Lilly: Swoon 23

Our first pregnancy was met with lots of excitement. The first in my family to have a child, the next generation, it was electric.

So much chatter with friends, family, strangers… are you finding out the sex (no, we don’t care), where are you getting maternity clothes (I plan on avoiding that), baby advice (please stop, you are scaring me)… and inquiries about name choices. 

We were young and pretty naive, so naive that we actually shared our baby name choices. “That is a fat girl’s name” “Make sure it’s not a hooker name” “Can she be president with that name?” (Sadly, this country is still not ready for a female President, no matter what her name is, but that’s a different post)

Here is some advice for those picking baby names… shhhh, zip your mouths. Everyone has an opinion when you are pregnant, and those opinions are usually negative. Once you have the baby people are less likely to say “Zuzu is my old girlfriend’s name, I still hate her”.

The real ask came from my dad. My dad was pretty chill, he didn’t ask for much. When I said it might be Lily Rose if a girl… he replied “Please don’t.” 

No explanation, just don’t. Who the hell was Lily? Some detective work revealed she was my great uncle’s wife… and she was terrible. Terrible enough that no child should ever be named Lily. Wow. We let that one go.

Jacob Frederick Muench Nemec was born. All the worry about fat, slutty, non professional female names… for nothing. He was a boy and evidently boys can be named anything! They can also have two middle names in case your brother doesn’t have sons, then you could always drop the Nemec and still carry on the Muench family name (note, only one of us liked this plan).

Chatting around the breakfast table yesterday Jacob mentioned that since there are hundreds of Nemec relatives, he is entertaining the idea that his kids might have their mom’s last name. Swoon, score, swoon on raising a son that understands that a woman might want to carry on their family name. Then conversation somehow ended up back with Great Aunt Lilly. Mom, why was Lilly so terrible? What did she do? Her response… a long head shake and an “ohhhh Lilly, she was really baaaaad.”

You might want to sit down…

  • Lilly was 10 years OLDER than Great Uncle John
  • Lilly was after his money (he evidently was a famous butcher on Long Island… I love this new family fun fact)
  • Lilly ice skated
  • Lilly wore short skirts (when she ice skated)
  • Lilly delivered gifts in paper bags with no cards and delivered them by saying “here”
  • Lilly didn’t invite people over for visits or fall in line with the sisters
  • Lilly was barren (probably due to ice skating and her ancient age)

My guess is her refusal to embrace the clan was looked at as snobbery. Her loss: both of my parents’ families were loving, partying, inviting, and gracious groups (when they weren’t judging barren women). 

There are so many good family stories out there, this one ended up a lot less dramatic then I had ever imagined, but it brought closure to an old question. Generations, sitting around talking, learning, sharing… it is so important, it is so good. Finding out that my son would support his love’s desire to carry on her family name… sigh… no humble pie at this particular meal.

Left to right: May (my grandma), Katharine (my great grandma, who I am named after), Great Uncle Bill, Frederick (my grandpa, crouching in front), Lilly (the ice skater) holding my dad Frederick, Uncle Bill (young boy in front of my dad and one of my favorite people ever), Great Uncle John (the best butcher on Long Island), Great Aunt Carrie (holding the handkerchief, who gave us the Horn & Hardart tokens), and Great Aunt Florie (Great Uncle Bill’s wife). While writing this, my mother just dropped the bomb that my grandma’s name was not actually May, it was Anna Marie… the things you learn on a Sunday afternoon.

Published by Kat

A mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a graphic designer. I am flawed... but I try.

3 thoughts on “Lilly

  1. Great photo! My dad’s in there too! Plus I have funny/terrible memories of Lily and John as my father avoided them like the plague dragging us into hiding when they pulled up at our house! Can u imagine Big Bill doing that? My brother flirted with Lily too for one of his kids (must have been the time) and got the same reaction! In fairness those ladies (May, Florrie and Carrie) were a tough group to crack! Xo Margaret

    Margaret Pyle
    (914) 980-2465

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the stories! That is too funny, and no I can not imagine him every avoiding a visitor. Your mom and dad were two of the people I asked when doing my detective work… their response was “No no no. NO to Lily”, and absolutely no explanation why!


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