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."

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