The Legacy of Humor Lives On – aka – Having a Baby in the Back of Bob’s Van

legacy tree Five years ago, when I was on an archaeology dig on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I received a phone call that a friend, Dianne, had suddenly died.  She was too young to die, and hadn’t been sick, so to say it was a shock was an understatement. I had known Diane for more than 30 years.

When I first moved to Michigan, I met Dianne and Bob, her husband.  We were all volunteers with the local Humane Society. Then one day, the conversation turned to genealogy.  One thing led to another, and to the Family History Center, where Bob and Dianne were volunteers for over 30 years.

Did you notice that word?  Were?  Yes, Bob followed Dianne’s example and a couple of weeks ago, at the church, keeled over and died.  The only consolation in all of this is that they are together now, and their last rescue cat died of old age just two weeks before Bob.  Neither of them suffered.

It’s really difficult when these doors close for us, especially when they slam so unexpectedly.  Thirty five years is a generation.  We knew each other’s children when they were pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers – and then terrible teens – and then somehow blossomed into decent human beings.

But this isn’t about Bob and Dianne’s untimely deaths – it’s about their lives, the fun we had and the memories we made.  I’m going to reminisce and share a bit with you – because, well, there are just some great stories.  And you see, Bob never did get even with me…..

Yes, it was a dastardly thing I did to him….but I wasn’t alone…I had help.  And yes, I probably should be ashamed of myself, but well….I’m not.

Bob and Dianne were both known for their sense of humor, and Bob for his never-ending practical jokes.  Everyone loved both of them, and they were always together in whatever they did.  Not to say there wasn’t an occasional eye-roll, but they were truly a well-matched, loving couple.

Halloween 2Bob and Dianne loved Halloween parties. Ok, Dianne loved Halloween parties and Bob knew what was good for him.

They decorated their house and property and planned for weeks every year.  They sent you an invitation, and if you didn’t answer, Dianne would call you and remind you and hound you until you agreed to attend, solely out of self-defense.

In 1993, my life hit a major milestone, a quite unwelcome roadblock when my former husband had a massive stroke.  To say my life changed in an instant is an understatement.  I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I didn’t see Bob and Dianne very much for quite some time.  I didn’t have time for genealogy or anything else.  Dianne, good friend that she was, continued to keep in touch.

Then, one year, she called me again and pestered me to come to the Halloween party.  I had lots of excuses, but none of them cut the mustard with Dianne.  I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity for some mischief.

Dianne, and everyone else, knew the circumstances in my personal life – so I told Dianne that I couldn’t come because I was pregnant, and embarrassed about the situation.  Dianne bent over backwards to assure me that no one was going to be judgmental or anything else terrible and I really needed to come – regardless.  I finally agreed after much arm-twisting.

Do you know how difficult it is to get a pillow to stay put without a belt around your waist?  And I didn’t have any stretchy pants, so I went to Goodwill to find maternity clothes. It was a pretty cheap Halloween costume.  And I must admit, the very best one ever.

When I arrived at the party, I let Dianne’s best friend, Cathy, in on the secret, and we decided that I needed to go into labor, in the bathroom. Dianne became very worried and “talked me into” letting Bob take me to the hospital after my water broke.

Cathy and I and a nurse who was also at the party got into the back of Bob’s van and headed for the hospital several miles away over very rough dirt roads – except – well – we didn’t make it.  The nurse told Bob to pull over, that she couldn’t deliver a baby on the bouncy dirt road, in the dark and she needed the overhead light on.

We could see Bob white-knuckling the steering wheel as the gals “delivered” the baby amongst much screaming and carrying-on.  We deserved an Academy Award for that performance:)  The baby was one of Dianne’s life-like baby dolls from her collection that we had kidnapped from the house.  Cathy told Bob he had to help and hold the baby, so she shoved this blanket with the baby doll in Bob’s lap.  After a minute or so, she told him to check it’s breathing – when he looked in the blanket and discovered that it wasn’t breathing, and he had been….well…..had. baby boy

Bob whipped around and looked at the three of us – which he had very graciously avoided doing while we were “delivering” the baby – and let’s just say he had a couple choice words for us as we all three bursted out laughing – the laughter we had been stifling all along.  His indignant anger lasted about 10 seconds, and you could just see the light bulb of opportunity click on.

He asked, “Does Dianne know?” “No,” we answered, shaking our heads in unison, and off we went, to prank Dianne.  Bob was in his prime – in his glory.  The prankee became the prankor.

