Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma Jackson

     Harriet Matilda Reece Jackson is/was my maternal grandmother's name.  How is one to correctly refer to a deceased loved one?  Do we put them in the past-tense just because they cease to be in our presence?  Who is to say that they still do not exist in some other place or form?  Then, if that is the case, don't they deserve to still be referred to in the present-tense form?  Just saying...or asking.

     In our family, I know that at least 3 offspring share three of her names.  One of the great-grandchildren share the name of Matilda.  Years ago, I would have never considered naming a child Matilda.  It seemed too old-fashioned.  Now, however, I am very pleased to see that one of my cousins chose that beautiful name for her daughter. (And, may I add that she is such a beautiful little girl!). 'Mighty in Battle' is the meaning of the name Matilda, and it is derived from Old German language.  There are many variants of the name, Mattie being one of them, which happens to be the name of my other grandmother.  I can attest to the inner strength of my grandmother.  She was no push-over.  She could hold her own in matters of disagreement. 

     Gary Reece, number eleven of 13 children, was named after Grandma's maiden name of Reece.  This name has actually become quite popular over the past few years for both genders.  Reece is from Welsh orgin.  Reece is suppose to mean enthusiasm.  I am proud that this side of the family has been very diligent in preserving the family's history.  We have a family newsletter that goes out several times during the year, keeping us all updated on family weddings, births, deaths and other family celebrations.  We also have annual family reunions. I guess one could say that the Reece family is enthusiastic about preserving the family's history!

     My own handsome nephew, Shane, shares his middle name of Jackson with his great-grandmother. Jackson is taken from Old English.  It simply means 'the son of Jack'. Now that leaves one other name in my grandmother's list of  names that is up for grabs in the family tree, Harriet.  I went to grade school with a girl named Harriet Jackson.  I remember I always thought that was so odd that that young girl had the same name as my grandmother.  Harriet, an Old German name, means 'home ruler'.  I imagine my grandmother did just that!  I am sure, even with the help of the girls in the family, there was always enough work to spread around with all of that cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

     Today is/was my grandmother's birthday.  I still miss her although she has been gone for years now.  She is gone from my sight, but I know that she is still in existence, waiting somewhere for the rest of her brood to join her.  And, she will never be forgotten...and her name continues strong in the branches of our family tree.

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