When a name is passed down from generation to generation dating back to the 1400s or even further back, it is often not easy to say just how that name got started, but once in a great while, we are able to find out for sure, because prior to a certain point, that name did not appear. Such is the case with my dad’s name in his family line. I have searched the family history pretty extensively, and while I could be mistaken, I don’t think that I am…for this part of the line anyway. My dad’s name is Allen Spencer, as was his dad’s and great grandfather’s. The name, Allen was first introduced with my dad’s great grandfather…as near as I can tell. It did not come from his parents, but rather from his grandparents. I’m sure that at this point, your are confused, so let me clarify this.
My fourth great grandfather, William Spencer, who was born on July 22, 1745, married a woman named Mercy Allen sometime before 1790. The exact date is unknown, but the only child anyone seems to know about, Christopher was born in 1790. Christopher Spencer was my third great grandfather, and the father of the first recorded Allen Spencer…who was, of course named after his grandmother…Mercy Allen. From that point on there would be an Allen from each generation, with only one exception that I am aware of…my sister, Allyn who would have been Allen, had she been a boy. Since she was not, my parents did the closest name they could…Allyn. Having all daughters, I’m sure you would expect that the Allen Spencer line would end with my parents, but it did not, because my sister, Caryl, upon the birth of her son, named him Allen Spencer Beach…thereby continuing the tradition. With the great care that was taken to continue the Allen Spencer name throughout the generations, I have to say that they succeeded…albeit with a little bit of creativity. While I don’t always think of my sister as being an Allen, she did go to school with a boy named Allyn, who was in fact called Allen. It is all in where you place the accent. We always pronounced hers like Lynn, with an A in front. It really had to be continued…it’s tradition. And it is my hope that my nephew, Allen will continue the tradition, or that someone else in the family will do so, because it seems a shame to let it end now.
The rather funny thing about the name, Allen being a last name is that my dad always joked with us when we or anyone else named their kids a name that could have been a last name. Names like Ryan, Garrett, and Kellie, while maybe not spelled exactly like the last name they came from, were nevertheless, originally last names. It’s funny that Dad teased about those names, saying they were last names, but didn’t make the same connection with his own name. I’m sure that was because he knew that it had been his dad’s and great grandfather’s name too. Still, like it or not, Dad’s name was originally the last name of his third great grandmother. Sorry to say it, Dad…but, that was once a last name!!
As a kid, Alena was always just a little bit of a prankster. She loved pulling practical jokes on the rest of us, like the time she kicked a metal Chinese Checkers board that was beside the metal frame if her bed, causing all of us to think that someone had kicked in the big window in our living room, and our parents weren’t home. As we all scrambled around trying to figure out what was going on, Alena was laughing hysterically at the chaos she had created.
Alena always found humor in the things that most of us try to pretend we don’t laugh at. Things like tripping and falling on your face, would find Alena laughing in her shirt sleeve, while trying not to be obvious. Of course, after you picked yourself up off the floor, you had to admit that it did look pretty funny, and in reality, you had to admit that you laughed at the same things, only you left the room so no one would notice.
Of course, not everything Alena did was pranking and laughing. Every year she helps our mom plant her gardens for the summer, and pulls the old dead stuff out for her. When she gets done, the gardens look great. Gardening has never been my thing, so I’m happy to let Alena do those, and she seems to like it. She has a knack for design. The flowers are always perfectly arranged. I guess having a knack is important when it comes to flower beds.
Alena also has a flair for decorating. Not everyone can decorate and have it really look elegant, but Alena can. She uses things like wall paper or border, and bright colored paint that most of us would worry about using, for fear of it being too bright or too dark. I have often found myself wishing that I had the same flair for decorating that she has. When you have seen her house, it is easy to come home and thinks that your own house is…maybe a little boring, and you can’t do much about it either…unless you can get her to your house.
From a love of pranking, as a kid, to a love of decorating, as an adult, Alena has changed a lot over the years…I think. I’m pretty sure she still like those pranks quite a bit, and I have a feeling she still laughs when someone face plants in front of her, but she might be a little better at hiding it now. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!