Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kitchen stories: Little Crow

My father, one of three boys and two girls, had a bit of a different name and I never did find out where the name came from. His full name was Dorus Eugene Eley but everyone called him Dory. That's all I remember him being called but when we left Indiana to come to California in 1957 he changed his name to Gene. I guess he never liked the name.

This photo is of Daddy at about three-years-old and I love that you can see the shadow of the photographer to the left. My Grandfather Howard did take photos and developed and printed them himself so I would assume that was him taking this photo. This is unmistakable as Gene.

His older brother was named Gayle, yet another odd name for a boy but get this, his sisters were Harriet and Bernadette. The last boy, Roger. Whew, the cycle of odd names was broken. I never asked my grandmother, Lavon just what she was thinking when she named the kids but then her name was odd, Lavon Sumaria.

My uncle Gayle had a nickname and I only remember hearing it a few times as a kid. He really took after his father Howard and had a lot of his traits, a quick temper being one of them. His first wife Margaret was a good match for him because her temper was as bad as his.

Margaret was dear to me, she would babysit me from time to time and showered me with attention. She had three boys and would have loved a daughter. I was only about five when I remembered a particularly bad argument of theirs. They'd scream at each other like crazy and this time Gayle must have really made Aunt Margaret mad because as he was leaving she threw a kitchen chair at him, it hit the wall and one leg stuck. When he came back they patched things up but that did leave quite an impression of me not to mention a hole in the wall.

At times my dad, especially when he wanted to make his older brother mad, called him Crow. The nickname would make him furious so it wasn't used often. I never knew what it meant until years later, when my Uncle Roger moved to California. Roger was a great story teller and I have most of the family history from him. He was relating the story of Doggie Votaw to me and then asked if I'd remembered they called his brother Crow. He then related the following.

When Gayle was just a little kid he'd drop his pants and pee just anywhere. His mom would scold him but this didn't make him stop. One day he decided it would be fun to pee through a knothole in the fence. He dropped his pants and poked his little penis through the hole. There was a big old crow on the other side and it decided that was one great worm and grabbed a hold. Gayle ran home without his pants screaming bloody murder the whole way and from then on they called him Crow. You can see why, as an adult, he hated that name.


  1. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Loved this story. I will never think of the crows in the same way again. . .
    What a cute little guy your Dad was!

    Keep the stories coming.

  2. he was even handsome at the age of three.........uncle gayle was a pistol wasn't he!!!

  3. Great story, and what an awesome photo. I wish I had vintage photos like this of my family.