Friday, February 01, 2008

Family Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Ruby

Despite the growing popularity of the name Ruby, I didn't choose it for my little gal because it's now and hip, or because it appears in so many songs (though, with the exception of that Kaiser Chiefs song, most Ruby songs are way too sad to name a kid after -- though I will note, she was born on a Tuesday). I named my daughter after my grandmother, who I always thought had a beautiful name to match her beautiful self. I'm sure I'll talk much more about Grandma Ruby in these Family Photo Fridays (she's still alive and well, so she's a fountain of stories), but I thought this picture was particularly appropriate for my little Ruby's third birthday.

A funny thing about Grandma Ruby's name: when she was born in 1923, her parents Fred and Lydia had a hot debate over what to name their little daughter. Lydia liked the name Ruby (which was very popular at the time) and Fred wanted to name her Frieda, after himself. It's puzzling to me why he would be so stuck on Frieda, since Ruby did have an older brother named Ted -- I guess Fred didn't win the name battle with him either. Anyway, Lydia was apparently not the kind of woman you wanted to mess with, so Fred agreed to name the baby Ruby. He went off and registered the name (you can see where this is going).

So, about 40 years later, the now grown Ruby went to the local records office to get a copy of her birth certificate because she needed to apply for a passport or something. After searching through the records (this was in the pre-computer days), the guy at the office regretted to tell her that he didn't have a certificate for a Ruby Frieda, but he did have a Frieda Ruby with the same parents and birthday as hers. That rascal Fred went behind his wife's back and named the kid Frieda anyway, with no one the wiser. Fred was gone before this news was revealed and I'm not sure if Ruby told her mother what had happened or if she just let it go. Either way, she had to legally change her name to what she thought it was for the first 40 so years of her life.

So, there's a picture of Ruby, on what I imagine is her fifth or sixth birthday. I love the picture even though it doesn't really capture who she is -- I've never known her to be scowly or morose, she's actually very sweet and delightful. Like another Ruby I know.

P.S. Sorry about the tiny-ness of the photo. Pictures in those days were pretty small and my scanner couldn't make it any bigger.

1 comment:

Veronique said...

What a crazy story! I wonder if it made Fred feel better or if the secret was just burning inside him...