teapot1

teapot1

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Babe

B “Babe”

My mother’s name is Bertha, and she’s always hated it, even though she was named after her mother. She complained that she was the one of the three girls (her older sister was Gretchen, her younger Rita) who “got stuck” with that name.


Thank goodness for nicknames.

I don’t know who first started calling her “Babe”—her mother or her older sister or brother—but it stuck—with three of her five siblings.


My mother was the third child. That put her right in the middle of six. Not old enough to have the freedoms of the first two, but old enough to watch over and take care of the younger ones. She often told me how she was just a child herself but had to take responsibility for her youngest brother and sister.



My mother’s parents came from Germany. My grandfather owned a German delicatessen in Manhattan, and my grandmother, besides having six children, helped to make foods to sell and helped out in the store. In those days, if you were an older child, you looked out for the younger ones. Maybe that’s what made my mother such a worrier. She was six years old and walking her baby brother in his carriage. One time she was out with her youngest sister (who always had a touch of the devil in her) when her sister threw herself on the ground in a tantrum. A woman walking by scowled at my mother and said, “What are you doing to that child?”



My mother’s oldest sister and brother and even her youngest brother called her Babe throughout her life. To their children she was “Aunt Babe” and remains so today to her last surviving sister-in-law and her children. And though it may seem strange to call a ninety-nine-year-old woman Babe, it still seems fitting for my mom. She always was and still is a Babe.






33 comments:

  1. A lovely tribute to your mother.

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  2. I love that she was called Babe - works on SO many levels! What a great description of how her being in the middle placed her in that middle land of not as much freedom, but more responsibility. And again, a little tidbit of our lives that mirror - my mother's family line was from Germany too!

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    1. Amy, both my sets of grandparents came from Germany. My mother's family owned an inn in Bavaria, and it's still there today! One of my cousins visited it a few years ago.

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  3. Lovely family story, and wonderful pictures of your mum
    thanks for sharing
    martine

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Martine.

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  4. She's beautiful! Thank you for sharing her with us.

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  5. Great family story. I love that everyone calls her Babe!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Even her little brother all his life called her Babe--I love the story of how he was just barely taking but would call her "my Babe". Thanks for reading, Kathy.

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  6. Loved the picture which went along with a lovely story!

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  7. This is a wonderful tribute to your mother. The photo of her standing in the door ways says she is more than just a "Babe" but that she can hold her own! Love it.

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    1. Yes, k~, my mother could always hold her own, and still does! Thank you for your comment.

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  8. What a sweet and wonderful post!

    *~MAJK~*
    Safireblade.com
    A to Z Challenge

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  9. Love her nick name! Thank you for sharing these pictures and memories of Babe. :)

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  10. A great nickname. My mom's name is Eva June and when she was young she disliked both and went by June. Now, with the popularity of Eva and Ava she's sad she didn't embrace it then. :)

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    1. I wonder whether the name "Bertha" will ever come back into popularity the way, say, Emma has. I like your mom's name. Funny how often we don't like our own names. Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth.

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  11. I love this post! So glad you MOM was renamed with a beautiful nickname~ It suits her :D

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    1. Thanks so much, Ella. That's sweet of you.

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  12. I love the respect you show your mom and I also love Babe. The name says so much about her personality and I imagine, it's accurate.
    Great and loving post. ♥

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  13. I loved learning about your Mom-- what a great post! Thanks for sharing :)

    Cheers, Jenn
    http://www.wine-n-chat.com

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  14. Awesome! I love this post, and thanks for sharing it!

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  15. Replies
    1. Isn't that the truth, Pattie! Thanks for reading.

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