by Sharon M. Kennedy
On this day in 1910, Alvin Aloysius Kennedy was born. Why Gram gave Dad such a strange middle name was known only to her. Perhaps Aloysius had some connection with Irish relatives, although a quick Google search revealed its origins were German and Latin. It certainly isn’t a common name. According to another non-scientific www search, fewer than 0.001% of infants were saddled with such an odd name since the1940s. This fact will not surprise anyone. Most of the babies were of the Catholic religion. Wikipedia, a somewhat unreliable source, reported a number of “notable” people including Catholic priests and cardinals, Italian aristocrats, French poets, a Singapore actor, and a variety of sports figures were christened Aloysius either as a first or middle name.
But regardless of his second name, Dad’s first also presented a challenge. I think Elvin was the traditional spelling. However, when I was a youngster and wrote his name on the church collection envelope, I couldn’t make a decent-looking “E” so I started writing his name with an “A”. Nobody noticed and if Mom or Dad did, they didn’t chastise me. Dad was called “Al” so I suppose my spelling made sense. His driver’s license disagreed as he had used the “E” instead of the “A.”
But as Juliet said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” And whether Elvin or Alvin, Dad was a kind and considerably sweet man. He never had much to say unless he downed too many beers. The only question he ever asked me was “why” when I told him I was going to marry. As a girl of twenty-one, I said “because I love him.” Dad shook his but did not offer a verbal response.
On this special day, I always remember him. He was a good man and never complained when I dented the car or drove with the emergency brake on from the Soo to Osborn’s gas station five miles away on old US-2. I miss you, Dad. You left us so unexpectedly. Mom was heartbroken and angry that she hadn’t gone first. When I told her you would have been lost without her, she realized your passing into the Great Unknown before her made sense. She was a soldier and is with you now.
Happy Birthday, Dad. Stephanie and I send you our love.
Dad on his Case tractor