Silly Memory That Still Makes Me Smile

Jillian here. I was working on an upcoming blog post for a friend for the month of October which is apparently Family History Month. My post for then is about my two great aunts. One of which I knew well and one who died before I was born. It reminded me of a funny event involving the one I knew and I thought I’d share it for my post here this month.

My family is from North Alabama. Even though I never lived there, we visited a lot.

My great aunt Lit was my paternal grandfather’s sister. She was married to a man named Charlie Sandlin and I loved, loved him- her, too, but her husband was my pal as a kid. My grandparents owned a house on the Tennessee River and Uncle Charlie and I would swim the mile and a half across it all the time- we’d try to touch bottom way out in the middle. Sometimes we could and lots of times, we couldn’t. The Wilson Dam was not too far away and the water levels rose and fell as the dam was used to let boats in and out of the lock.Β  It was always deep in the center, but sometimes, near shore, you could walk out a number of feet and pick up stray clams in the mud. All the kids grabbed them a lot and then we’d put them in steaming water to see them open. Charlie was a big ole kid and we had a special bond.

Uncle Charlie had a brother named Buddy and he was an inventor. It was a lot of fun to see him on occasion- usually running into him at a store or something like that. He didn’t come out to the lake house and I didn’t know him well and never met any of his kids or grandkids.

Years later, after Uncle Charlie died, I was in law school in Birmingham, Alabama and met a guy in one of my classes named Jimmy Sandlin. I couldn’t resist asking him if he was from Florence, Ala. He said he was and I told him I had a great aunt named Lit who married a man named Charlie Sandlin and he had a brother named Buddy. I asked if he knew them.

He said he was Buddy’s grandson but I was wrong about his Uncle Charlie because his uncle was married to a woman named Marie. It was just so weird, I couldn’t believe it. I said, “I promise you, her name is Lit and it has to be the same person- how could it not be?”

Shrugging, he said, “What can I tell you? Uncle Charlie’s wife was named Marie. I swear.”

I went home and called my dad to find out exactly what Uncle Charlie had been up to with two wives. My dad laughed and laughed and when he finally got hold of himself, he said, “Her name is Lydia Marie and the family have always called her Lit.”

Man! Did I feel silly, but you know what? In all my life, I’d never heard her called anything but Lit.

The next day, I told my new friend we did indeed share a great aunt and, from then on, we called ourselves cousins-in-law.

How about you? Any stories about mistaken identity?

Here’s a picture of the two great aunts I’ll be on my friend’s blog talking about in October. Lit is the one in the seat and Hoovey (another one with a nickname as her real name was Louise) is the one on the arm of the chair.Β Image-1 (2)


12 responses to “Silly Memory That Still Makes Me Smile

  1. Fun. I never had a nickname. But I grew up with 3 boys that did. The mom/dad did too. Even now I have to think to remember their given names.

    • I had nicknames but none of them took over as my actual name. LOL – I love that you had the 3 boys with names you have to think about. LOL

  2. Nope. No nicknames that I can think of in my family, but I sure heard my middle name a lot when I’d done something Mom wanted to “talk” to me about. Lol. What a cool thing thing to meet up with family like that!

    • Yeah. I heard my middle name a lot, too- believe me!!! πŸ™‚ yeah. It was super neat to have a “Cousin in law” LOL He later became a judge in Florence, Ala. Pretty neat.

  3. What a fun story! Lit and Hoovey – unusual and unique nicknames. I think they deserve a book just for their names. And even more fun meeting an unexpected cousin-in-law like that!

  4. Great story, Jillian, and yes, I do have tale of mistaken identity. My family surname is Clark and here in UK Clarks are often nicknamed Nobby, thus both my father and brother were called Nobby. My brother was a motorbike fanatic and always out on his bike in his leathers. One evening I opened a knock on the door to a young man dressed all in leather, crash helmet in hand. “Is Nobby in?” he asked. I told him no, he was out with his girlfriend. He looked a bit confused and asked what time he was expected home. I told him he wouldn’t be, as he normally stays the night at his girlfriends. The caller looked embarrassed and even more confused and seemed at a loss what to say. Thankfully, at that point my mother intervened. How was I to know our visitor wanted my father and not my brother? After that, I always asked “which one?” when anyone referred to Nobby. πŸ™‚

  5. I loved the story Jillian, especially the photo. Must be a book in this!!

  6. How amazing to meet up like that, Jillian! And what a great story. Lit and Hoovey, fun names!

    • thanks Tricia. It was pretty amazing. And lots of fun nicknames on that side of the family in that era – my poor granddad didn’t have one though. He was always James. πŸ™‚

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