I first became aware of the name "Beulah" when I was 10 or 11. I heard it in school, thought it a very unusual and funny name, and laughed. That evening at dinner as I was telling my parents about it, I laughed again.
My father gave me a warning look and said, "You better watch it."
Puzzled, I asked why. When I received no response from him, I looked to my mother who said, "That's your father's mother's name."
Ohhhh. This was completely new information to me. It was the first time I'd ever heard anything about my father's mother. I grew up unaware that most children have two sets of grandparents.
It was years before I learned more about my grandmother, Beulah Gerner Doyle, who died a few weeks after my father was born. This morning I was imagining how my life might have been different had she lived and had I known her when I was a child. There would have been trips to Stoneboro to visit with her, perhaps for week-long visits in the summer months; letters and cards sent back and forth; and one more person to love and be loved by. My imagination went further when I thought about how much different my father's life would have been. He would have grown up safe and secure, loved by two parents instead of in a home where his loving father had to protect him from an unkind step-mother. Beulah died in 1913; my father in 1987: they've had 24 years to get to know and love each other. I'm sure the reunion was grand!
Today is Beulah Gerner Doyle's 123rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Gramma!