Sunday, January 04, 2009

Evidence of a life almost unrealized.

Poet and novelist James Dickey once dated my grandmother. That little story I've known for years. What I didn't know is that he made mention of her in letters to his mother in a book entitled The One Voice of James Dickey: His Letters and Life 1942 - 1969. It's somewhat interesting to get a peek at a relationship that, if it had gone a certain way, could have negated my very existence.

Some excerpts from the book:

I meet [sic] the swellest girl in Nashville. She is wonderful. I like her better than anyone I ever went with, including Peg Roney and Gayle.

And:

There is an awfully nice girl in Nashville named Jane Davis who seems to be quite taken with me. In all her letters she is always talking about marriage. She is full of ideas about houses and apartments and cooking and learning to "do things together" and all in all paints an enticing picture of connubial bliss. I would sure like to have one like that around. She would really go all-out for her husband; but I'm afraid I'm just not the domestic type. She is dying to get married. I know you'd like her. However I can't forget that freckled slant-eyed, honey-haired vixen I've been sweating out all these years.

Well, all I can say is thank goodness for that "freckled slant-eyed, honey-haired vixen." It was my grandfather who ultimately married the "swellest girl in Nashville" and the rest is, well, the rest leads to me. My fourth child has a due date of April 15, 2009. My grandfather, William Samuel Rickman, and his wife Jane had four children and his birthday was April 15, 1923. In tribute to him, we decided on Samuel for our baby's name if he was a boy. The baby, however, decided to be a girl so we're naming her Samantha Jane. Samantha as a variation of Samuel and Jane in tribute to my grandmother, Jane Davis Rickman.

My thanks to both my mom and my cousin who found the book and its references to my grandmother.

9 comments:

monstermash said...

That's really kinda awesome.
Thanks for sharing.

NELLYWAITS said...

I hope saying how much I loved that story about James Dickey digging your grandma Jane, and how cool the things he said about her, brings you one pixel more, back into focus!

chez bez said...

monstermash: Thanks. It's really awesome to read those letters. Now if only the ones that they wrote to one another still existed...

nellywaits: I hope so as well. I feel like Marty in Back To The Future. :)

The Old Man and His Dog said...

This is cool stuff. Wish I had something equally as cool, but sigh......nothing.

Anonymous said...

you've been told this but guess
you've forgotten. while Dickey
was in training in FL, he sent mom
a young crocodile though the mail,
no less! think she either flushed
it or put it in the cumberland.
as little rob said, mom would
never have married Dickey because
he was supposedly an atheist and
mom was a VERY super presbyterian.
thanks for putting that in - it
would be funny if one of his kids
saw this blog, wouldn't it?!?
lots of love - mom

Anonymous said...

you've been told this but guess
you've forgotten. while Dickey
was in training in FL, he sent mom
a young crocodile though the mail,
no less! think she either flushed
it or put it in the cumberland.
as little rob said, mom would
never have married Dickey because
he was supposedly an atheist and
mom was a VERY super presbyterian.
thanks for putting that in - it
would be funny if one of his kids
saw this blog, wouldn't it?!?
lots of love - mom

finnspace said...

This is super cool - what an amazing story!
And I love the name Samantha Jane. Perfect.

mf said...

really?!? i never knew... that's really cool. im gonna have to check this guy out.

TUG said...

That is awesome! The name choices are excellent as well. Keeping family history alive is important. I did the same thing.