Beyond FUN: A Middle-Name Meme
Here’s the deal:
1. Post these rules before you give the following facts.
2. List one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, make one up or use the one you would have liked to have had.
3. Choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Leave all these bloggers comments telling them they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your post.
L - Laughter. It remains the best medicine for anything that ails me, the best amplifier for every truly enjoyable conversation, reunion, and celebration I’ve ever enjoyed.
Y - Yes. The ability to stay open to possibilities, opportunities, and even inopportune events as well as the unknowns they might introduce keeps me on my toes and fascinated by every new thing I learn every day.
N - New. New experiences; new friends; New York (my home state); New England (I’m with you on this one, Lisa. My mom’s family traces its history back to the Pilgrims and settled primarily in Stamford, Connecticut. She loved growing up near the ocean and still misses it, I think); New Year’s (January 1st rocks with possibilities, doesn’t it?); new life every spring (my favorite season).
N - No. As in No Excuses. No excuses to keep me from doing what I enjoy and what’s good for me on a regular basis. The list is long but here are the top handful: enjoying family and friends (either in person, on the phone, or in the virtual world of e-mail and the blogosphere, and yes laughter again is a big part of the fun); reading anything; writing anything; exercising (Jazzercise, woohoo!); eating well (and yes that includes desserts and wine!); organizing anything from sock drawers to the plot line of a new novel. I am just a tad detail-oriented and can tweak the hell out of any project (I even edited the rules of this game! No excuses for being an editing geek, either.).
My middle name came from my paternal grandmother, Evelyn Perina Giacherio DeGroot, Eva to those closest to her. Of German and Italian descent, she grew up on a farm near the DeGroot Dairy Farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I have memories of visiting her and Grandpa in Michigan when I was a kid, but remember most the visits she and Grandpa made to our home in Syracuse every fall. The sight of their camper parked in front of our house made me run down the street from school each time. Our yard by October was always packed with fallen leaves and inside our house the smells of coffee and tobacco (from Grandpa’s pipe) warmed every corner. When Grandma and Grandpa visited, the old-fashioned windmill cookies I still love would appear in the kitchen with the ever-present bowl of McIntosh apples on the counter, and Grandma’s skim milk (skim milk! I couldn’t imagine drinking that stuff, lol!) in the fridge.
While Grandpa was particular about a lot of things (the freshest tomatoes from a grocery store could never compare to the tomatoes grown in his garden, that sort of thing) Grandma loomed just as big and tall in my imagination but loved easily and laughed at every little thing. “They’re coming out of the walls!” she’d exclaim as another of my brothers arrived home from work. She complimented me on my school paper detailing the parts of a flower; out on walks she’d pluck a wildflower and stick the stem in her mouth “to help it live a little longer.” One afternoon she picked up an armful of leaves in our front yard and threw them in the air over her head, laughing as they fell all around her and settled into her jet black hair.
Grandma told me once while I played the organ in the dining room that “Amazing Grace” was her favorite song; when she was unable to attend my wedding years later I asked the soloist to sing “Amazing Grace” as everyone arrived; I’m sure more than one of our wedding guests wondered at that choice but I thought it was completely appropriate, especially since it brought Grandma to mind as I waited downstairs in my wedding gown for the church to fill. I also remember Grandma complimenting a lemon bar dessert I made once while she was visiting, and another time when she shooed Grandpa from the kitchen as I pulled out a recipe and some baking pans, insisting I needed privacy so I could “experiment.” I still wish I’d asked them both to stay and talk for a while, but I was a lot like my grandmother back then: humble and hesitant, certain most of the time that I was in the way and apologetic for most everything I did, said, and wished for. My adult determination to make No Excuses extends to what I’ve since learned regarding the need for balance in our giving and taking, our loving and demanding, our sacrifices and our simple ability to say no. It’s not a bad word anymore, I’ve decided, and while I insist my kids listen to their dad and me even (or especially!) when they don’t like what they’re hearing, I look forward to encouraging them as they grow older to make sure their days are filled with as many “no”s as they need, as well as all the “yes”es their hearts desire. I’m fairly certain Grandma would be pleased.
Golly, I’ve rambled! Four to tag: Lisa, Amy, Hannah and Lynne at the wondrous Writers’ Group.
Photo of baby Evelyn, 1908