Chuck Mack: What’s in a name – Part 2 |

Chuck Mack: What’s in a name – Part 2

— Before I finished this story, my brother Willard came to visit, and he told me Mom was the one who wanted to name me Charles, so she started calling me this while Pop was away that summer, so I guess she’s the one who put this name in the hat.

Pop was really mad when he came back, and Mom was calling me Charles. Pop was herding sheep that summer, and he was on the eastern slope. That’s the only time I remember him being away from home.

But times were tough, and the mines never worked in the summer.

Pop had a big family to feed, so I’m sure he took work where and when he could find it.

I’m always hearing people say how hard a time they have making ends meet, and how hard it is to make a living nowadays.

Boy, they don’t have anything to complain about. If they get laid off from work there’s unemployment benefits. If the unemployment benefits run out, there’s always welfare.

Now, on the other hand, in the old days, before welfare and unemployment checks, people like my Pop, with 11 kids to feed, they had something to worry about.

Honestly, I lived through that period in time, and, to this day, I can’t get it through my head just how people survived and raised a large family all by the sweat of their brow and their wits, with no government assistance.

I have always had a hard time remembering names.

I can remember people, but I forget their names.

Now, you can understand why.

By golly, I forget my own name. Lots of them. The only ones out of nearly a dozen that I can remember are Charles and Timothy.

I’m really good at remembering things and places and other events.

I’m sure thankful for that.

I said my birth wasn’t recorded.

Well, it wasn’t until I was 18 years old. Then I had it recorded.

I had to get sworn affidavits from three wonderful women, who were willing to swear that they were present at my birth.

They call them midwives, right? Lots of babies were born at home during that period in time.

But, I bet not many of them had as many names as I did.

While I’m on the subject of names, someone is always asking me if a certain Mack was my brother or sister, or such.

I have room in this story, so I will list my family’s names.

My Pop’s name was Andy.

My Mom’s name was Nellie.

My brothers were Alfred, Stanley, Lloyd, Etho, Leonard, and Willard.

My sisters were Aretta, Mary (Dimples), Vangie and Peggy.

I’m the youngest of the boys, and Peggy is the youngest of the girls.

Of the boys, all but Willard and I have passed away, as have two sisters, Aretta and Dimples.

Mom and Pop are also gone.

However, they all still live, vividly, in my memory. I visit them quite often in my dreams.

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