Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Martians, Marshmallows, and Genealogy...

Paw Paw
This is my Paw Paw [my grandmother on my dad's side]. These are some of my favorite pictures of her because they are so expressive. The picture in the center I think is very fitting for Mother's Day, as this was taken with her children [my dad and aunt]. Rettie Maye was born in Southern Illinois in 1913 and was the daughter of Lillie Mae Alley and the grandaughter of Catharine Caroline Vaughn [both also of Southern Illinois]

Stop Calling Me a Martian!
Growing up I always hated my middle name, Martin. When you're a kid, you don't want to be different and my name was definitely not the norm - 2 surnames or a man's name for a middle name [definitely not cool]. I was the object of a lot of teasing and name-calling when other kids found out my middle name. The most popular names were martian and marshmallow. The second nickname making fun of my last name, Marshall [cuz hey, why not?], and sometimes there was that kid in the crowd that put them together: Martian Marshmallow [ha-ha. Very funny]. No worries, though, I'm made of sterner stuff than that, and although I'd like to say that I took the high road and ignored them, I can't. I gave as good as I got...[after all, what would you expect from a bossy, oops, I mean managing woman/girl?

Mom, Why Did You Give Me the Middle Name, Martin?
I just never understood why my mom gave me the name, and I never thought to ask until much later in life. So, why did she give me the middle name, Martin? She said that I was named after Paw Paw's maiden name, and that Paw Paw and I [at the time I asked] were the only one's left in her father's line to carry on the name, and she went on to explain that my Paw Paw's brother and all of his kids died in a house fire [arson: a story for another day]...

Oh. [sigh] Now I've got to say that since that day, I've been so very proud to be named after her...My Paw Paw died in 2003 and now I'm left to carry on the Martin name. Happy Mother's Day, Paw Paw!

[So, does anyone else have any childhood nicknames that they hated, or how about a family story behind a maternal name in your family? Share it in comments, if you want...]



  1. My mother's maiden name was Heifetz.
    When she was a child (at the onset of WW11) the children used to tease her and repeat, "Heifetz has high fits!"

    Didn't bother her. And the name turned out to be a pretty good name for us to have in our lineage.
    One of my daughters is a violinist - and of course, there is no greater than Heifetz!

  2. What a beautiful woman she was.
    I like your middle name.
    I use my middle name now.
    My first name is Mala. My dad is Malcolm and for some reason my mom tried to find a name that would be like his since I wasn't a boy.
    If I were a boy my name would have been
    Malcolm (dad) Sumner (mom's maiden name) Clements.


  3. Caroline, I nominated your for the "One Lovely Blog Award"


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