I don’t usually take part in the Daily Prompts, but Tuesday’s ‘Say Your Name’ prompt caught my attention – perhaps because today is my birthday.
I was named Marie, after my maternal grandma who was called Mary but known as Mamie to everyone. My Dad trained as a French teacher, and lived in France for a time after he graduated so I was given the French version of the name. When I was growing up I was very grateful for that little twist because to our ears (my friends and myself) Mary was both old-fashioned and holy, and very unfashionable even in an all girls convent school. I secretly preferred Maria, it sounded much more beautiful and glamorous to me, but for some reason it never entered my head to change it. I guess my grandma felt the same about the name Mary because she did change hers.
I’m proud to have been named after Mamie. She was born in 1904 and started work in the local thread mills around the time the First World War began. She got married when she was 30 which was considered late in those days, presumably because so many young men had been killed in the war. Her three sisters never married. In the run up to the Second World War she had two beautiful daughters. During the war she ended up working in a munitions factory whilst my Grandpa Charlie was in the ARP. Three years after the war ended she was widowed. She struggled to cope with her loss but had to ‘pull herself together for the sake of the girls’, taking three jobs to make ends meet. When her mother died she took on the mantel of matriarch. That is how I remember her, as the focal point of the family, her house was constantly full of people. To me she always seemed to be laughing and had an endless supply of treats for my brother and me. Sadly, she died when I was only six, a legacy of her war work in the munitions factory.