Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E - is for Elaine - Born in a Bar

No, I was not born in a bar.

I was born in a small hospital in New York City, back when New York City had more little neighborhoods within it than today. But after you hear the story, you will agree that my first name - Elaine - was born in a bar!

My mother's side of the family had a naming tradition for the first daughters born in each generation. Each girl took her mother's first name as a middle name. It is just how it was done.

And so ... my grandma's name was Leona. My mother's name was Elaine Leona. My name was to be Barbara Elaine. Remember, it is just how it was done.

Mom went into labor and was put out for the birth (typical of the time). Then I was born. Simple so far, right?

Dad, being Dad ... being a new Dad ... decided to celebrate my birth by going to a local bar. After all, mom was still unconscious, I wasn't much of a conversationalist at the time, and they didn't serve beer at the hospital. No point in just hanging around.

From here the details get fuzzy (beer was involved, remember?) but it might very well have gone something like this:

Dad: (walking up to the bar with a big smile on his face and sitting beside another patron) Big day for me, Bartender. I'll take a beer.

Bartender: Comin' right up!!

Patron: (probably had a few already) biig daay, uhh?

Dad: Right. Today I am a father!

Patron: fablous!! le me buy yur one.

Dad: Wow, thanks!!

Patron: sooo, le me toots youu tooo.

Dad: (many toasts and rounds of beer later ... ) yeeaap, a lille grl, like herrr mmom.

Patron: what'cha call'en hher?

Dad: hmm, ... giv me minute. ooohhh yesss (chuckles), Barrbarra Ellanee - wiff's nammme is Ellaane (hiccups)

Patron: WHHAAATT (slips off the stool in outrage, beer spills, other patrons stare). Grrills muuuus be naammmed affer dir muvvers. (Points a finger in the general location of my dad.) Yur wifff willl LOVV ya fer thatt!

Dad: hm-mm, I tik yur ritee. Gotttaaa gooo! (calls over his shoulder as he exists the bar) 'anks a buunch! I ooowes ya.

And so, my Dad returns to the hospital, mom's till out, and he fills out the document for the birth certificate with the name Elaine Barbara. Later Mom wakes up, totally pissed beyond measure.

Dad makes a HUGE hit with his mother-in-law!!!! (NOT!) My name was born in a bar. It is not how things were done!



  1. Very cute story! It is interesting to remember how our mothers gave birth and how our fathers either went out and had a drink or sat around the hospital smoking cigars. I also like the picture with you and your dad...priceless! Julie

  2. What a wonderful story. I enjoyed it very much. I can almost picture your moms reactions. :-)


  3. Actually my grandmother's reaction was probably the note worthy one. :-)

  4. I love the picture and your skinny little arms! You were so cute!!!

  5. hi Elaine:)

    what a riot! i would have loved being a fly on the wall listening to the conversations that took place concerning that! and thanks for posting the photo. have a great day!!!

  6. What a great story, and very well told!! Your Mark Twain quote is my favourite quote of all...just ask my family...I'm forever using it!!
    Found you from the A-Z Challenge, looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, with maybe with a little bit of stress thrown in!! I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!

  7. At least he got the names right even if they were out of order. Imagine what the reaction would have been like with completely different names!!

  8. Hilarious. I remember standing outside the hospital window (first floor) while my mom held up my little brother for us to see. Kids weren't welcome in the hospital back then unless you were a patient. :). Thanks for sharing your story and helping me to remember some of mine.

  9. I can imagine how furious your mother must have been! My middle name, Eleanor, is my mother's first name...but it doesn't appear that we had the same tradition in our family. My mom's middle name is Frances...but her mom's first name was Elizabeth. One of the names we were considering for my daughter before she was born was Megan Elizabeth...but we ended up naming her Bridgette Nicole. Neither of those names are anywhere in our family that I know of!

  10. What a neat story! I love little stories like this. My mom passed away last summer and there are so many things I wish I would have talked with her about. Just the little, every day things from years past. Lost memories.
    Thanks for stopping and visiting my blog and for the very kind words. I love your blog and will visit often!

  11. Thanks all for your kind comments on this story. My dad was a good dad when he could be. He had a problem with alcohol. And my mom, although she is still with me, doesn't remember much now a-days. Memory problems. For example I asked her if she remember who "pop pops" was (the name I had for her dad, my grandfather) and she didn't know who that was. So her memory is spotty. Not much chance of getting any new stories out of her. And my dad died in 1970. But by writing my stories on this blog, I hope that I can hold onto to them for myself and my kids.

    I've only just begun to do that - talk about my memories of the past. I plan to do more of that. While my childhood was difficult, we also had some fun things go on.

    Thanks everyone for visiting.

  12. lol. that's hilarious!! what a great story to get to share with people. :) so glad you found me! ;)

  13. Maybe it was time for a new tradition. My first daughter, Ada, was named after a street name I saw in Knoxville, Tenn.

    This was a fun story.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during this early part of the challenge I will not be doing so at this time. If you want to respond to my comment, please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.
    Thanks. And I truly appreciate your efforts.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  14. what a great story. My daughter got her middle name when husband was walking though the mall and saw a personalized license plate.. luckily her first name was already selected

  15. Hi Elaine!
    This is the other "Elayne" from Elayne's Blog~Running to recovery. I loved this post! Very funny. What is really crazy is my birth mom's name was Barbara Elaine!When my parents adopted me they did not know her middle name was Elaine, just a coincidence.I changed the spelling several years ago from the I to a Y :)
    Looking forward to reading more on your blog through the A-Z challenge.

  16. What a wonderful story! Really made me laugh, very cute. And I love the photo!


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