Sonny and Gertie: what might have been

My mother’s remaining cousin on her mother’s side, Fran, always refers to my mother as Gertie. Mom was named after HER mother, which I find endlessly fascinating.

Mom didn’t become Trudy until some point after marrying my father, Les. She pretty much hated Gertie, though long-time relatives were forgiven when they slipped into the old nickname.

Well, that guy with my mother in this undated photo, though clearly from the 1940s, isn’t Les. His name is Sonny. I don’t know a thing about him, including what his last name is. I don’t even know if Sonny is his given name or HIS nickname.

There were, in the day, a lot of nicknames for boys who formally bore their father’s names. Rather than being a diminutive of the name – Richard and Richie or William and Billy – they were sometimes dubbed Chip (as in a “chip off the old block“) or Bud (the next generation) or the initial of the father followed by J – Arthur Jr would be AJ.

Sonny, though, I always thought of as a generic nickname for any lad: “Hey, sonny, could I buy a newspaper from you?” But there are some Sonnys out there.

Gertie’s boyfriend Sonny, my mom told her kids many more times than once, would have been our father if Les Green weren’t so darn charming. This usually happened when she was irritated with our father, though she never said this in his presence.

This statement, even then, I thought was a really odd construction. If we had been Sonny’s kids, we wouldn’t have been…us. We’d have different DNA. We’d look different and sound different, and if we had been raised by Sonny, think differently.

I guess the fact that Les Green was “never a bore” is to the benefit of my sisters and me. No offense to you, Sonny, though. You look like a decent guy, even with that peculiar name.

Oh, today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday, Gertie Trudy.

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Mother’s Day 2017

HA! I was looking at my May posts I completed, and I assumed I’d written a Mother’s Day something about my mom. But I was misremembering. I had written about my sister Marcia for her birthday this week, and that post is largely ABOUT my mom.

So I decided the heck with it and picked some photos off Marcia’s Facebook, most of which I don’t believe I’ve posted before.


Here’s my mom with HER mother, Gertrude Williams, and my sisters Leslie and Marcia, in her red wig period.


My mother with her mother’s people, the Yates, including Gert (2nd left), her aunts Charlotte and Deana. I have no idea what she’s looking at. This is in Binghamton, NY.


Mom with our family friend Betty, probably at the latter’s home near Binghamton.


I could ask someone who Sammy is, but this predates my father being on the scene.


Mom with her middle granddaughter, Alex, Marcia’s daughter, in Charlotte, NC.


Mom with her eldest Yates cousin, Raymond.


Mom with her eldest child, in Binghamton.


Mom with her eldest child, in Charlotte.

I will say that, unlike THIS mom, my mom hardly ever swore, and not just in front of her kids.

Mom, 40 years ago: taking care from far away

trudy.pearlsAfter my sister Leslie and I left my grandmother in Charlotte, NC with my parents and my sister Marcia in January 1975, I went back to Binghamton, NY and stayed in my grandmother’s house. She had a coal stove, and I had SEEN her operate it for years. But seeing and doing were two different things, and soon, the fire went out, and the pipes froze.

I was pretty depressed after the breakup of my marriage to the Okie, so I mostly watched television. I mean hours at a time. My grandma’s set got only one station, WNBF-TV, the CBS affiliate. So I watched the soap operas As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, Guiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow. Don’t remember watching any game shows except Match Game. Viewed the bulk of the CBS nighttime schedule, except perhaps the movies. And, heaven help me, I watched Continue reading

Mother’s Day: no mother, again

trudy_at_churchHere are a couple more pictures of my mom, before she was my mom. I don’t know exactly when they were taken, if I saw them before, I don’t recall them. Funny how she has that head tilt in both, albeit in different directions. My sister Marcia is doing yeoperson’s job of finding photos, scanning them and putting them on Facebook.

I’m fairly sure I know where the first one was taken. Continue reading

That damn song about ancestors

Les.Trudy
Right after I got back to Albany, after my mother’s funeral in February 2011 in Charlotte, NC, I attended the church service of my current congregation. It was Black History Month, and I had helped organize the events, but did not participate much in them. I’m standing in the congregation, rather than singing in the choir Continue reading

Grandparents Day: my grandmas, and one of my daughter’s

One of those holidays I think WAS created by Hallmark is Grandparents Day. Well, technically not, but it FEELS that way.

Here’s another picture my sister Marcia found, taken at some point in the 1940s; no idea where, when or why. The woman in the top row, second from the right is my great aunt Charlotte and the guy next to her in the sweater is her husband, Ernie Yates. Ernie died while his kids Raymond (directly in front of Charlotte), Frances (sitting on the floor), and Donald (on the blonde girl’s lap) were still young, but Charlotte had grandchildren, as Fran, Donald, and Robert (either not yet born, or an infant) all had children. Fran and Donald now have grandchildren.

The woman behind the blonde girl, partially obscured, is my grandma Continue reading

Hyperplastic polyps, and other things

This is a picture of my mother’s class (kindergarten or first grade, from the 1933 date). Can you find her? My, they all look so sullen. I mean, I know it’s the Depression and all, but dang.
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In that TMI category, there were a couple polyps removed from my colon in late June. They were hyperplastic, a term I had never heard/seen before. This means Continue reading

Vegetable washing, poultry killing, Glida Corp, EJ shoes and my mom

This is photo of my mom, Gertrude Williams (later Green), that I have never seen before this week, behind the counter, in front of the scales to the left. My sister Marcia found it and put it on her Facebook page.

Apparently, my mom told my sisters that she worked at something called the Glida Corporation from the time she was 16 for four or five years, and this, apparently, is from there.

There is an obscured chart to the right about Endicott- Johnson, the shoe company that was huge in the Binghamton, NY area, and its sales for the 12 months ending November something, of $142,029,121.32.

So I wrote to Professor Gerald Zahavi, who is a UAlbany professor Continue reading