Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joanna Elizabeth: Tradition in a Name

Joanna Elizabeth was named after my Grandma Jo (July 22, 1923 - December 18, 2007). In our family, it's a name that has been passed down to strong women. Grandma Jo's grandmother's name was Johanna. Johanna named her daughter, my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Johanna. My great-grandmother, whom we called "Oma" because she immigrated from Germany, named her daughter (my grandma) Johanna Elizabeth. My grandma came to America as a young girl and hated the letter H in her name. She had it legally changed to Joanna.

My grandma wasn't keen on continuing the naming tradition, but after the birth of her 6th daughter (her 9th and final child), she gave her the name Elizabeth Joann. My aunt went by Bette Jo growing up and later even went by Lizzie. She did not pass the name on to any of her children, but my Aunt Carol gave my cousin Jana the middle name Joanne, and my Uncle Matt named his daughter Elizabeth, or Beth.

My husband gave Oliver the middle name Kory. Kory is my husband's best friend. When we planned on our second, I got to choose a person to name her after. I knew immediately that I wanted to continue the family tradition and name my daughter Joanna Elizabeth. I think about my grandma all the time, as the smallest things remind me of her. Whether it's decorating for the holidays, finding a box of windmill cookies in the store, or opening up the trunk of my car (the car was my grandma's, and it still smells like her in parts of the trunk), I love the constant reminders of her. It's fitting to me to name my daughter after a woman I loved so much.

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