Our prank on Bob became legendary, because Bob was always the prankster, never the other way around.  In fact, people were talking about it at his funeral, even though that baby would be about 20 years old now – had it been real. Someone I didn’t know walked up to me at the luncheon after Bob’s memorial service and said, “I know who you are and what you did.”  I started laughing, and hoped they would elaborate so I didn’t have to guess!  It seems, in retrospect, Bob liked that prank almost as much as we did and told the story regularly.  “Did I ever tell you about the time they delivered a baby in the back of my van???”

A few years later, I was standing in WalMart and Bob walked up to me, out of noplace, and said, “I still owe you and you never know when I’m going to get even,” and just walked off.  Left me chuckling, all over again.

One day, my phone rang, and someone told me that they had picked up my business card and had some DNA questions for me.  Now, this is kind of odd because my card doesn’t have my phone number on it and I do not give out my phone number because I don’t like to talk on the phone.  But I wasn’t going to be rude. Finally, they got to the point (which is part of why I dislike phone calls) and asked me if one of their cats was peeing on the floor if they could collect the urine and have the DNA sampled to see which of their cats was peeing.

There was finally silence on the other end of the phone then, and all I could think of to say was, “Did Bob give you my phone number?”  The sudden outburst of laughter on the other end of the line was all the answer I needed.

That wasn’t the first or only time we were involved in some kind of ruckus.

One night in the Family History Center, I found a name in something I was reading that caused me to laugh.  Libraries now may not be quiet zones, but they were then, and I finally had to get up and go outside to laugh.  A laugh is kind of like a sneeze and if you try to stifle it, it just gets worse and makes you snort.  And who wants to snort.

Dianne came out into the hallway to see if I was OK and more importantly, to find out what was so funny.  I told her the name and she started laughing too.  Then she started telling me some funny names she had found.  Before long, we had a list and other people at the FHC were adding to it too. We would all send our findings to Dianne and we all enjoyed taking an occasional look at the list – and having a good laugh.  Some probably weren’t church-appropriate – which – of course made them all the funnier.

When Dianne passed away, and I found another name, I suddenly realized that there was no one to send it to.  No one to share with.  No one to laugh about it with.  It’s the little things that get to you.

Bob sent me Dianne’s list, but it wasn’t the same as Dianne and I doing it together.  And so, it languished, until today.  And today, I decided that I really needed to pass it on and share the humor with you.  So, I went and found Dianne’s list and I have since added a DNA component, of course.  Would you expect any less from me?

