Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Brother Named After A Cat? (October 30, 2014) -- "PeterCat"

This snapshot of my mother was taken beside the barn and tomato garden at the Carpenter family home at 551 High Street in Cumberland, Rhode Island in the mid-1940s. She is holding what is believed to be "PeterCat," the last of the cats that the family had and the first cat that my sister and the older of our two younger brothers ever met. Like the Carpenter family dog, Penny, PeterCat was a much anticipated part of any visit to our grandparents' home -- although PeterCat was always somewhat aloof as cats can be.

Now PeterCat looks nothing like my younger brother. And my brother never looked anything like PeterCat even when he was a baby with small, undeveloped facial features (well, excepting maybe my brother's ears, which were large enough to often look like an alert cat's ears).

In our Carpenter genealogy there are a couple of Peter Carpenters and a Peter Aldrich, but to be honest they were all collateral great grand uncles of varying degrees and unknown to my mother or her mother or any other living ancestors when my brother was born. 

When our younger brother was born, my sister and I awaited the gender and name like everyone else. I for one knew the naming would probably have something to do with family members since it was well known that I was named after my father's brother, John, and my mother's brother, David. And so it was natural that my sister and I would look for a basis for our brother's name when it was announced. 

When the name of this new arrival was announced it was learned that he was to be called "Peter Arnold Tew." The basis for the middle name Arnold was obvious. It was the first name of our father and his father. Our new brother's first name, however, was somewhat perplexing at first -- that is until we realized that there was a "Peter" in the family and it was, of course, the friendly (but rascally aloof) "PeterCat." 

And so it was that my sister and I decided between ourselves that our parents MUST have named our younger brother after the Carpenter family cat. Our parents denied this when we eventually revealed that we knew where Peter's name came from, but nonetheless we were not quite convinced and later used the story to successfully tease brother Peter.  

By the way, Peter (the brother, not the cat) was born on October 30th, so . . .


Peter (the brother) -- 1963.
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Scan of original snapshots in the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. What a lovely story about how your brother was named after a family cat, John ;-)