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When my mother, her sister and her two brothers were little their aunt, Izez, (who was my great-aunt) would read stories to them whenever they came to visit her in Stoval, NC. The most requested of all stories was The Tale of Peter Rabbit written by Beatrix Potter in 1902. The children would gather around their aunt at bedtime and listen to her tell the story of Peter Rabbit, a bunny who disobeys his mother by eating the vegetables in Mr. McGregor’s garden. The story goes that Mr. McGregor chased Peter all around the garden until Peter escaped back home to his mother. Peter Rabbit discovers that during the chase he lost his shoes and jacket, which Mr. McGregor uses to dress a scarecrow.
My mother remembers that the pictures in the story book showed Peter Rabbit as a small fluffy bunny with grey hair. Inez’s hair began to grey at the age of 20, and by the time she reached her 40s she was completely grey. My uncles, who didn’t know any better at the time, began calling her Aunt Peter Rabbit (to her horror!) because of her grey hair that matched the bunny in the pictures. The nickname stuck and soon the entire family was calling her “Aunt Pete” up until the day she died. I never even knew her real name was Inez until she passed away!