Sunday, October 16, 2005


The media has descended on Arkansas, where a mother recently gave birth to the couple's 16th child. This story is being carried by the international media as well.

Why? Why is it particularly newsworthy at all?

There are certainly mothers the world over who give birth to large families. Why so much to-do for this particular family?

An obituary from today's Winston-Salem Journal reads in part:

He was born July 21, 1921, in Greenville Township to the late William Louis Mayo and Mattie Leonora Harris Mayo. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane "Jary" Collins Mayo; two granddaughters, Asya Aimee Farnham and Bronwyn Boinaiv Farnham; and five brothers, Curtis, Charlie, George, Robert and James Mayo. Survivors include a son, Louis Allen Mayo Jr., of Houston, Texas; a daughter, