Friday, April 3, 2009

Did People Call You Salamander?

The past two Fridays I’ve posted old photos for Flashback Friday.  This is because I’m a historian by training and a sentimental softie at heart.

Today I’ll flash back randomly with a response to a sweet question I got from another blogger:

“When you were young, did kids call you Salamander?” 

The answer’s no, because my name’s actually Barbara, although I do “answer” to Sallymandy.   

I started using Sallymandy when I moved back to my hometown in Montana (about which I seem to write incessantly).  This was about nine years ago, when I started using the Internet more and needed to choose usernames.   

It was also a year or so before the death of my much-loved grandfather (about whom I’ve also written).  At the time he was in his nineties.  I hadn’t seen him much for many years, so I was very happy he lived another year or so after we moved back here. 

I loved him dearly.  He was my inspiration for studying history, as he did so at Stanford as a young man in the 1920s.  Here’s a favorite picture of him.  Isn’t he handsome?  This dorm room was also the one Herbert Hoover lived in when he attended Stanford.  


Well, anyway, my grandfather gave me the nickname Sallymandy.  I grew up with it.  When I moved back to Montana, and he was near the end of his life, I resurrected Sallymandy for all my Internet uses.  Now I use it so much, I almost feel like it’s my given name.  And it was given—by him.  

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Love, Salamander  Sallymandy


Imogen Lamport said...

I love that photo! I love old photos that show a glimpse of the past.

Woman in a Window said...

Cool story. And that photo is amazing. His recline, his arms crossed, how the room is decorated, his jacket and hat. My god! It's all perfect!

The Clever Pup said...

Gorgeous picture of your Granddad. Old photos are one of my most favourite things in the world. I'd like to be a time traveler.

Pyzahn said...

I was curious about the name, sallymandy. What a sweet origin. You do great honor to your grandfather.

And, yes, he is handsome. I love the look of this room. I feel like a voyeur staring into his life.

Deja Pseu said...

What a great picture! Thanks for sharing your name story.

jen said...

Awesome photo--and I'm envious of your relationship with your grandfather. The only GF I've ever known was referred to as "my alleged father" by my mom and is also someone who my beloved grandmother told me WILL NEVER DIE because he's such mean bastard.

See? Lucky you!!

Protege said...

Ah, what a lovely story.
I have to admit that I love the sound of Sallymandy.;) And I do VERY much like salamanders, they are magnificent gentle creatures and I have a few of them living on my terrace.;))
Your grandfather was very handsome. I hope your weekend is great too Barbara.;)) And thank you for your very nice comment on my blog yesterday.

The Seeker said...

What a lovely post, thanks for sharing with us your nick's story.
I love old pictures!!!!! They have this emotional vibes...

And yes, dear, my black outfit pairs with my screamy mood. When I'm very down black IS my colour, despite black is the absence of colour. Hmmm... maybe that's it, I'm down, so I don't want any colour.... Now I'm thinking :)

I hope I've done some contribuitions with my words that you're thinking about.


Have a nice weekend

Stephanie N. said...

Wow, your grandfather was hot. Thanks for sharing such a sweet story.

drollgirl said...

that is a super name. and a nice tribute to your grandfather. :)

The Renaissance Chick said...

You little lizard, you! You probably didn't know this, but I am a collecter of vintage photographs and I just went bonkers over the photo of your grandfather! Of course, I had to enlarge it and look at all the details. I want to be in that room to inspect every photo on the walls, to smell that pipe, to hear the sounds of the university! That is a fantastic phototgraph and I hope it is displayed in a special place in your home! You had a very special grandfather who obviously had a very special love for his granddaughter, Salamander!

Thank you so much for sharing!


Lola said...

Thank you for this truly beautiful post, Sallymandy.
The photo of your darling Grandfather is amazing, so sharp and well lit. The small masterpiece of an instant. He is very handsome in his pose, and his eyes are bright.
The relationship you so tenderly describe is very touching.
I will never call you anything other than your Grandfather's given name. Ciao

Ms. Lucy said...

