Before I Had a Real Sister...

When I was little... before I had a "real" sister... I had imaginary sisters... there were two. I had named them Francis and that other thing (because I couldn't remember her name). They were named after two little girls who were 3 & 5 years older than I was, daughters of some friends of my parents. Obviously I was quite impressed with these girls.

Anyway... when Mother was feeding me she would always have to give a bite to Francis and then one to that other thing... she would have to bathe me, then Francis, then that other thing... tuck us all in and kiss us all goodnight. I do think Mother tired of doing three times the work for one little girl. Eventually she got her wish and Francis and that other thing were gone. I wonder where they went. Back to live in their own house with their own parents?

I think they left because when I was two, I got a doll for my birthday from my Aunt Opal. Her name was Kathie. She was almost as big as I was. I suppose there wasn’t enough room for Francis, that other thing AND Kathy, even though they took up very little room. (Above is a picture of Kathie and me sitting on our front porch.)

Recently I found the letter my Aunt Opal had written as if Kathie, herself, wrote it introducing herself.

The letter says:

Hello Jodie...
My name is Kathie...
I'm going to be your new birthday baby.
I'm a little soiled as I have been in a display window but Aunt Opal thought you would like me anyway.
Happy Birthday now that you're two whole years old.
Hope you like me.
Kathie Reher

Just like Francis and that other thing before her, Kathie had to go everywhere and do everything with me... Not only did Mother have to feed her, tuck her into bed and kiss her good night etc, she had to carry her along with us when we went anywhere... because, of course, I wanted her along but I tired of carrying her soon and wanted to be carried myself. After all, I was only 2!! So if you are picturing this all in your minds, add one more thing to the picture: Mother was pregnant with my sister Jerrilynn. Eight months pregnant!! We didn't have a car, we had to ride the bus, which picked us up on the corner in front of our house. Picture a young woman, pregnant, carrying a 2 year old and her life size doll friend up onto the bus. Poor Mother!! I bet she could have killed Aunt Opal... and wished Kathie was gone and that Francis and the other thing were back.

Of course, all of this would have gone on even after my poor Mother had Jerrilynn. Now, once again, she would have to do everything for three.

Kathy, of course, was the best baby of us three, quiet, no trouble really.

When I was three, I got a smaller doll. Her name was Sweetie Pie. Aunt Opal also got her for me and named her.

My name...

I've almost always gone by Jodi... although the spelling has changed over the years. When I was in grade school I wrote it Jody and then later Jodie... but sometime before high school I adopted Jodi and it has been that way ever since.

My given name is Joyann... all one word... no middle name
(although it sounds like two names, a first and a middle.) Joyann Reher

There are a couple stories about my name...

My Mother wanted to name me Robin... Robin Reher...
That has a nice ring, don't you think?
However my Great-aunt Ethel Sipple Chandler, who also named my Mother, thought that Mother should name me Joyann... after my Grandfather whose name was Joy... and so my Mother did. Now, I think Mother could have pleased both Aunt Ethel and herself by naming me Robin Joy... but she either didn't think of that or didn't want to disappoint Ethel or her father, Joy.

Aunt Ethel "invented" the name Joyann or so she thought any way. She thought she made up or created the name Juleen also. Supposedly she had never seen it or heard of it before. We do know several others with the name Joyann, one which is older than me... so obviously Aunt Ethel is not the inventor of that name.

Mother, whose given name is Phyllis Juleen but has always gone by Juleen, hated going by her middle name and she always wanted a nickname, envied those kids who were called Susie or Debbie... She says she "felt cheated" not having a nickname although she did have one friend who called her Julie. Mother always knew she would give her children one name, no middle name, and then a nick name. So though she could have named me Robin Joy and still satisfied Aunt Ethel, then I would not have had a nickname.

And so, I am Joyann... nick name Jodi and my sister is Jerrilynn... called Jerri.

Of course... what goes around comes around... (or is it a different cliche' I should be using?)
I hated the fact that I had one name but was called a different name. On the first day of each school year, the teacher would call roll, "Joyann Reher?" Everyone in the room would snap their heads around looking for someone named Joyann. Who is that? Someone new? I would raise my hand or stand up, "here... but would you call me Jodie?" I would ask. Everyone would make fun of me... "Jooeee-aaannnnnnn!!" So I vowed to give my children names that they would be called... No nick names!! Get it?? Mother always wanted a nick name, so gave me one. I hated that, so gave my children names that couldn't be "nicked"... I wonder what they will do if/when they have children?
My children are Wade, Jill and Matthew (and yes, he is called Matt... but that's sort of obvious, not a complete word change.)

