Monday, March 10, 2008

What's In A Name?



What's in a name? That's the question this week on Tuesday Tell All. And this, my friends, is my first OFFICIAL week posting on it - correctly (*I hope*)...

I toyed with the idea of telling about how we chose our kids' names. But not for very long. This time it's going to be about the mama! This mama, in fact. My name at birth was Leah Margarette Hancock. I also answer to Emily, Joella, Alyson, Joel, Mike, Emaleah Joalyson (thank you Brent!), and Leah Margarette Hancock Junior. I've been told if there were such a thing as a Margarette Junior, I'd have been it. For that, I am immensely proud and touched. I do recall (are you as surprised as I am? - I recall something! HALLELUJAH!) pretty clearly what it was like having the name Leah Margarette Hancock, as a little girl. I didn't really care for Margarette. It was too different from the Anns, Maries, and Jeans that oftentimes followed a classmate's first name. It was long, kindof embarassing to say, for some reason, and basically not the best fit for me... Or so I thought...

Somewhere amid the growing pains of a young girl's teenage years, however, things changed. I realized, in small part, the gift I was given. I was given the name of my kind and dear grandmother. She is no longer with us, but because I'm here, and because my parents chose to pass along her name to me, she is somehow still here. (It's not just the name I got from her, by the way. Just ask my dad if he's heard Grandma Margarette laugh lately!)

Why don't I tell a few things that help to give some insight... What I recall (just about every day) about Margarette Lewis Hancock. Here's her picture, by the way...

I'm so glad this picture was saved on our family site. This picture was taken in July of 1990. It was the day of my 80-year-old grandfather's baptism. He's front and center, beside Grandma Margarette. I'm also up front, in the pretty white dress and big blonde bangs. Although you can't see it - the grosgrain bow atop my head was probably placed with a great deal of (caution - Bushism ahead!) STRATEGERY! Thank goodness I don't have to do that every day anymore. That's another Tuesday topic. ;)

Back to Grandma. I remember the countless Sunday afternoons spent in her yard, climbing trees, walking on white fences, counting cars, and chasing cousins. If there wasn't homemade light bread to sopp up the molasses, it was because we were too late, and all the goods were gone. I remember the afternoons she'd take me to town to pick out something special. My favorite find of all was always a pair of plastic high-heel shoes from the dime store. I was also pretty fond of Lee press-on nails, and I have a feeling, looking back now, that she probably spent the rest of the day worried I was going to glue my fingers together. I can still smell the glue! I remember her knee brace, her glasses, her handwriting, her beautiful blue eyes and her soft white hair. I remember the way she'd smile when I'd walk up to her for a hug, a kiss, and a smell. I remember the way she'd say "Don't I LOVE YOU!?!!!!" I remember what the inside of her kitchen cabinets looked like, and the way she'd save every drop of her drink till after her meal was all done. I remember caring for her as a teenager, when she was sick. I remember wishing those days with her would never end.

She was the epitome of good-natured, loving and kind. She was a do-gooder, and always let her extensive family and friends know how much they were loved. One day, a few years back, I was riding along in the car all alone. I was in a contemplative mood, and was really missing her. I felt her with me, though. I don't just think she was, I know she was. It was one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had. I can remember exactly where I was driving when it was happening, and 9 times out of 10, I think of her with I ever drive back through...During those moments of blissful reunion, I felt her tender spirit communicating with me, that she was proud of me. And that she's always with me...

"Way back when," when I didn't like the name... I was young... And frankly, I didn't know any better. But now I do. I know that to be named Leah Margarette Hancock, for many more reasons than I've found words to mention here tonight, was the greatest gift I could have ever been given. Thank you Ma and Pa!

18 comments:

The Robinson Family said...

Oh my gosh Leah! What a well written tribute to your grandmother. You brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing those memories of her. I didn't know her, but if you are anything like her, I wish that I would have.
Love ya!

Susan Hancock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Hancock said...

