Ina Mae

Ina Mae had a temper, a terrible temper.  That’s what her daughter-in-law, my Grandma A., told me.  My dad remembered, though, that she loved it when the boys–he and his brothers–wrestled around on the floor.

Ha, speaking of my dad, I called him this morning on false pretenses.  I’m worried about him, because every time I talk to him in the evening, he seems tired and rambly and, more distressing to me, uncomfortable.  In the mornings, though, he sounds like his usual self.  I tried to convince him to get on Facebook, but he said that the line to kick his ass already reached half way around the world and he didn’t need the whole internet coming after him, too, and he didn’t think, if he got online, that he could help but pick fights with everyone.

Fair enough.

Anyway, I called to report that Grandpa Hick’s sister, Auntie Vi, was indeed–as confirmed by her grandson on the marvelous Facebook–named Viola Lucia.  Hick and Vi’s mom, Ina Mae, had named her after her mother–Lucia Viola.  Heck, in the earliest census records I found, she is listed as L. Viola, so she may have been named exactly after her grandmother and then had it flipped later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the names Ina Mae gave her children.  The oldest, the twins, were named Eva and Eva, often spelled Evah, so that you could see the pronunciation difference, but often spelled just the same.  Then there’s Uncle Bill, whose real name is Carol Dewitt.  Then Grandpa Hick, real name Hildreth Heistand, and then Lucia Viola, who became Viola Lucia at some point.

Judging from Vi’s name–after Ina Mae’s mother–and Hick’s name, which is two family last names (Ina Mae’s mother-in-law’s maiden name and her own maiden name), I’m suspicious that “Carol” and “Dewitt” had some meaning for her.  I wonder if they may be family names.  I found a lot about her dad, but nothing more about her mother than her name.  I’m going to hunt for “Lucia Dewitt” or “Lucia Carol” and see what I come up with.

My point is that she took such care in naming her children, so much so that they’ve given me incredibly helpful clues about my family and how to track them down and map them out.  And so I can’t help but wonder why she gave the twins what was, in essense, the same name.

Here is my suspicion.  I don’t think she thought both of them would live.  And, if they were both named Eva, if one died, she would still have a daughter named Eva.

I don’t know.  I don’t know that there’s anyone old enough to know who’s still around.  But that’s what I wonder.

3 thoughts on “Ina Mae

  1. Or possibly she was spiritual kin to George Foreman.

    I think your idea that she didn’t expect them both to live is realistic. Edward Gibbon the historian was the fifth (or eighth — I can’t remember) Edward born to his parents. All the others died. Children did die, and twins tend to be small, so may have seemed especially vulnerable.

  2. Gibbon was the sixth Edward — all five others, named for his wealthy grandpappy, snuffed it in infancy. Langedocian elites in the 14th and 15th c named entire stairsteps of boys Charles or Guillaume on the same principle. Naming kids distinct names in recognition of their individuality is a relatively recent thing, so I think it’s plausible that she could have just had a kid and a spare. Or maybe she wasn’t evah eva going to carry twins again.

    My grandmother’s real name was Coo (sometimes pronounced Coo-a, other times Koo), but she couldn’t be baptised as Coo, so she became Marie for church purposes.

  3. One thing that’s confusing in my family on this side is that, while everyone seems to have had a first and a middle name, which was which is in flux. So, I don’t know, for instance, if John W. born in 1860 and Wesley J. born in 1861 are siblings or the same guy. I suspect the same guy, but I don’t know.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share that assuming “Dewitt” was a last name was wise. Lucia Viola was indeed Lucia Viola DeWitt. Where the Carol figures in, if it figures in, I haven’t discovered. But I give props to Great Grandma Ina Mae for leaving me just the clue I needed.

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