Thursday, October 29, 2009

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Not many people know that Catherine LeDuke spent most of her early years being call "Dinah". The strange thing about that is that no one has ever been able to explain exactly why. When my daughter Amanda and I were researching for the book we recently wrote concerning the courtship of James Neville LeDuke and Catherine Frazier Patty, we made a trip to North Carolina to visit with "Dinah's" brother, Clarence Patty.

We were trying to gather a little information about life in the Patty household in the early 30's. I grew up hearing all of Mother's family call her Dinah and thought I would finally be able to get an answer. NOT. Uncle Bud's memory is remarkable. We came away with much detail about a lot of things relating to Memphis life, but about the name he had no clue.

The book I mentioned contains many letters written by Daddy to Mother in 1936. Daddy used many names when starting his letters. You know mushy stuff like honey, sweet heart, dearest, darling. But every envelope was addressed to Catherine Patty. Not one single Dinah from him.

Cathie, Richard, and I were not very creative. When we needed attention is was "Mommy, Cathie hit me; Mother what's for supper?; Hey Mom, have you seen my sweater? And of course much later it became: Miz LeDuke what's the test on Friday going to cover? Wow, that was weird.

Years later Catherine got her first grandchild courtesy of Cathie. I believe it's pretty traditional for the first grand baby to give the grandmother the moniker by which she will be known by all future grandchildren. And of course that name then is used by most everyone in the family since grandchildren are usually under foot no matter which household Mother is visiting.

On behalf of all of Mother's eleven grandchildren, and her sixteen great-grandchildren, and all the parent types including Sue who now use that same name when addressing Catherine Frazier Patty LeDuke, I want to thank Diana McCrory Sharpe for giving us "Bubba".

Yes, that beloved teacher, Latin scholar, Sweet heart to James Neville, Mentor to many students who eventually became teachers themselves, Director of scores of Drama Club plays, editor of her high school annual, President of her college Latin Club, Angel extraordinaire, Elder of the Presbyterian Church was reduced to a "Bubba" in the 70's.

To Mother's credit of all the names she has been known by during her 93 years, I honestly believe that she is proudest of this last one. So I guess we really do owe you a sincere thanks, Diana.

And of course, as her beloved Shakespeare wrote: "A Dinah by any other name would be as sweet."

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