over 90 yrs old. [She passed away at age 94 in 1978.] Oh, that reminds me. She danced the Irish Jig on her 90th birthday. I wish I had memories of it. I'm sure, though, her mother [my great-great grandmother] Annie (O'Brien) Vaughan's Irish eyes were a smilin' an' a watchin' from abov', stompin' her fee' an' clappin' her hands.