Road Trip - Days 4 and 5, and the Story of how I got my Name.

Nothing like waking up to a 25 foot drop off a cliff!

Texas, of course:
...and if you have 14 seconds x 2, please watch these beautiful and hilarious videos:

The next day, we made it to Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana and visited my namesake's grave.  Being that I've never eve met anyone with my same name, it was definitely strange to see it on a tomb stone.

I am often asked how I got my name.  My great-grandfather, Vermond Andreas Nielsen (seen above,) got married and divorced within a single year, at the age of 20.  In the early 1900's this was unheard of, so his family disowned him.

He left the family to join the circus, and took up the persona of "Ray-V."  He traveled the country on the circus cabooses of the early railways, playing the calliope.  Sometime around February of 1929, he and his wife of two years, had a baby.  Beulah passed out during the birth, and Vermond was drunk.  When the nurse asked him what name to put on the birth certificate, meaning for the new baby, he said "Ray-V."  The nurse asked "How do you spell that?"  He responded, "Don't you know who I am!"  Certainly she did not.  She made up the spelling herself, and thus the name Raphye was born with their daughter.

Vermond continued to travel and drink and swoon, and eventually caught Syphilis.  For this reason, Raphye was their only child.  Though she loved him very much, Beulah could never lay with her own husband again after that.  She claimed it was brain cancer that eventually killed him.   Just four months later, in June of 1950, Raphye would walk down the aisle with her uncle and marry her husband, Carl John Alexius.  CJ, as he was known by friends and family, was my beloved grandfather.  My aunt Gretchen still has her mother's wedding dress.

I don't know much else about them, except that my aunt Gretchen found Beulah in a nursing home in 1998, all but forgotten.  She had no other family to remember her, and being deeply devolved into a state of dementia, wasn't really able to shed much light.  Soon after Gretchen found her, Beulah died.

A deep thank you to my aunt Gretchen for keeping our rich family history alive, and for sharing it with me.

We didn't bring flowers, but we did bring life.  We left this box turtle in the adjacent woods.

Visiting this place was very emotional.  We felt welcomed in a spiritual sense.  The happiest, liveliest puppy came out of the woods and bounded excitedly towards the kids.  He was so familiar and sweet that we felt like we were being welcomed and our visit was appreciated. 



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