• 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
For the mines never suited her father
She could twirl a baton
Nancy twirled on and on
’Cuz nothing and no one could stop her
While Daddy was working so manly
Deet raised up the whole Samson family
Sonny and Jiggs
Would rassle like kids
They all loved one another uncannily
Summertime they’d stay up so late
Wintertime they’d stay out to skate
Saturdays rocked in the town of Tamaqua
When sweet Cookie Samson was your date
One day when the Schuylkill was ice
Young Nancy considered advice
That came from her Dad
Such strong feelings he had
That his daughter should leave in a trice
Plain proud to be a rail worker’s daughter
(The Revolution a distant forefather)
From Pottsville to Lansford
She swirled on the dance floor
In the end, she obeyed her dear father
In Wilmington Cookie got work
Sometimes her new boss was a jerk
But she kept right on dancing
Her waltz was entrancing
James Robert MacMillan was hooked
Before long the sweethearts united
They meant all the vows they recited
In seven short years
They had five little dears
(The fifth caused a stir of excitement)
Five daughters; a storybook fable!
Each beautiful, clever and able
Each growing and thriving
Like roses surviving
All weathers, thanks to dear Evie Baby!
A life filled with love’s never empty
After forty-plus years, there’s still plenty
Their legacy passes
Right down through their lasses
As little Cookie Samson turns seventy!