The Day My Name Changed

DECREE FOR ADOPTION.

State of Illinois,          :            Edgar County Court
                            :
County of Edgar             :     SS     March Term, A. D. 1912
Charles A. Long and Elivra Long  :   Petition to Adopt
                                 :
         vs                      :   Griffith S. Bowman
                                 :
Mary E. Bowman, Guardian         :
     And now on this 26th day of March, A. D. 1912, the same being
one of the regular days of said March Term of this Court, come
the the said Charles A. Long and Elvira Long, petitioners herein; and
it satisfactorily appearing to the Court that on the 26th day of
March, A. D. 1912, said petitioners files in the office of the Clerk
of this Court a petition, in the words and figures following, to
wit:
State of Illinois,    :           In the Edgar County Court,
                      :   SS
County of Edgar.      :           March Term, A. D. 1912.
     To the Honorable Judge of said Court:
     Your petitioners, Charles A. Long and Elvira Long, husband
and wife, respectfully show unto your Honor that they are residents
ofthe County of Shelby, State of Illinois, and that they desire
to adopt a male child, who is a resident of the County of
Edgar, as aforesaid, and who was ofthe age of seven years on the
30th day o January, A. D. 1912, and whose name is Griffth S. Bowman.
     Your petitioners further show unto your Honor that the above
named child is now in the custody o Mary E. Bowman, guardian of
said child, whose place of residence is Paris, Illinois.
     Petitioners further show unto your Honor that the mother of said
child is dead.
     Your petitioners further show unto your Honor that Mary E. Bow-
man is the legal guardian of said child, that the place of residence
of said guardian is Paris, Illinois; that said guardian was appoint-
ed by the order of this Court on the 26th day of March, A. D. 1912,
and that the Court ordered and decreed that said guardian so
appointed be authorized to consent to the legal adoption of the
child, and empowered her to appear in Court where any proceedings
for the adoption of such child may be pending, and to consent to
such adoption.
     Petitioners further show that a petition was filed in this
Court at the February Term, A. D. 1912, to declare Griffith S. Bowman
a dependend and neglected child, and that the Court found that the
said Griffith S. Bowman was a dependent and neglected child, and
that his father, Charles R. Bowman, had abandoned said child; and
in such order Mary E. Bowman was appointed guardian of said child
as aforesaid.
     Your petitioners therefore pray that the above named Mary E.
Bowman may be made defendant to this adoption petition.
     And your petitioners further pray that your Honor will, on the
hearing of this cause, order, adjudge and decree that the said
Giffith S. Bowman shall to all legal intents and purposes be the
child of your petitioners, and that the name of the said child shall
thereafter be Griffith S. Long, and that your Honor shall make such
other and further orders in the premises as may be in accordance
with law.
     And it satisfactorily appearing to this Court that said defend-
and, Mary E. Bowman, guardian of Griffith S. Bowman, has been duly
notified of the filing of said petition and of the pendency of this
proceeding.
     And the Court further finds that the said Mary E. Bowman was
by an order of the County Court appointed guardian of Griffith S.
Bowman ,and that the Court, at the time of the appointment of said
guardian, ordered and decreed that the said MaryE. Bowman be autho-
rized to appear in any proceeding in any Court for the adoption of the
said Griffith S. Bowman ,and consent to the same.  And the said defen-
dant, Mary E. Bowman, guardian of the said Griffith S. Bowman, having
appeared in open Court and having filed her written consent to the
adoption of the said child, Griffith S. Bowman, by the said Charles
A. Long and Elvira Long, said written consent being here on file
and made a part of this petition.
     It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed by this Court
that from this day the said Griffith S. Bowman shall to all legal
intents and purposes be the child of said Charles A. Long and El-
vira Long, petitioners herein.
     And it is further ordered, adjudged and decreed by the Court
that the name of said child shall be and the name is hereby changed
and that his name shall from and after this day be Griffith S. Long.
     It is further ordered, adjudged and decreed that the said
petitioners pay the costs of this proceeding.
                                 Dan V. Dayton, Judge.

And thus my grandfather became a Long, my Dad and his siblings became Longs, I became a Long, my children became Longs, and my progeny to come.  All I’ve ever been told about Charles and Elvira Long is that they were farmers and adopted my grandfather more as a farmhand than a son.

My grandpa had a sister who remained a Bowman.  I don’t know her first name.  They kept in contact.  He met my grandmother, Mildred, and they had six children.  My Dad was the third born.  Three boys, three girls.  I remember all fondly, especially my grandmother.  She spent many hours with me when I was young.  She died a year after my grandpa.  I was 10.

Grandpa didn’t say much.  The only thing I remember him saying to me was an unusual moment when he put his arms on my shoulders and told me he wanted me to remember that he loved me.

In his life, he worked for a railroad, the Joliet Arsenal, and as a waiter, so far as I’ve been told.  My Dad told me in his day working for the railroad, he would walk along the tops of the cars while the train was moving to move about and perform is duties.

For the Joliet Arsenal, I heard a story that he was called on to deliver a package to Chicago while the Manhattan Project was underway.  They closed the highway all the way from Joliet to Chicago and told him not to stop for any reason.  He never knew what was in the package.

As a waiter, he was known for his ability to carry plates all along his arm from hand to shoulder.  He worked at a restaurant called Yesteryear, in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  He was nicknamed “Shorty,” and most people knew him as that.

The one thing I probably most inherited from my grandpa, passed down through my Dad, is a love for the White Sox.  They were second only to God in our house.  My grandpa and my Dad were both encyclopedias of baseball.  Dad said grandpa saw Ruth hit a homerun over the centerfield scoreboard at a Sox game.  Let me tell you, that was no small feat.

When I was in grade school, I always thought I’d change my name when I got older.  It’s the sort of name that gets all kinds of easy targeting by classmates.  Nothing clever, of course.  I’m glad I kept it.  I don’t know the Bowmans.  I knew my grandpa.  I knew my Dad.  It’s a legacy I’m proud of.

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