When we were expecting said little angel, we had a long list of names to haggle over and haggle we did. We agreed we wanted another family name and we agreed that my much-loved sister's name had to be included in some form. We got a list together of grandmothers, great-grandmothers, their mothers, aunts, etc., and started to sort it all out.
The decision making then turned relatively easy as one name kept coming up over and over.
All of these children were raised by one tough cookie of a woman named Helen Reber. She dropped the Christ surname after kicking her no-good husband to the curb. This was unheard of in her day and I can't imagine the backlash and whispers behind her back she must have endured. However, Great-Great-Grandmother Helen raised her brood in a tiny little house in Laureldale that I think still stands today. To heat the house, she would send Pop and his siblings to collect coal that fell from the trains that went by. The stories of "Grammy" are many and a wistful look always comes over the person or persons recalling them. At the time that Ms. Reber was raising her family, prohibition was making it very difficult for a lot of people to self-medicate their way through the depression. But, Ms. Reber had a solution for all parties involved. She ran a distillery in her little home and used the money to raise her family. I have a feeling this woman was tough as nails and tender hearted at the same time. She knew what had to be done, so she did it. As the legend goes, the fuzz got wind of her operation and Pop and his siblings had to dismantle the distillery and throw it in the river one night.
Having heard her story a lot of times since moving to this side of the Keystone State, I was on board with naming our precious little baby girl after this woman, Helen, who was years ahead of her time. I have a feeling she didn't take crap from anyone, but obviously she loved her children in all the right ways and did her best with what God had given her. Helen was a name I could get behind. And, any woman who knows how to build a contraption that makes liquor - in your living room - is a woman I can love for sure.
Feast Day of St. Helena of Constantinople, mother of Constantine the Great and finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ. I'm sure I looked some of this up when we decided upon this derivative of the name Helen, but today I'm finding it all the more meaningful.
"At the age of 80, Helena led a group to the Holy Land to search for the True Cross. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she discovered the True Cross. She built a church on the spot where the True Cross was found. The Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14 celebrates the event. Thus in art, she is usually depicted holding a wooden cross."