Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Middle Name Meme

While I haven’t been tagged to do the middle name meme, I’ve decided to take up Julie’s invitation to do it. And like her, I won’t tag anyone. I changed my middle name from John to my wife’s maiden name of Crews, thus following the examples of the Czech patriot Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and John Ono Lennon. Here are the rules, two of which which I intend to break (no tags and two facts for three letters) :

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, just make one up...or use the one you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

C--Children: Anne--back home right now, waiting to go to India to be the official representative of the family at Sarah’s wedding. She’ll be resuming her studies once she gets back--most likely in Museum Studies. Sarah will be marrying Vainateya Deshpande in January. She’s at the University of Maryland right now, working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. James--high school senior, who’s also planning to study creative writing in college. Chronology--No “H” for history, so it’s the closest I could get. I’ve always been fascinated by the past, and spent two years in graduate school before quitting and finding a career in the travel business. Someday I hope to write a biography of Edward Bonney, the miller and hotel manager who became a celebrated bounty hunter in the 1840s, and who tracked down the killers of Colonel George Davenport, for whom the Iowa city is named.

R--Railroads. I loved trains from an early age. In the 1950s my parents would take me to the Rock Island Lines depot in Iowa City to watch the trains. I became an avid railroad fan during my high school days. I’ve worked for U.S. offices of the French National Railroads and the Italian State Railways before being hired by Amtrak. I recently published “Time Passages” in Remember the Rock Magazine. Rexroth--Kenneth Rexroth, who spent his early years in Elkhart, wrote some of the most beautiful poetry in the twentieth century, but is not well-known.

E--Episcopalian. Even though my work schedule makes it impossible to attend Episcopal services, I still count myself an Episcopalian. And I am very sad at the efforts to break up my church--and upset with such non-Anglicans as megachurch pastor Rick Warren who have aided and abetted the schism. Anglicans have always (well--almost always) been able to tolerate our differences. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the brilliant theologian Richard Hooker argued that the Church of England should be a “middle way” between Puritanism and Roman Catholicism. A church that could accommodate Puritan evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics ought to be able to live with a disagreement on the role of women and homosexuals. Elkhart--I’m still holding on to the fading hope that I can get a ticket clerk position in South Bend and live in Elkhart full-time. The city has fallen on hard times, but it’s been the home of so many creative people--Ambrose Bierce, Kenneth Rexroth, architect Marion Mahony Griffin, and Pulitzer Prize Winners J.N. “Ding” Darling, Howard James, and Charles Gordone (the first African American to win the Pulitzer in drama). I have a real love for the place.

W--Writing. What I’d really like to do for a living.

S--Spouse Kathleen Crews Wylder, the bright, lovely, and funny young woman I met in college and who is still the center of my thoughts and concerns after nearly 35 years of marriage.


Lisa said...

It's so lovely you've taken your wife's name as your middle name. A beautiful tradition that I hope to see more of. I love your word choices too. How fascinating that both of your parents, two of your children and you are or were all writers. I think I'm becoming fascinated by those who are fascinated by trains. I've never met a woman who was interested in them, but I do know a number of men who are. What is it about trains that so captivates the imagination? I'm so glad you chose to do this meme and you delighted to learn more about your family.

SzélsőFa said...

It was an interesting read, Steve, thank you!

Julie said...

Lovely Steve; I'm going to come back and read this more carefully.

I've seen and photographed a few steam trains over the years - but mostly on 35mm. Need a new scanner.
Love the old Victorian viaducts.

Recently read a couple of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven books if its the same guy - programme driven.

steve said...

Lisa--There are a few women railfans, but they are pretty rare. I once saw a humorous railfan site that showed a picture of a young woman photographing trains and declared her the only female rail buff. But there are a lot of women working on the railroad now, and and a few who have become interested in railroads through environmental activism and historical preservation. I suspect a lot of boys and men like trains because they're big and powerful, just like trucks and planes. Additionally, I was captivated by the heralds--the Delaware & Hudson and Union Pacific shields, the Pennsylvania keystone, etc.
As far as writers in the family, I should add my stepmother, Edith P. Wylder, who's in her 80s, and working on her second book about Emily Dickinson. Thanks for your encouragement.

Szelsofa--Thanks, and congratulations on the Shameless Lion Roar for Powerful Words award.

Julie--Thanks. "Programme driven" is pretty damning. I haven't read any of Warren's books, but I read a New Yorker article about him that was fairly favorable. Then I found out he had appeared with the Bishop of Fort Worth to support a schism.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

I have to get to my Russian but I am coming back to this in a couple of days. This is fascinating. I use my maiden name as my middle name.

My father in law is in love with trains. We went to the train museum and he was laughing about the top of the line technology that he was trained on is now an antique! He has passed this on to my husband and the kids. Martha Graham spoke of trains leading in to the frontier, the freedom and expanse of the West.

Your family is fascinating, especially since I find similarities to mine. My dad died and my mom has time to get off the ranch and do what she likes and has wanted to do and she is writing (and starting to muckrack.) We also found a stack of stories that my dad wrote that may get published. I just switched my major to rhetoric. My eldest has switched to journalism and my brother is a journalism professor. We say in our family that ink flows through our veins-- it sounds like yours, and you all have the advanced degrees!

Julie said...

That came across more strongly than intended, Steve, as I telegraphed it.

He has achieved a great deal, but his emphasis is on programmes. Much of what he wrote I found helpful.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great post and an interesting middle name. I should send your blog link to my brother, who worked his whole life on trains until recently retiring.

Sustenance Scout said...

Steve, you're a historian and a romantic, it seems! 35 years; my husband and I are halway there and happily so. Congratulations on your Sarah's pending marriage! K.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. Beautiful and insightful.

steve said...

Kellie--I wish we had advanced degrees. Kathleen and I are both grad school dropouts--art history and history, respectively. I hadn't heard the Martha Graham quote, but I've always been partial to "America the Beautiful" because it was inspired by a transcontinental train journey.
Thank you for stopping by. Your family sounds pretty amazing as well.

Julie--Thanks for the clarification.

Charles--Thanks. Your brother is welcome to visit my blog, though I don't have too many rail-related posts here.

Karen--Thank you. I feel sure you and your husband will have a long and happy life together.

Rebecca--many thanks. I'm humbled.

SzélsőFa said...

Thanks, and Why, you can place yours over here, too, Steve!

steve said...

Thank you, Szelsofa--I'm very grateful. Now I'll need to think about passing on the award.