I was born the fourth child of Clyde Henry Stanley and Mamie Louise Martin. My given name was Raby Anne Stanley, a name I hated all of my life! No one ever got it right! They either called me Roby, Ruby, Rabbi, Rabies or some other variation. It’s pronounced just like Baby but with an R! I often asked my mother where did she come up with that name and she never really said why other than it was the name of one of my aunts. Which made me question, where did my grandmother find that name??? Who had ever heard of that name!!! I just could not comprehend marking a child with a name such as that! For years I said “when Momma dies, I’m legally changing my name” but when that time came, I thought, what the heck? It’s too much trouble and besides, I never use it unless it is necessary for some legal document! Luckily my dad had nicknamed me Cookie after Cookie Bumstead in the Funny Papers who was also born in 1941 and so I answered to that until somewhere along life’s path with my late husband, Don Hemperley, he changed the spelling to Kookie. My children didn’t even know my real name until they were teenagers and upon finding out, they gave no hint of a smile or laughed and were sworn to secrecy in fear of having their privileges suspended for life. My grandchildren may smile when they accidentally hear it and they can get by with that. However, they lovingly refer to me Dear. Being the first girl in the family I was known as a tomboy often found climbing trees or trying to catch up with my three older brothers who were always into mischief. Brother Jim was the daring child; Tommy my babysitter; and Charles was the one who got into trouble even though our antics were seldom his fault. My dad was a hard working mechanic and Mother was a stay at home mom who had her hands full keeping up with the four of us and the two sisters that followed me by ten and twelve years. My interest in genealogy first emerged during the late 1960s when my father-in-law began telling me the history of his family. I found it interesting and colorful and wanted to know more. I reached out to Mother and she and I began a journey, traipsing through cemeteries, down back dusty roads, collecting tidbits here and there and talking to older members of the family. There were periods of time that I was sidetracked and had little time for research due to raising a family, working and life in general. Today, since I am retired, I have time to sleep late, do a little gardening, occasionally paint, write a little poetry and work on crafts. However the most exciting day I can envision is discovering something I never knew, dreamed of, or could have imagined through genealogy…….. Such as the day I discovered Raby was a name passed down through generations of not only my aunt but also my grandfather’s aunt and who knows beyond that from whence it came. Genealogy has been good to me. I have connected with relatives I had not previously known; reconnected me with those I had forgotten; imagined hardships of those who came before me and deeper appreciation of those who gave me a weird name! But please, if ever we should meet, just call me Kookie!!!
My name is Kookie.
Growing up in the ‘40s, we (my three brothers and I) played games like Red Rover, Red Rover, Hide and Seek (also known as Ghost in the Graveyard) and Blind Man’s Bluff. While genealogy is no game to me, I feel as if these game names could apply when I call on a lead and ask if I can “Come Over, Come Over”; ramble around graveyards looking for genealogical clues; or that I am blindfolded when groping for an ancestor that has become my brick wall. My goal is to break that wall down before I “Kick the Can”!