My dad was orphaned as a pre-teen, and I’m not sure what he took away from his early years except one thing. . .his given names. His natural parents gave him the moniker Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know if they were history buffs or just admirers of the 16th president, who was and is considered a great one.
In any case, my dad was teased a lot while growing up, and when he reached adulthood he did something kind of unusual. He legally changed the order of his first and middle names to Lincoln Abraham. It might sound a little silly in the telling, but it was important to him. With a first name of Lincoln – and a nickname of Linc – he felt he was happier, and that’s what he used for the rest of his life. (Although a few people who knew him as a child called him Bud.)
But he didn’t have anything against Lincoln, the president. In fact he enjoyed reading about history, and even named me after Stephen Foster, known as the “father of American music”, who rose to fame in the mid-1800s. Dad also had a fondness for whiskers, which he passed on to me. And finally, he gave me his treasured book about the president — Sandburg’s biography. About the only goal he didn’t attain was buying a car named after the president. Lincolns were too expensive for him.
I might have read some of the book he gave me, but being the doofus I was, I lost it somewhere in the intervening years. However, I too have always been fascinated by the 16th president, and since my son – and grandsons – took me on a trip to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois, maybe they’ll continue the tradition. My son already has the beard.