Yesterday morning I was talking to Mother about my name... for this blog posting. I was verifying the story and asked exactly when they started calling me Jodi. She didn't know. In the afternoon Mother, Jerri & I were at Jill's playing cards. Now you have to understand how the four of us play this particular game of cards called Split. It's kind of like Rummy, you collect pairs, but you can steal them from the others if you can make a "better pair" with the cards... Anyway, all through the game, it has become part of the game for us to constantly be whining about the cards we have, the ones others steal, and the penalty points they make us take when they make a "perfect pair"etc. Jerri had selected me for the penalty and said something like, "I have perfect Kings and YOUUUUU can mark it (the penalty) JoooeeeAannnnn" ... Mother said, "I quit calling you that when you ceased being a Joy. That's when I started calling you Jodi." About 1/2 way through this, she was laughing so hard she could barely finish the sentence... and when she did and I'd explained to Jerri & Jill about talking to Mother about my name just that morning, she repeated it again, and we all joined her... laughing because we knew she had just then made that up... We knew it wasn't true... but it sure made a good addition to the story.

So I was named after my Mother's Father, Joy Franklin Sipple.

Why, you might wonder, would anyone ever name a boy Joy?? I have a theory about that...

Now... this is only my theory but it seems very likely to me the answer to this question...

Joy Franklin Sipple was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska February 8, 1886.

Nebraska City, Nebraska -- Nebraska City's claim to fame is that it is home to Arbor Day.

J. Sterling Morton (Sorry... the J is for Julius not Joy) was the founder of Arbor Day. After his marriage in 1854, J. Sterling Morton moved to Nebraska where he had a job waiting for him as a journalist on Nebraska Territory's first newspaper, the Nebraska City News. He was later the editor. One article said that he started this newspaper. At the age of 23, J. Sterling Morton was elected to Nebraska Territory's 2nd Legislative Assembly. President, James Buchanan, appointed him acting governor of the territory from 1858 to 1861. Morton was the United State's first Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland.

In 1872 Morton introduced a resolution to the State Board of Agriculture that would become his lasting legacy. It was the seemingly minor idea of having a day to celebrate trees. He called it Arbor Day. In 1885, Nebraska declared J. Sterling Morton's birthday, April 22, as Arbor Day and made it a legal holiday. Today, all 50 states, as well as many countries around the world, recognize Arbor Day in some manner.

J. Sterling Morton and his wife Caroline had four children, all boys. Their first boy, born in 1855, was named Joy. I have seen two articles that gave Caroline's maiden name as Joy and others that said her name was Caroline Joy French. At any rate, their first born was named Joy after her. The other boys were Mark, Paul & Carl.

After his father's death in 1902, Joy Morton built the present Arbor Lodge, completing it in 1903, using it for 20 years as a summer retreat and donating it to the State of Nebraska in 1923 as a state park.

Joy Morton was the owner of the Morton Salt Company. He gave Americans that blue cardboard cylinder of salt with an unforgettable logo: a little girl holding an open umbrella and the memorable words "When it rains, it pours!"

Joy Morton also established the Morton Arboretum at his estate in Lisle, Illinois in 1922. It is one of our countries finest. The Morton Arboretum is a world class, 1700-acre botanical garden of woody plants 28 miles west of downtown Chicago.

So you see...

Both the Sipple & Morton families lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska at the same time...

Joy Sipple was born one year after Arbor Day was established as a holiday in Nebraska...

Joy Morton would have been 31 at that time...

What better than to name your son after another well known, well liked, famous family.

In the Morton family, the name Joy has been passed down to both boys & girls in each generation. It is a name to be proud of.

In our family the name Joy has also been passed down. Besides my Mother naming me Joyann. Grampa Joy named his middle son, Joy F Junior and Joy Jr named his second daughter Joyce and his second son Joy.
Perhaps one of the great-grandchildren will name their children using Joy as a middle name... wouldn't that be nice?