I just love it- so original! Makes people wanna ask and so I'm glad you told us all:)

Cynthia said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this brief glimpse into your heart. Yes, Grandfathers like this are true gems. (The photo IS amazing!) There are several stories waiting to be told just from that alone!
One particularly poignant memory of my grandfather is this: My given name is Cynthia. My family nickname is Cindy. HE called me Cynthi. I've always LOVED that! :^)

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Aren't grandparents wonderful? I was thinking of my grandparents all day today. They were the biggest influences in my life. I was wondering where 'Sallymandy' came from! Have a relaxing Sunday.

Working mum said...

Lovely story and a nice way to remember him with your internet name. Evocative photo, too!

moondiva said...

Love the picture of your grandfather, there are hundreds of stories in that one pic. Speaking of pics, since you've posted your new pic, the top windblown photo is you with long hair? Right? The fab smile is the same.

Your blog has been an inspiration. I discovered blogs 12-18 months ago. You may have just given me the gump to jump in!!!!

Deborah and the gang ~..~ ^..^ ~..^
Sabo, Cece & Sami

Mervat said...

What an endearing account of your Grandfather. Thank you for sharing.

Mervat said...

I have now written a post inspired by your recent questions about why to posr pics of our clothes and linked you. Thanks again!

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi again:) Get on over to my site please...I've just given you an award!

Maria Killam said...

Thanks for the story, it's fun to hear how you got that nick name, I've never had one myself.

sallymandy said...

Imogen and everyone: thanks for the kind and generous comments. I think we all are drawn to a great and intimate photo of someone from the past whether a relative or not. I also like the details of this room just because of the history. I'd like it even if weren't my grandfather. Interior historic photos are especially precious because we learn so much about how people lived.

Woman in a Window: I love how he's sitting, too. So sure of himself. You can also see his big hands...he had a bonecrushing handshake.

Clever Pup: me, too. I love old photos.

Pyzahn: Thank you!

Deja: You're welcome!

Jen: I'm sorry that was the case with you and your grandfather. Did you have another special person in your life who sort of filled that role?

Mine had rather a sad life in many ways and some day I might write about those parts of his life...but for now, I like to remember him this way.

Protege: you're welcome, and I like salamanders, too!

Thanks, Seeker. xo

Stephanie: :)

Thanks, Droll. (Almost called you Drool, sorry.)

Malisa: I didn't know that about you, but it's fitting as it was your question that started this post!

Thank you, Lola! I'm happy to be called Sallymandy, and now it means more that blog friends know why.

Thanks, Ms Lucy. :)

Cynthia: Nice story!

Thank you, Working Mum and Catherine.

Moondiva: What a nice compliment...I wish I was the woman in the top photo, but it's not me. It's the actress/singer Jane Birkin, about whom I'm going to post soon. She's one of my style heroines. Thank you for visiting!

Mervat: Thanks, and I'll come read your new post...

Ms Lucy, thank you, dear.

Maria: Well, maybe you need a nickname, do you think? Really? NEVER had one? That's unusual!

Have a great week, chicas.

TammiMagee said...

Hi Barbara,

I really love your blog! I love the story about your Grand Father. I was inspired in my love for all things history by my father and grand father. Now I am a history teacher and blogger of history and I'm loving it! Take a look at my blog maybe we can link each other! Let me know what you think of my blog and my current post about Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire.

Gal Friday said...

I can tell, just from the look of the decorated room, his pose and style that your grandfather was one "cool dude". :-)
I was also wondering about your actual name, and while I think you "look" like a Barbara, you also look ike a "sallymander".

Gal Friday said...

er...sallyMANDY, that is...

Relyn said...

I really love this story, and the heart behind it. I also adore this photo. I love all the busy little details. The evidences of how life was lived just then, by just that man.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

What a great story and a wonderful photo. I also had a much beloved and charismatic grandfather - though he never gave me a nickname. If he had, I would use it!