• Born Evelyn Nancy Samson, but always went by Nancy.
• When we want to tease Mom, we call her “Evie Baby” (a nod to the name Evelyn, which she despises).
• When growing up in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, everyone called her “Cookie”. In many ways, I think that she still thinks of herself as “Cookie Samson”. She recently said to my father, “Can you believe that little Cookie Samson is turning 70?”
• Qualifies to be a a Daughter of the American Revolution, but has never joined the actual organization. Mom is a coal miner's daughter, although her dad worked mostly on the railroads.
• In her family, everyone had nicknames:
• my maternal grandmother was Elizabeth, or Betty; but her brothers called her “Deet”.
• my mother’s brother was Frank, but everyone called him “Sonny”.
• my mother’s uncle, only 13 years her senior, is William; but everyone calls him “Jiggs”.
• Mom was a majorette for the Tamaqua High School band — complete with baton tricks!
• Mom grew up in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, adjacent to the Schuykill River, and near the Pocono Mountains. During the winter, Mom and her neighbors and friends would ice skate on the frozen river. Nearby towns include Pottsville, Lansford, and Jim Thorpe (named after a hometown hero football player). Tamaqua is about 30 miles from Allentown, deep in Pennsylvania Dutch territory.
• When Mom graduated from high school, she moved across the Delaware river to Wilmington, where she worked as a secretary at DuPont.
• Mom met Dad at a “Polish dance club” (aka a bar) when she was about 20 years old.
• Mom was 21 when she married, and 22 when she delivered her first daughter, Beth. Kathy arrived nearly two years later, followed after two and 1/2 years by Jennifer. When Jennifer was 2 1/2, Mom delivered Jill and I. Yep — five girls in less than seven years, and all before she turned 30.
• Dad's name is James Robert Macmillan. We tease Dad by calling him “Jim Bob”.
• Mom and Dad moved to CA, planning to stay for two years, when my Mom was about 7 months pregnant with Jill and me. She delivered twins about six weeks after arriving in California, 3,000 miles away from her support network. My grandmother lived with us for the first 9 months of my life.
She was born a rail worker’s daughter