My namesakes - Earl Jr and Earl III - were quite different men - although from what I know of them both were equally opinionated, intelligent and deeply family oriented.
I came across this batch of pictures while hunting for something else and realized with interest that my Great Uncle, Earl Nicklin Heap III, was the one constant in all of them.
Uncle Earl never married or had children and my Great Grandfather Earl was an only child - so when Earl III passed, their family line ended. This was part of what prompted me to take that family name when I was going through the process of choosing a name for myself.
My Great Uncle passed before I got a chance to tell him about my name change and I often wonder what either of them would have thought about me. I know that Uncle Earl was always pretty kind and tolerant of us as kids - much less comfortable as we got older and more complicated. And my Great Grandfather was pretty conservative, though certainly not orthodox in his religious practice.
I think that although they might not fully understand all the nuances, that they'd ultimately be glad for my personal happiness and that I bear their name with dignity and respectful appreciation.
Looking over these images, though, I am particularly reminded of how grateful I am for my mother's persistent work to preserve our history and sustain my connection to all those who have gone before me.
Deep thoughts on a restless morning...