Mercy me, little mama. I feel like I've just visited with "Ma" - when her children said it was more like "Muh" and it was very distinct. When they called "Muh" you knew that you would hear her answer "Wooo" meaning "I'm in here, come on in." Margarette was an angel on earth, and her posterity has so much to be proud of.

You have done a fabulous job of describing her. I know that she is proud of you, and I do believe that those who we love and who love us are much closer than we can imagine.

Love you, thanks for taking the time to write such a loverly piece on your granma.

PS- I deleted the first try because I had misspelled several words!! It's been a long day!

Dick & Jacque said...

That is so beautifully written, Leah. You took me right back there with you. And even though I wasn't there nearly as often as you, and even though I'm many years older than you, I have many of the same memories. I remember the same phrases, the same smells, the same blue eyes, and the same laughter.

I don't think you'll mind - I'm going to post a link to this entry on our other "Hancock Family" site. I hope my brothers and sisters and sons and daughters and nieces and nephews will read it. It is a beautiful tribute to our sweet grandmother.

Emily said...

This is so wonderful, Leah! Thank you so much for sharing your memories. I was with her very little, but she was such a wonderful woman and really knew how to make a little girl feel special. This makes me cry, and look forward to the day that I'll get to know her better.

Leah said...

Thanks everyone.

jamie said...

Hi Leah, You don't know me but I found your blog through Tuesday Tell All and I HAD to comment because you are too cool! I had no idea that someone else in this world loved the song "After All". It's my all-time favorite song (and one of my favorite movies - Chances Are). I do a pretty good Cher when karaoking. :) I just had to give kudos for having that song on your playlist. :) Also, hats off for the usage of "strategery", it's one of my top 5 favorite words. Jamie

NCSOXMAN said...

This is my girl! Can you understand why you are my favorite? Pa

Wendi said...

Oh Leah! This is my favorite post so far! I love it! I love Grandma too and I don't think we have ever met. What a beautiful tribute...one that you and all your family will treasure.

(You are welcome. I am glad you are in "Tuesday Tell All".)

Strommer Family said...

What a post that was Leah...I remember just the short while I knew your grandma and I do remember your dad and other various relatives from around "those parts" always saying that you sounded like her. How proud she would be of you now!!

Katie said...

Well I do love to write.. and I've gotten right into this blog!:) Send my link to all your branches, I didn't know all emails. Just yours!:) Send my love to all!

Kuhrau Family said...

I know you probably don't even remembe me, Ali Hale (Monta's duaghter), but I have to tell you that this post is beautiful! I often read your blog and it has really touched me. To know that there are people out there that know parts of me that I don't feel like I know well is amazing! You are very special to me even though our connection seems very distant. Thank you so much for sharing your memories that I never had a chance to create with my great-grandmother. It's fun to be a voyer, but even more fun to feel like I know you better through your blog!

Kuhrau Family said...

"Minta's daughter"

Leah said...

Of course I remember you Ali Hale! (You are the second person this week who's suggested the "you probably don't remember me" bit, and I'm starting to get worried that I actually do forget people or something - mmm, yeah - no! I don't forget PEOPLE!) (*wink to Ruth!)

I just got thru doing a little paruzing myself around your blog, Ali, and your four beautiful kids are TOOO precious! Thanks so much for getting in touch! I look forward to getting to know you even more!

Emily said...

I love your name Leah! It's so unique...everyone in my class had the middle name Nicole...When we graduated that's all that was heard at the ceremony! Oh, not only do we have our Jackson's in common we now have Mayo:)haha

Wendi said...

I love,love,love the new photos of the boys! They are gorgeous!

Are those done by Miss Aly Dart? Someone is talented!

Anonymous said...

Leah, I loved this weeks blog! Grandmothers are special and it is hard when they are gone. I think it is funny that if I hadn't been named Allison Stewart Hardesty I was going to be Leah Margaret! Our mothers thought alike! Have a great weekend. Love ya, Allison

Leah said...

wendi - you've got a good eye, my dear! aly and her camera have changed us all!

ali - i did NOT know that! talk about the same taste in names. :)