The Name’s The Same

Where did it begin? 

My paternal Great-grandfather was James Gardner McDearmid, born in Woodstock, NH in 1839. His son was Gardner Clark McDearmid, and his son, my father, was another James Gardner McDearmid. Everyone loved my Dad, Jim. He passed away in 1954 when I was 15. It was very traumatic for my family, especially for my Mom who lost her true love. She was in deep mourning for several months and I know that I boxed up my emotions. As I look back I doubt I ever really grieved for my Dad. So as I’ve moved through life I’ve collected Jims!

In fourth grade when love starts to blossom I had a crush on Jimmy Keifner. It didn’t last long because he moved back to Mississippi and I had to wait a few years to find another Jim. In 8th grade my class took a trip to Springfield, Illinois and I recall being serenaded on the bus ride by my then favorite boy, Jimmy Caldwell. He had a great voice and was a great dancer. Too bad he was a head shorter than me (most boys were) but my heart still beat fast for him, especially when he sang Slow Boat to China while leaning his head on my shoulder. 

My next Jim came along when I was a senior in high school. He was a few years older than I and I won’t reveal his full name because we didn’t part well. We had a few dates and on our last one he came on a bit strong so I hit him over the head with my little box purse. He didn’t care for that but then I didn’t care for what he did. I dated guys who were not Jims but managed to find Jim Horn on a summer vacation at home. That was also short lived. He was too controlling. This is why women need to date several guys…so we can sort out the wheat from the chaff!

I met my Jim at a wedding reception that I crashed. He had my heart after 3 dates. He was taller and smarter than me, a big plus! He proposed after 4 weeks and we planned to be married soon. But then we had a big fight. He thought I was in love with him because he reminded me of my Dad. He said he wasn’t my knight in shining armor. He didn’t have a white horse. (Although he did have a new white car and he was an engineer like my Dad.) Of course we sorted out those issues and were married 3 months later. 

Funny thing is my Jim was the third in a line of Jims on his mothers side… Grandfather and great-grandfathers were named James Leckie. Another funny bit of family lore regards my Jim’s father whose name was Otto Edward. When Otto’s great-grandfather, Edward Gottlob, met him he said in his German accent, “Otto iss no goot name for baby. Ve call him Chim!” So my son has the name Jim coming at him from three branches on the family tree.

The Jims: Grandson, Son, Hubby

Our son came along in a few years and I don’t remember any discussion of what to name him. James Gardner seemed the only choice; after all, look at the family tree. Then when our son married and had a son they named him James Douglas; the Douglas after his maternal grandfather. As far as I know, my grandkids are not considering naming anyone James except as a middle name ….like newest family member Theodore James Juedes.

As I thought about writing this I began to recall other Jims in my life. When we moved to California and I joined the working world my first boss was Jim Fitzsimmons. He recognized that I could do more than type envelopes and after a few years I became an account administrator assisting the credit manager. I learned a lot about business from him after being in the educational system for many years. 

I worked for a few companies then took a couple of years off and joined the Mary Kay company. I enjoyed being on my own but missed the repartee of the office (crazy, right?) so I mentioned to a friend that I might be interested in returning to corporate life. I got a call out of the blue from Jim Doty who became my next boss. He interviewed me over the phone, made an offer and I said I just couldn’t go back to work unless I got X amount of dollars. I got a call the next day with the offer I wanted. I learned a lot about corporate politics from Jim Doty. At that company I became the Customer Service Manager and then Training Manager. Finally, I left the company along with 3 fellow employees (not named Jim) and we started our own corporate training company.

I have known and admired and been influenced by and loved many Jims. Hmmmm…maybe my Jim was right…maybe a therapist would tell me I was always seeking to replace my Dad. 

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