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A Namesake to be Proud of...

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Regular readers of the Lactivist blog know that I started this project just after my daughter, Elnora, turned a year old. Elnora's full name is actually Elnora Wren Laycock and having returned from a visit to one of her namesake, I thought it might be a good time to post about how she got her names.

Elnora comes from the book A Girl of the Limberlost...my absolute favorite book. (I've read it at least once a year since I was ten.) I picked Elnora partly because I thought it was a beautiful, unusual name, but mostly because I hoped that my daughter might grow into the type of character that Elnora was in the book. The Elnora of the book is one of those amazingly determined young women that overcomes absolutely every obstacle that is placed in her way and handles even the most difficult circumstances with grace and composure. She's smart as a whip, doesn't take crap from anyone, and knows what life is really about. If my Nora can grow up to be like her, I'll be very proud.

Her middle name comes from a strong, independent woman in real life. My great aunt Phyllis. Aunt Phyllis has outlived two husbands and never did have children of her own. Thus, she's adopted all of her great nieces and nephews as her own grandchildren. She just turned 90 this past weekend and we headed home to celebrate with her about more than one hundred of her close friends and family members.

Aunt Phyllis is the type of woman that at 90 would probably still wear a nip/suck shirt from the Lactivist site. She's traveled the globe and experienced more than I'll probably ever manage to pack into my life. She even walked up a waterfall in the Caribbean when she was in her 70s. Until a broken hip put her permanently on a walker a few years ago, she met the "girls" (her high school friends) every morning at 6am for a swim before heading out to breakfast then off to play cards or simply drive across the state to some restaurant one of them heard about.

During the party, many of us told stories about her...dad talked about the time that she called him to come and get the bag of sunflower seeds out of the back of her car. She'd gotten the bird seed in 25 pound bags, "cause bird seed is heavy" but had them load a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds, cause "sunflower seeds are light". ;).

One of the stories that really lays it out about Aunt Phyllis was the one about my bridal shower. During the shower, we had about 35 or 40 women of all ages and we played a game called "I never." Everyone had ten candies and when someone said "I never did X" you had to give them a candy if you HAD done it. Some of the ones we heard... "I've never been to Europe...I've never been skinnydipping...I've never been drunk...I've never been on a blind date...I've never been arrested." You know, that type of stuff.

Aunt Phyllis was out of the game just ten people in. ;) And yes...she was the only one in the room that had been skinnydipping.

Aunt Phyllis's name is actually Lavina Phyllis Dennison Wren White. For years, she's joked with all of us about naming one of our daughters after her. I say joked because even she doesn't like the name Phyllis, but it has been fun to pester each of us about what we'd name our daughters. I had one cousin try to strike a deal to see if the namesake would get a full college scholarship out of the deal. No such luck. ;)

Greg and I weren't willing to go with Phyllis, but Greg pointed out after a visit with her when I was about 5 months pregnant that the name Wren fit well with Elnora and would still be a great way to have our daughter's name be "inspired" by my aunt.

Aunt Phyllis is still kicking...though she does so now with the help of a walker. Her brain is as sharp as ever though and she can wow you with tales of where she's been and what she's done. The family actually planned on giving her a hot air balloon ride for her gift, but due to liability issues, they can't take anyone up that can't jump from a chair on their own. Five years ago she could have done it...but after two broken hips, it's just not doable anymore. (By the way, she broke the hip the first time because she tried to carry her sewing machine across the room when she was 88...and dropped it on herself...)

I sure hope she sticks around for a 100th's birthday so that Nora will actually remember her. :) And I hope Nora grows up with one tenth the spunk that she has.


  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:24 PM |  

    Enjoyed that, thanks :)

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