Unusual Names

  • Baby Lone Lane (WI Draft)
  • Andrew Baldy
  • Bang
  • Barefoot
  • Bery Dredful (1869 Cherokee West Census)
  • Bituminous Coleman
  • Blizzard
  • Boner
  • Boo
  • Brat
  • Butlicker – 1880 census
  • Buttugger
  • But Isaac (WWI draft registration)
  • Chicken, Young
  • Churchyard, Oliver – Pastor
  • Comfort Castle – found in 1830 Columbia County, NY.
  • Constant Chase – found in 1830 Boston, Suffolk Co, MA.
  • Colliflower, John
  • Cotton Tufts – found in 1830 Weymouth, Norfolk Co, MA.
  • Crapster
  • Crow, John married Olive Bird
  • Cucumber Pickell
  • DeCay
  • Devils Ramrod (Seneca, War of 1812)
  • Dickensheets
  • Dodge Fatty (Seneca, War of 1812)
  • Douthit Bible
  • Easter
  • Easter, Darkass (I think this was the original entry that I found that was so funny)
  • Elizabeth Martin Bird Crow Robin Buzzard (married several times)
  • Fanny Rumble
  • Fanny Slappy
  • Farry Jacobs (male, on his draft registration)
  • Fight Thompson
  • Firestarter
  • Fix
  • Flowerdew
  • Forest Hunt
  • Frost Snow – found in 1920 Reed Island, Pulaski Co, VA.
  • Fudge
  • Bethia Furbush
  • Gassaway Sellman
  • Getting Down (1869 Cherokee West Census)
  • Gloomy Jones
  • Gotcha
  • Green Peter Dam & Resevoir
  • Green Fields
  • Guts Diver (1869 Cherokee Census)
  • Hardon
  • Hazzard & Hore Law Firm
  • Hoig, Harry (WWI draft registration)
  • Fannie Hickey
  • Fanny Heiney who married her Heiney cousin making her Fanny Heiney Heiney
  • Fanny Pack
  • Fanny Packer
  • Finder Binder – female shot in the arm in Randolph Co., AL
  • Hank Squared
  • Hardin Short
  • Harry Badass – 1885 Nebraska census
  • Harry Dick and then Harry Dick Jr.
  • Henry Henry
  • Hohos
  • Honor Hill married Mr. Mountain and became Honor Mountain
  • Hott
  • House marries Davenport
  • Huckleberry Birdchopper
  • Hugh Askew
  • Hugh Pugh
  • Icy Frost
  • Icy Louise P. Green
  • Ima Hogg (wife of the governor of Texas)
  • John Deady, funeral director, Philadelphia
  • John, Saucy
  • John Will Hunt
  • Joy Noel
  • Joy Rider – found in 1930 Bennington, Morrow County, OH.
  • Jinks Mistaker (Onandoga, War of 1812 roster)
  • Justin Quiring
  • Kitchen Faucett
  • Kittle, Big
  • Knipple
  • Larry A. Holle
  • Laughter
  • Lawrence Horney m. Elizabeth Burns
  • Leafy Plant (female)
  • Leak Locklear
  • Lemon and Orange, twins of Lemon Pitcher, Great Melton, Norfolk, England 1736
  • Long, Peter
  • Lovie McAtee marries Willoughby Loveless
  • Lovely Hooker
  • Mabee
  • Mabe Sampson
  • Malehorn
  • Mercedes Mouser
  • Milder Currey
  • More Badass (1920 census NY)
  • Mr. Cobb weds Miss Corn – El Paso, TX
  • Mrs. Graves lived on Cemetery Road
  • Mumper (given name)
  • Mycock
  • Nathaniel Bacon marries Hannah Mayo
  • Nicewanger
  • Noble Crapper – found in 1790 Worcester Co, MD.
  • Oldfather
  • Olive Green
  • Orange Field – found in 1930 Miller County, GA.
  • Otta B. Weaver
  • Outerbridge Horsey Jr.
  • Owen Owen Owens
  • Oyster
  • Page Turner – found in 1880 Putnam County, GA.
  • Pecker
  • Peter Putterhead
  • Phlegm
  • Cucumber Pickell – 1860 Michigan census
  • Pink Woods
  • Pleasant Cox
  • Poole, Gene
  • Potter Plant
  • Preserved Fish
  • Purchase
  • Purple Winter
  • Rex A. Lot  (Driving Instructor)
  • Rhoda Jones married Joe Buffalo becoming Rhoda Buffalo
  • Roach, Pet
  • Robin Redwing
  • Rock Fields
  • Roten Locklear
  • Runaway Swimmer
  • Rusty Bell, a redhead
  • Sandy Beach
  • Sandy Box
  • Savior
  • Shewasa Griffin (think about this one)
  • Silence Belcher
  • Smoker Hunter
  • Snowball
  • Snow, Frost and
  • Snow, Ice and
  • Snow, Deep
  • Snow White (a man)
  • Soggy Hill (WWI service registration)
  • Soggy Youngbird (WWI service registration)
  • Songs
  • Songster
  • Stair Walker
  • Strange Backhouse
  • Suchadoll
  • Susie Tinkle
  • Swallow, Birdie
  • Sweatt, Fanny May
  • The Geezinslaws
  • Thankful Mills married Oliver Lord, making her Thankful Lord
  • Tiny Little – found in 1930 Chatooga County, GA.
  • Tobacco, Chaw (Seneca, War of 1812 roster)
  • Trick
  • Truebody
  • Turley Curd
  • Turnipseed
  • Ulickham, Henry
  • Useless Love
  • Violet Tulip
  • Wealthy Case
  • Wilden Wooley
  • Will Billy
  • Worst
  • Yankee
  • Yawn
  • Young Booger
  • Young Fry


