Posted in childhood, family, life



My mother and I have the same middle name.
It was her grandmother’s first name. Sort of.
She was Susie. We are Sue.
My first name came from a friend of my mother when she was a girl.
At least it didn’t come from a variety pack box of cereal. My mother would never do that.

My brother has my father’s first name.
They both go by their middle name and that works out just fine. It always has.
My sister and our favorite aunt share the same middle name. She’s my mother’s sister.
I like name continuity. I like to know how names happened.
I like to know the beginning.

Like most moms when we were in trouble my mother would use both our names first and middle.
But only for my sister and me.
My brother just had one in trouble name and I don’t remember it being used very often.
Mine was used. In the house. The backyard. The driveway. The car. You name it.

We were all born in Mississippi except mom and she was Louisiana right next door.
Senatobia is where my father called home.
When I think of Mississippi I remember hot and flat. Carports and potato salad.
The name Senatobia came from a Native American word. It means white sycamore.
My whole life I never knew until I looked it up.

My father likes to tell this story.
He will tell you.
His father had a farm outside Senatobia. Lafayette County. The community was Etta. That’s where the mail was delivered.
William Faulkner also had a farm. My father will tell you he remembers William Faulkner driving around in a fancy Jeep going to his farm and also my grandfather’s farm.
When my father was a boy.

Once my grandfather bought a brown swiss bull from William Faulkner. It had a ring in its nose and it cost $20.00
My uncle kept the cancelled check.

Fences then were not fences now. The bull tried to walk back to Mr. Faulkner’s farm. He had to be brought home by my father and maybe my uncle. William Faulkner was the only person my father knew who owned a tractor.
That is not my memory it’s my father’s but I feel like it’s mine and I love it.

My father had a horse named Be-Bop. Be-Bop was fast. They would race. Other people with horses. A line would be drawn in the dirt and they would go. My father once won $5.00.

In 1969 we were in hurricane Camille. It smashed into Gulfport.
And our house.
It was a giant sea monster.
I was a year old. In my crib. Crying.
We were not part of that hurricane party. Thank goodness.
This is also not my memory. It belongs to my parents.
It is no wonder my mother is afraid of the ocean. The ocean is filled with hurricanes.

A category 5 hurricane shouldn’t be named Camille.
Camille is a rainy day. At the very most a tropical storm.
Everybody knows that.

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