Joan Deffenbaugh Staton is of German heritage.
By Donna Grizzle, activity director
“Education is the best provision for old age.” – Aristotle, Greek philosopher
The month of March is filled with many fascinating theme days to celebrate! The most commonly known special days and times are St. Patrick’s Day, Lent, Daylight Savings Time, the first day of spring, and March Madness, of course. This year, Sterling Presbyterian Manor is also celebrating heritage, dominoes, names, mysteries and fairy tales.
March is Greek and Irish heritage month. Unfortunately, no one at Sterling Presbyterian Manor seems to have Greek heritage. Jessie Marguerite Mahoney said her family is of Irish heritage, although she does not remember any special traditions that were passed down.
Five residents can identify a German heritage. Joan Deffenbaugh Staton says that she grew up in a very strict German family household. “I remember that the ladies and us kids would always eat last. The men got to eat first and we would sit and watch them. Then they would leave and whatever was left, which sometimes wasn’t very much, would be for us,” Joan said. She also said that her dad was known for giving licks. “He would sit there with his long, leather razor blade strap hanging from the end of the table. We kids had to behave or when he got done eating he would take us out back and we did not want that to happen.” Joan was one of six kids and was given no middle name. “By the time my mom got to me, she said she ran out of names. The last three of us, we didn’t have middle names,” she said. Although she had no middle name, Joan means “God is Gracious,” so she was very blessed with just the one name.
Jesse Marguerite Mahoney is of Irish heritage, just as her name sounds.
March happens to be the month to celebrate your name. Eleanor Sarita Nearhood Mark, who remembers that her family was Dutch, loves her name. She loves anything with the letter “E,” and she recalls the stories of how she became Eleanor Sarita. Her father, a gasoline truck driver, was supposed to be on his route to make deliveries, the next of which was in Nickerson. But her mother said, “Oh, you can’t go anywhere because we’re having a baby,” so he got ready and stayed at home. He was so excited and happy to see that he had a baby girl that he wanted to name Eleanor. When thinking of her middle name, they remembered that their friend from a southern state was married to a sweet woman named Sarita. They thought this name was so neat that they gave that special middle name to their Eleanor. Well, in the meantime of them naming and her father holding his new baby girl Eleanor Sarita in his arms real tight, a man came upon their property with a gun looking for him. He was a business owner in Nickerson looking for his gasoline delivery. He said, “Where’s my gasoline?” and her dad replied “Oh, I’m sorry! We just had a baby! I have a daughter, and her name is Eleanor Sarita.” The man from Nickerson was so happy for the couple that he backed off and forgave the delay in his delivery. He wished them and Miss Eleanor Sarita blessings and left. And boy, was she indeed blessed! Eleanor Sarita celebrated her 102nd birthday last October.
Some folks were left without middle names, some were named after their parents or family friends, and others’ names were misspelled on their birth certificates. The nuns at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Hutchinson misunderstood Jessie Mahoney’s parents when they said that her middle name was to be Margaret. They instead wrote “Marguerite,” and the rest is history. Jessie also said that her dad was hoping for another boy that he could name ‘Jessie’ so there was no changing that when their baby girl was born. Her name, which means “gift,” was to be Jessie or else, so it is a very good thing those nuns did not mess that up!
“Time is a great storyteller.” – Irish Proverb