  • Annus-Biter Wedding
  • Bair-Teets Wedding
  • Bate-Bass Wedding
  • Beaver-Aiken Wedding
  • Beaver-Benders Wedding
  • Beaver-Weaver Wedding
  • Bird-Bath WEdding
  • Blue-Berry Wedding
  • Bone-Husband Wedding
  • Breast-Mash Wedding
  • Broker-Knuckle Wedding
  • Bushy-Johnson Wedding
  • Butt-Driver Wedding
  • Butts-Fudger Wedding
  • Catlip-Legg Wedding
  • Cockman-Dickman Wedding
  • Coke-Head Wedding
  • Crap-Beer Wedding
  • Creamer-Utter Wedding
  • Daylong-Johnson Wedding
  • DeLong-Boner Wedding
  • DeMoney-Hyder Wedding
  • Devine-Ho Wedding
  • Dick-Tulek Wedding
  • Dooher-Christopher Wedding
  • Drilling-Cousin Wedding
  • Duer-Early Wedding
  • Eaton-Titlow Wedding
  • Eubanks-Mounts Wedding
  • Ferguson-Crotchfelt Wedding
  • Fillerup-Standing Wedding
  • Fine-Bousum Wedding
  • Fite-Staab Wedding
  • Flem-Greene Wedding
  • Flynt-Stone Wedding
  • Fuller-Beers Wedding
  • Funk-Kee Wedding
  • Fur-Burns Wedding
  • Fox-Goose WEdding
  • Gentle-Bange Wedding
  • Gin-Bourbon Wedding
  • Godown-Gross Wedding
  • Good-Lauck Wedding
  • Goosie-Gander Wedding
  • Gory-Butcher Wedding
  • Granny-Mount Wedding
  • Gross- Pantti Wedding
  • Gross-Tingley Wedding
  • Hang-Wright Wedding
  • Hay-Sailors Wedding
  • Hog-Paradise Wedding
  • Holder-Moore Wedding
  • Hole-Drilling Wedding
  • House-Recker Wedding
  • Houser-Annas Wedding
  • Hunt-Peck Wedding
  • Johnson-Feast Wedding
  • Johnson-Hummer Wedding
  • Johnson-Wacker Wedding
  • King-Bishop Wedding
  • Knapp-Sack Wedding
  • Knott-Bow Wedding
  • Kroetch-Crater Wedding
  • Large-Tinkey Wedding
  • Long-Ouch Wedding
  • Looney-Ward Wedding
  • Lotsa-Peter Wedding
  • Lusting-Johnson Wedding
  • McMaster-Bates Wedding
  • Manley-Pickle Wedding
  • Makin-Peeples Wedding
  • Maus-Knapp Wedding
  • Moore-Bacon Wedding
  • Moose-Greaser Wedding
  • Muff-Masterman Wedding
  • Must-Reamer Wedding
  • Nutter-Boner Wedding
  • Partee-Moore Wedding
  • Peters-Sohre Wedding
  • Piccirilli-Pecorelli Wedding
  • Pickle-Ryder Wedding
  • Puls-Johnson Wedding
  • Outhouse-Burns Wedding
  • Poon-Fisher Wedding
  • Ramsbottom-Moore Wedding
  • Rather-Grim Wedding
  • Reamer-Oiler Wedding
  • Ruff-Goings Wedding
  • Sawyer-Cherry Wedding
  • Sawyer-Hiney Wedding
  • Schmitt-Head Wedding
  • Seaman-Sample Wedding
  • Sell-Schmel Wedding
  • Sharpe-Payne Wedding
  • Sheepshanks-Ramsbottom Wedding
  • Small-Husband Wedding
  • Small-Knob Wedding
  • Smelley-Farkas Wedding
  • Speedy-Zieper Wedding
  • Staples-Bottom Wedding
  • Steel-Iron Wedding
  • Steele-Kage Wedding
  • Strange-Slappy Wedding
  • Stranglen-Johnson Wedding
  • Stoker-Dailey Wedding
  • Swift-Kalonick Wedding
  • Tinker-Butts Wedding
  • Toole-Burns Wedding
  • Tune-Narup Wedding
  • Van Halen-Prince Wedding
  • Wannamaker-Popp Wedding
  • Wang-Crumpler Wedding
  • Wang-Holder Wedding
  • Weiner-Frost Wedding
  • Whyde-Hole Wedding
  • Widener-Moore Wedding
  • Wooden-Coffin Wedding
  • Wrinkle-Johnson Wedding

DNA (Ancestry search)

  • Dna Day (new holiday)
  • Dna For (what?)
  • Dna Marvel
  • Dna Waters
  • Dna Gropper (trying to get DNA from your date:)
  • Dna Ray (kind of like the death ray, but different)
  • Dna Wisdom
  • Dna Miner (swab harder….)
  • Dna May (answer your questions)
  • Dna Bone
  • Dna Regester
  • Dna Center
  • Dna Dume (new game)
  • Dna King
  • Dna Brothers
  • Dna Call
  • Dna Rush (what you get when your relative agrees to test)
  • Dna Edge (what people whose relatives will test have over those whose relatives won’t test)
  • Dna Scatt (another way to obtain DNA for the very desperate)
  • Dna Seaman (not touching this one – no way, no how)
  • Dna Valentine (oh, now there’s an idea…..)
  • Dna Conn
  • Dna Heller (what we do with DNA conns)
  • No Goo Dna
  • Dna Ball (new geeky toy)

Yes, I know these DNA entries are probably misspelled or mis-transcribed, but they are fun anyway and that’s what Dianne’s list was about in the first place.  Having fun.

