Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
Lyft

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

November 1, 2018 Call me Lois, in any way, shape or form ... I’ll answer
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

My mother was no more than a child herself when she was first drawn toward an odd inclination, through equally odd circumstances, to select a specific name she would some day want to give her first female child, Lois.

At that particular time she was still attending school in a tiny, rugged, log structure laboriously constructed to provide educational opportunities for the children of a growing number of immigrant families populating the deeply wooded, vastly isolated back-country of early 1900s Alberta, Canada.

The facility’s sponsors, headed actively by her father, were successful in securing the services of a young female teacher who was warmly welcomed by the students, many of whom, of course, were members of my mother’s family.

In addition, the teacher’s given name of Lois quickly captured their attention with its uniqueness.

As the family continued to grow in the normal manner of “things as usual” my mother’s sister eventually became born and the name Lois was given to her without objection.

Some time later my mother was asked to help support the family, and although still only in sixth grade, she left school to work for area families as a domestic laborer. Her action was copied by other siblings, but the results varied.

Sensing her remaining a part of the family was no longer a benefit she arranged to leave home and return to the country of her birth. She could do that by taking advantage of plans being made by several older members of the extended family to return to the United States, to Iowa, where other relatives still lived.

Time passed, my mother moved to Iowa, married, and when it was my turn to assume the name, Lois, my mother learned she and her sister Lois were becoming sisters to yet another child, a boy, who would be known as my uncle, the same age (by days only) as myself.

At that stage the family’s increase rate ceased. My uncle being my grandmother’s 16th and last child.

Soon after that, my association with the twice-borrowed name began to develop some peculiar problems. Throughout the years, I continued to encounter (pitfalls I called them) recurring difficulties with my name not being accepted as it was presented, even if spelled out at times.

I became the possessor of any of a variety of versions: Louis, (Lou, even spelled Lewis at times), Louise, Loyse, Loris, Eloise, and eventually, my all-time favorite Lo-ie (a cuddly name I’d have loved to have had when compared to my cute, little, same-aged girl cousin, DD, the one with the curly hair and the favor of our shared uncle … his jingling Prince Albert Tobacco can of pennies saved for her still resonating in my memory … but that’s another story.

It all comes down to this now: I will answer to any and all of the names called out because they are probably all mine, but be patient, please, while I recognize which one of them it is I’m responding to.

Lois Eckhardt may be reached at P.O. Box 413, Wellman, IA 52356.

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