I’m a May on my mother’s maternal side. Those who poke around Mormon research libraries tell me that the name dates back to an early Anglo-Norman-Irish (can you say “mutt mix?”) emigration — could’ve picked it up anywhere along the way from L’Hexagone to the land of the Angles to Éire.
It cracks me up that my pedigree is one part Gallic mixed with two parts British Isles — how on earth do you even begin to reconcile the subtle gastronomic delights of French cuisine with folks who eat taters at every meal, think of pork blood as a breakfast food, and drink warm lager?? Sigh.
So what’s the dealio? Am I a frog? A mick? A limey? Who knows. Many Mays fled County Carlow in the late 18th century, buying steamship tickets for the promised land when famine hit — but I can’t claim them as my country-of-origin peeps until I find that first landing on U.S. soil. One of these days.
As an side, let me say that I look nothing like these folks — swarthy and dark-haired, as they are.
May is an ancient appellation that arrived in England with the Conquest of 1066. (Still checking tapestries for a familiar-looking she-warrior with a head full of fire.) Said nomenclature could have been festival-driven — can’t you just see me wearing a bonnet (with holes cut in the top for my poofs), skipping be-ribboned and tattooed around a pole in the middle of a field? Or it might have been when our feudal obligations were due. (I’d love nothing more than to be named after tax season — but the first May in English record books held a seat as Lord Of The Manor Of Faunt in Sussex, so I imagine we were the ones milking every penny from those pesky peasants.) It could also be derived from the Old French word “mai” from the Latin “maius,” meaning “better.” (Now we’re talking!) Or some ancestor with a particularly sunny disposition was given a goody-goody nickname — that’s fine, as long as I can be snarkily optimistic as I rep our lineage.
The family motto translates as “strong and faithful,” which I interpret to mean “’til the final body falls at the bitter frigging end.” (No surprise to anyone who’s seen my stubborn streak in action.) Yet the colors on ye olde crest provide an odd mix of symbolism — silver for security, red denoting a dealer’s choice of military fortitude or magnanimity or martyrdom, and gold signifying generosity-cum-intellectual-elevation. No wonder I have schizoid interests and bipolar mood swings, with that mixture in my bloodstream!
The whole thing’s topped with a “leopard’s head proper,” indicating agility and strength — we’re good to have around when the feces hits the proverbial oscillating cooling device. (I fight with the fury of a caged wombat. At least during kickboxing class and RPG-ing.) It also suggests stealthy movement through shadow worlds, so watch your back all the way into the afterlife if you get on the wrong side of my clan. Just sayin.’
– served in the Crocheron Light Dragoons militia
– served in the Revolutionary War as part of several Virginia companies/regiments
– fought during the siege of Yorktown
– parents were unknown
– parents unknown
– was a Methodist minister
– in 1823, was granted permission to live as part of the Cherokee Nation
– his wife was a full-blooded Cherokee
– was a farmer and Methodist minister
– donated the land for the 30′ x 60′ M.E. Church South in Sandusky
– was a Corporal in the 28th Alabama Confederate Infantry, Company D
– epitaph “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.”
– home at 1020 Ozark Court was restored and donated to Tannehill
– received his diploma and practiced medicine in Sandusky
– also served as a Methodist minister
– wife Bertha Mae Simmons (b. 1910 in AL / d. unknown)
– son Ernest John D. (b. March 6, 1929 in AL)
– husband Arthur Vernon Cash (b. August 15, 1918 / d. November 12, 1955 in AL)
– son Arthur “Pokie” Vernon Jr. (b. July 18, 1950 in AL)
– son Walter Lee (b. August 28, 1955 / d. December 13, 1955 in AL)
– husband Myles Revels Dease (b. December 18, 1921 / d. January 12, 2006 in TX)
– husband Horace Gates Miller (b. July 11, 1924 in MS / d. October 20, 2014 in AL)
– parents were Horace Miller and Rena Ivy
– daughter Margaret Ann (b. August 22, 1954 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– husband Ellie Glenn Willoughby (b. July 25, 1948 in AL)
– son Norman Ivy (b. December 28, 1957 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– wife Lisa Jo Blackwell (b. August 12, 1958 in AL)
– daughter Britanny Nicole (b. September 22, 1984 in AL)
– daughter Courtney Renea (b. / d. April 19, 1986 in AL)
– daughter Anna Marie (b. July 13, 1987 in AL)
– Pearl and Earl were fraternal twins
– it was said in the family that “Earl had the P knocked out of him”
– came back from military service shell-shocked
– was beaten to death outside a bar
– husband James Rowland Mitchell (b.May 20, 1933 / d. June 15, 2001 in AL)
– was a U.S. Army Corporal in the Korean War
– son James Edward (b. August 15, 1954 / d. June 12, 2012 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– son Jerry Linn (b. August 24, 1956 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– daughter Donna Louise (b. December 26, 1960 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– handful of his ashes are scattered in the Crimson Tide end zone
– son Carl Christian (b. September 30, 1955 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– son John Edward (b. February 11, 1957 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– daughter Melinda Kathleen (b. November 22, 1958 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– son Gerald Thomas (b. September 19, 1960 / d. July 10, 2012 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– struck by a car and knocked a few feet off the road into a ditch
– discovered 11 days later less than 1/4 mile from home
– daughters Shelly and Ashley are identical twins
– first husband Jack Bremen Gilbert (b. July 2, 1943 in AL)
– son Russell Warren (b. February 29, 1972 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– son Kenneth Wayne (b. July 23, 1973 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– second husband Jack Martin Hutto (b. December 17, 1955 in AL)
– daughter Susy by first marriage (b. January 7, 1980 in AL)
– ex-husband Verland Duncan (b. November 13, 1956 in AL)
– son Andrew Jacob (b. August 7, 1976 in Jefferson Co, AL)
– goes by the nickname “Red Dog”
– a.k.a. Ricky-Richard-Herrell-Justin-Meanie-Dong-Dong-Cuckoo-Popsicle Creel
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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