Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Thorny Solution

One of Mother's best friends is Jean Holland, the widow of Daddy's cousin Art Holland.  I knew that Jean was younger than Mother, and the other day she told me that Jean was five years younger than her.  This answer led to my next question:  Was Art younger than Daddy?  (Mom and Dad were the same age.)

"Well, I'm not real sure," she replied.  "I remember Roy talking about playing with Art when they were kids."  Then she gave a small smile as one of those stories flashed into her mind's eye.  "I guess that Art used to bother Roy a lot . . . until the day Roy tossed him into a rose bush!"

It seems Daddy was a man of few words but quick action even as a boy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Doppelganger

The term doppelganger is now loosely defined as a person's double.  A German word, it originally referred to an evil look alike.  Dad discovered his double back in 1943.

After he was drafted, he was sent to Ft. Hood, Texas, for boot camp.  He found himself consistently being called by another name, and decided to look up the guy everyone was mistaking him for.  After all these years Mother can't recall his name, but when the two came face to face they discovered that not only did they look very much alike, they were both from Indiana, Daddy from Muncie and his double from somewhere around Seymour.  They exchanged home addresses and after the war ended began to exchange Christmas cards.

We may have met his family early on, but my only remembrance of meeting him was in 1969.  And at all places, at Daddy's funeral.  I vividly remember Mother coming up to me and asking, "Do you know who this is?"  I turned, glanced up, and my heart almost stopped in those seconds it took for my brain to catch up with what I was seeing.  There before me stood someone who looked just like my dad, except he was slightly taller and his hairline had receded just a little more than Daddy's had.  When my already addled mind had processed these variations and recalled the stories of Dad's double, I finally said, "I don't know who this is, but I do know he looks just like my Dad."

It's been over forty years since that afternoon, and although I have no memories of it, I am sure that I wasn't the only person at Roy Stone's funeral who had a heart-stopping moment when they saw Dad's double standing in our midst.

I don't recall seeing a picture of the two together, but if I ever come across one I'll be sure to post it to the blog.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

Almost anyone reading this particular blog refers to Ruth Stone as Mammy.  But who started it?  Oddly enough, it wasn't her first grandchild.  It was Zach Donham.

It all started sometime back in the '50s, when we were attending the Foursquare Church in Muncie.  The church was hosting a ministers' convention and had asked the congregation to open up their homes to the visiting ministers.  Mom and Dad decided to offer a bedroom, and thus met Bruce and June Donham.  The four became quick friends and a few years later, when we were attending the Foursquare Church in Anderson, Mom and Dad were overjoyed when they found out that the Donhams were going to pastor the Anderson church.

So the Stones finally met the rest of the Donhams:  Ron, who was a year younger than me; Dan, who was around Karla's age; and six-month-old Zachary, who was one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen.  We all fell in love with Zach, and the feeling was mutual.  Zach loved coming to our house and hated to leave.  Donhams drove a Volkswagen Beetle, and I can still remember Zach hanging out the window (this was way before infant car seats), crying and reaching for Mom and Dad as the Donham's Volkswagen pulled out of the driveway.

And then Zach started talking.  And calling Mom "Mammy."  She accused his dad of putting Zach up to it, and he always denied it, although I still have my doubts.  At first Mom didn't really care for it; after all, she was only in her mid-30's.  But Zach kept it up, and he was so darned cute it finally didn't matter to her.

Then a couple of years later Mom became a grandmother.  And Kenda heard Zach calling her Mammy and followed right along.  And then came Melissa.  And there was no changing the tide.

Melissa, Kenda, and Zach . . . Mammy's little monkeys
When Ferreh and Miah were little I referred to their respective grandmothers as "Grandma Ruth" and "Grandma Ann".  It worked for a short while, but by that time Mom really preferred "Mammy" and before long Ferreh and Miah were calling her Mammy along with the rest of the crew.  Which grew and grew, especially with all the kids Mammy ended up babysitting for.

And that's how this particular rose became know as "Mammy."