Changing the family name

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Evans “Buddy” King

Have I mentioned in any of my earlier columns that I have two wonderful and lovely daughters?


Probably at least a few hundred times. Well, in the last few years, I have had the beautiful and poignant experience of walking each down the aisle to meet her soul mate and to begin a new and hopefully wonderful phase of life. And therein lies the story as Shakespeare said, or at least a story.

One of the consequences of these events is that your daughter changes her name, or at least usually. I have never had a problem with whether a woman keeps her name or takes her husband’s.

No one else’s business, it’s up to them. To each their own. When you have only daughters, there is perhaps a slight pang that there will be an end to the line, but I have 15 or so first cousins on my father’s side, about half of whom are male.

While regrettably I am not in contact with any of them, my father’s large depression-era family having spread far and wide and my Dad being the only one to have retained his Christiansburg roots throughout his life, I suspect there are some next generation male Kings out there to carry on the lineage of the “Kings of Christiansburg” (not to be confused with the Lodges of Massachusetts).

I will work backward in time with this daughter name changing thing. Last summer we had a wonderful celebration of the union of Laura King and Joseph Kozlowski.

It took place in Chicago, where they live, close to the Kozlowski clan’s St. Louis roots. Therein lies another part of the story. Joe’s dad is one of 14 Kozlowski siblings. They travel well. They usually have home court advantage at every wedding or funeral or county fair that they attend. They are like Steeler fans.

At this wedding, the bride’s side didn’t stand a chance, our guests being a wonderfully eclectic group of law partners, old friends, West Virginia neighbors of mine and Laura’s friends from her walks of life through Blacksburg High, undergrad and vet school.

 

At this wedding, the bride’s side didn’t stand a chance, our guests being a wonderfully eclectic group of law partners, old friends, West Virginia neighbors of mine and Laura’s friends from her walks of life through Blacksburg High, undergrad and vet school.

While a turnout that brought tears to my eyes for our friends’ support, the bride’s side lacked solidarity, teamwork or cohesion. The Kozlowski’s had the wedding party down pat. It was no contest. It was ovver in the first quarter.

One of many interesting Kozlowski facts is that rather than using names they refer to themselves by numbers. One through fourteen.

For example, Joe’s father told me to “look out for 7 and 12” (numbers changed to protect innocent Kozlowski’s). Before the wedding started, I was randomly standing near the entrance to the wedding site when the first trolley-load of Kozlowski’s arrived.

Thus, I became an unofficial greeter, catching both names and numbers in no helpful order, worried that I might not be able to pick out the two I was told to “look out for”.

The punch line comes a few days later, when I receive a text from Laura Kozlowski. I immediately panic. Is this Number 6 or maybe number 11? What if this Kozlowski asks something that would require me to remember who she was?

With trepidation I began to read. It was my beautiful daughter Laura – the former Laura King. At the next Kozlowski wedding, I think there is one this spring in St. Louis, she will be allowed to get in the “official team picture” I expect. Perhaps she will get her own number.

My older daughter Beth’s wedding also gave rise to a special “name-changing” event. Beth is as gullible as she is sweet and beautiful. In fact, on one beach vacation, she asked Laura to let her know in advance when she was being sarcastic.

Laura explained that sarcasm didn’t work that way. So, when escorting her down the aisle to the waiting Ryan Schoonover, trying to think of something funny to say to keep the emotions in tact, I asked her if she was really going to take the Schoonover name.

Startled, and not recognizing my normal tongue-in-cheek approach, she said “I think so, why?” I then began my worn out monologue of how Bobo, my Dad and her Grandad, didn’t much care for the Germans, how he never really got over the Hitler thing, how he would walk out of the room when Hogan’s Heroes came on TV when I was a kid, muttering “there’s not a darn thing funny about POW camps.”

Catching on (sort of), Beth said to me “I think the name is Dutch, plus he’s part Irish,” knowing the latter at least would appease me.

 

Catching on (sort of), Beth said to me “I think the name is Dutch, plus he’s part Irish,” knowing the latter at least would appease me.

I countered by saying that the Dutch were always just one world war away from being Germans. By this time, we had reached the altar, laughing, thank goodness, since I was running out of material.

So far so good. There are two little Schoonover’s out there, breaking their grandfather’s heart with their cuteness. And hopefully some more Kozlowski’s to come.


Evans “Buddy” King grew up in Christiansburg and graduated from CHS in 1971. He lives in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he practices law with the firm of Steptoe and Johnson PLLC.