majority rule

Where my Aunt Evelyn Hushman was the beginning of my grandma and grandpa, Hattie and George Byer’s large family, Aunt Sandy Pattan was the end. Between them were 17 years and 7 siblings. When Aunt Sandy arrived, my grandparents had a disagreement as to what her name would be. My grandfather wanted to name her Sonya (or maybe Sonja, we will never know, since the name lost), but my grandmother wanted to name her Sandra. They simply could not agree, so the decision was made for Grandpa to go home and tell the rest o the children about the birth, and let a majority rule vote of the children settle the dispute. So, Grandpa went home and told the children about their little sister. Then he told them about the name dispute. They were to decide. Trying as hard as he could to make Sandra sound as plain as he could and, Sonya sound like the most beautiful name in the world, Grandpa waited for the decision. He didn’t have to wait long. Almost the split second he said Sonya, the children all said, “Eeeeewwww!! Sonya!! No way!! We choose Sandra!!”

Poor Grandpa. The decision saddened him. He liked the name Sonya. Nevertheless, Grandpa was an honorable man. The name Sandra had been chosen, and Sonya was out. He would accept that. I’m sure Grandma was happy, and my Aunt Sandy has told me that she is thankful, because she doesn’t think she would have liked the name Sonya. Maybe not, but once a name is given, most people can’t imagine themselves as anyone else. People tend to fit the name given, whether it is unusual or common. I can’t imagine having an Aunt Sonya, but then that is because I have always had an Aunt Sandy. That’s who she is, and it’s as simple as that.

Aunt Sandy must have some of the name/heritage gene in her blood, because she is as curious as I am about things like family history, and name history. We like to know if a name came from way back in the family, was made up, or picked out of a book. It doesn’t really matter which one it is, it’s really about the search. Aunt Sandy is a great teller of family stories. She remembers them in great detail. I could sit and listen to her all day. Many people don’t understand the importance of the family history, and people like Aunt Sandy and me, are important, because without someone to keep the stories alive, the family history could die, and that would be truly tragic. I’m grateful to have Aunt Sandy, who is still able to tell me the stories, so that when some of the kids in the family discover their interest, the story will still be there. Today is Aunt Sandy’s 74th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my Aunt Sandy was born, there was some disagreement as to what her name would be. My grandfather wanted to name her Sonja, but my grandmother wanted to name her Sandra. Neither of them wanted to give in to the other, so they decided to let the rest of their children make the final choice. So, while Grandma was still in the hospital, Grandpa went home and talked to the kids. He told them that they had a new little sister, and that they were going to help pick out her name.

Of course, the children were excited about both the new baby, and picking her name. Their dad, asked them if the would like to have her be named, Sonja…as he said the name, he tried to make it sound as beautiful as he could. Then he asked if they would rather have the name Sandra, trying to make the name sound as plain as he could. It didn’t take the children more than a second to pick the name Sandra, and when he asked why they didn’t like the name Sonja, all they could say was, “Sonja…eeeewwwww, that is an awful name. Sandra is much better!!”

Poor Grandpa. He must have been so disappointed, but he was a man of his word, and Sandra it would be. He and Grandma had decided that the kids would have the final say, and that is how it would be. I’m sure Grandma was happy about the decision, and yet I also think she felt bad about his disappointment. It was a tough decision, and yet she really wanted her name to be Sandra.

After hearing this story from my mom a number of years ago, I asked Aunt Sandy which name she would have preferred, had the choice been hers. So often we wish we could have had a different name than the one we were given…at least, at some point in our lives. Then most of us decide that the name we were give is the best one after all. As to Aunt Sandy’s choice…she said, “Oh, definitely, Sandra!! I can’t imagine wanting to be Sonja…ever!!” So, whether Grandpa liked it or not, it looks like the name she was given was the best by majority rule. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! We all love you very much!! Have a great day!!

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