Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Joke was on Us-Grandma Pulled a Fast One!

As a child growing up, my maternal grandmother took care of my sister and me while our parents worked.

I loved my Grandma and Grandpa Smith so much.  I probably spent more time with them than I did with my own parents.  I would follow my grandmother everywhere she went.  I must have listened to them more when they were talking than I knew at the time.  I say this because I can remember quite a bit of family history that I could only have picked up from them. 

My Grandparents and their kids, as well as, other family members immigrated to California from Oklahoma about 1940 or 1941.  They eventually settled in a little town called Poplar in Tulare County.  Before settling in Poplar, they lived in various labor camps staying in places for short periods of time.  They went where the work took them.  Yeah, they were Okies. 

Our parents worked very hard in the fields, hoeing cotton, picking cotton, picking fruit, and whatever  kind of work they could scrounge up.  We were very poor.

Anyway, Grandma always told us that her name was Stella Marie.  I don't know how many times I heard her say that her name was Stella Marie.  Her maiden name was Holland. 

Grandma and Grandpa had six kids, and 30 grand-kids.  I was really close to both of them because they took care of me for so long.  The other grand-kids lived much further away.  

When the grand-kids started having kids, some of them started giving their daughters the name of Marie for their second name.  You can imagine how many great grand-kids they had with 30 grand-kids!  So there are all of these little girls running around who are descended from Fred and Stella Smith with the middle name of Marie.

When my turn came around, of course, I named my daughter Lauren Marie!  My Grandma was in the hospital because the doctors thought she had suffered a stroke.  I was in the hospital because I had given birth.  I spoke to my Grandma several times while we were both in the hospital.  I told her that I had named the baby after her.

I didn't realize how sick my Grandma was.  She never went home from the hospital.  She passed away on February 14th, 1985.  My daughter was 11 days old.  I was devastated.  My beloved Grandmother would never meet my daughter.  What was I going to do without my Grandma?  I was almost 30 years old, and didn't know what I was going to do without my Grandma....

It was after Grandma passed away, and I was reading her obituary that I was even more shocked than I was already from her passing.  In her obituary, it said that her name was Stella Ethel Smith.  I am thinking, Ethel? Ethel?  Where did this Ethel come from?  I called my Aunt Thelma who was responsible for including the Ethel in Grandma's obituary.  She confirmed that Ethel, was indeed,  Grandma's name.

On the SS death index, it has Grandma's name as Stella Ethel Smith.  There was no mention of Marie on the index.  I am not sure if Grandma gave herself the name of Marie and ignored the name of Ethel because she didn't like it, or what happened with Grandma's name.  All I know is that when Grandma said her name was Stella Marie in front of Grandpa, in front of God, in front of her kids, and anyone else who would listen, not one soul spoke up.  Nobody asked her if she wasn't forgetting that she had another name of Ethel. 

I bet when Aunt Thelma got to Heaven, she got a good butt whuppin' for adding that Ethel in there!  She may still be getting them. 

At least we didn't name a bunch of her great granddaughters Ethel!....I'm sure Grandma is happy about that, since she went to such great lengths to never mention the name.

Nellie, Stella Marie, and Alice Argie
That is my Grandma, Stella Marie in the middle.

You notice there is no Ethel on Grandma's side of the headstone.  I think Grandpa wouldn't let that happen.

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