FRENCH I AM......
Some years ago when moving to Hannibal and than getting engaged to a farmer from Ralls County, I was told, LaBon, what kind of name is that. You aren't from here, are you!!!! It was not a question as you may note by the exclaimation mark I used. So LaBon, no, it is a FRENCH name, my great grandfather's name in fact, and my dear materal grandmother's maiden name.
When I got divorced after 23 years, I asked my children if it was okay with them to change my name. I believe they thought I would change it back to my maiden name. However, my parents had long since disowned me when I became a Christian. I did not fit into their life either, name or not. They were atheist. So I did change it, to LaBon, after speaking with my aunts about it. They thought it was wonderful. You see, Franc LaBon only had three daughters and they all married. No more lineage of LaBon from them by name anyway. I thought this a way to carry on my FRENCH heritage and also the name.
My paternal grandparents also came from FRANCE, in fact, in the same area of the country, Alsace/Lorraine area which is North Eastern FRANCE, up against the German border. It was an area of much trouble for years so it seems generations left the area and the country. But I have carried on many traditions from grandparents and also from learning about and visiting this wonderful country.
LaBon, yes, and do I care if I fit into the area I now live. Absolutely not. I care about my heritage and my little world here, and it does not matter to me which county I come from, as if Ralls is such a great county. Most places say the city they are near, but in this rural area, it is the county.
When I visit other places, they like me for who I am, not where I came from. It is good to be proud of your heritage, including the place you came from or family came from, but don't exclude others. Our country is known for welcoming all. I still want it to be that way. I also would like to be welcomed, but know, even after 24 years, I am not and will not be as I don't have their high school stories, etc. I have my own and find it sad they don't want to listen to them. They would be so overwhelmed to have gone to the large high school I did, and traveled as I have, and lived so many different and wonderful places also.
But that is all my story, and FRENCH I AM.