One of my dearest friends, Melissa Larimore, and her husband, Tommy, have done the nicest thing that I think anyone could do for me. Their fourth child was born about two weeks ago, and they named him Dudley for me.

I hadn’t been able to see the baby, so Melissa brought him out to see me one day this week. He was a precious child, and a perfect baby. He was asleep when he arrived, he stayed asleep in my lap as I rocked him, and he was still asleep when they left to go home.

Melissa says she wakes him to take a bottle. He opens one eye, takes the bottle and goes back to sleep.

Many people probably didn’t know what the “D” stands for in my name. I was born in the middle of the terrible Depression, and I was going to be the only child, so I was named for both of my parents — John Dudley and Mary Louise.

Actually it wasn’t such a big problem in those days to have a boy’s name. Many of my friends had double names and were called by both names. For instance, Jean Garth and Dorothy Vernon were two of my friends. Many of the middle names for girls were family names and such was the case with mine. Dudley dates back many years in the family.

I was always called Mary Dudley until I came to work at the newspaper more than 50 years ago, and the full name with Dudley seemed too long for a byline. That’s when the middle name was dropped.

But whenever someone comes to the newspaper’s front counter and asks for Mary Dudley, they will come and get me and say someone is here from Trenton or Pembroke or the family.

So that’s how the baby got his name — Marshall Dudley Larimore.

When Melissa was expecting her third child, a girl, I thought they might name her for Melissa’s sister, Mary. And with Melissa being a good Catholic, Mary would be appropriate.

Even though I am a protestant, I kind of hoped they would name the baby Mary, and I would claim she was named for me.

So along comes the fourth child, a boy, and he was named Dudley just for me. It is a name that I am proud to use, and I enjoy hearing people call me Mary Dudley. It is considered a boy’s name and/or a family name.

Many thanks to Melissa and Tommy for naming this precious little boy by my middle name, Dudley, a name that is not used very often.

Changing the subject, as I often do, I’ve included a picture of the many cards I have received since I have been sick. I still can’t write well enough for anyone to read my handwriting. Therefore, I am unable to write thank-you notes. I have received cards from people I didn’t even know, from churches and from many of my friends.

I use this column, then, to say thank you and bless you all, including Jennifer Brown, who takes time from her busy schedule.

For the cards and all that you have done for me and husband Russell, thank you.

Mary D. Ferguson is a New Era columnist. Her column was transcribed by Opinion Editor Jennifer P. Brown. Ferguson receives mail at 4345 Pembroke Road, Hopkinsville, KY 42240.

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