It’s sad, truly sad, for both Dianne and Bob to have left this earth too soon, with so many more years to offer – but their legacy is a wonderful one.  They made a lifetime of difference to each and every one of the many animals they rescued over the years.

Their 30 years of service to genealogists is unparalleled and their entire three decades was delivered with a smile and laughter.  They brightened everyone’s day.  That is their legacy.  I hope Dianne’s list has made you smile a bit too and brightened your day.  Feel free to share.

Oh, and as for Bob getting even with me…my phone has been ringing half a ring with no caller ID two or three times a day, for days now.  I do believe Bob is testing his wings.  I shudder to think…. wisteria



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25 thoughts on “The Legacy of Humor Lives On – aka – Having a Baby in the Back of Bob’s Van

    • I just visited the Varner-Hogg plantation, where Ima Hogg grew up in the early 1900’s. She ended up furnishing the old plantation house very elegantly with 1850’s furniture. She died in the 1970’s.

  1. That has got to be the funniest prank I have ever heard! I wish there was some way to pull it on a prankster friend of mine named Bob. You got me laughing so hard. Thanks and so glad you had such a wonderful long-lasting friendship.

  2. Love your stories! So sad for your loss, but you have wonderful memories. I have a couple of additions for your lists: Marriages: Creamer-Utter wedding (my niece), and if I’d married my high-school sweetheart, my name would have been Joy Noel! My grandma always called him Mr. Christmas. 😀

  3. Had a friend whose husband was John Hornsby Pickle, Jr. They had a son, John Hornsby Pickle, III. Dad said he was proud of his name and his son should be too. But, to avoid confusion they decided to call the son “Trey”. When he went to school, he was “Pickle, Trey” !!

    Tulsa had father, Safety R. First who named his son Safety R. First. Yes, they were both doctors!

  4. Thank you! I needed that! We have Barefoot, Butt, and Butts here. Kay Black married a Butt and became Kay Black Butt. She divorced him saying that not everyone can get rid of their Butt. She is still living and wrote a really cute poem about it. The first name that tickled the funny bones of my cousins and me was a listing in the Outer Banks phone book back in the 1970s. I think it was Dworski Hobnob Winklestinki or something similar. As teenagers we would look up the name in the phone book and howl. I know a couple of others that are a riot but I think they are still young adults so I won’t go there.

  5. Jack Spratt and his wife are buried on Knotts Island and Jack Frost was interviewed about Williamsburg on a Hampton Roads news station.

  6. Great story! I have a Fannie Rash in my family (born Frances Rash 1849-1932, married John Faw; Wilkes County, NC). I was at an NGS conference lunch on funny names and the lady next to me also had a Fanny Rash – but hers was in Kentucky! It was the 2011 NGS Conference in North Charleston. The session was a luncheon “Thankful Poop – Funny names and other fascinating and hilarious finds from years of research” by Daniel Poffenberger. Truly hilarious!

  7. Loved the stories and pranks. Thanks for sharing the list…it made me laugh out loud. Sorry for your loss, but by sharing your stories, you are keeping them close. ((Hugs))

  8. I’m sorry for your loss. You have great memories of them. I’m glad you decided to share them. I laughed so much! It’s been a stressful week and I really needed that.

  9. Great Prank! Thank you for recounting. And I love the names…I thought I was the only one that did name collections. I have a few from the Natchez, MS, phone book of about 15 years ago.
    Pretty skinny little phone book, but a lot of good names! If you want, send me your Mail address, and I’ll send you a copy…a couple of pages. I don’t have a scanner, but can scan from a friend’s house. Georgeann

  10. In my Dad’s high school class: Sandy Box & Harry Dick, who had a son, Harry Dick, Jr. (Who in their right mind would do that? But then this was back in the 30’s.

  11. Thank you for sharing! My sister and I have a list too. Hope you don’t mind me borrowing. I’m planning a “family quilt” with some of the best. Some of favs are many-great uncle gustaphus aldophus Sessions, Christian Bible, Willy Smelly Bobbitt, and Morning Boyinkin.

  12. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – General Information Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  13. Hello! My son is a descendent of the Dodge Fatty on Dianne’s list…Dodge is my son’s 4gg. Dodge’s granddaughter, my son’s 2gg, was Fanny Fatty. 😂

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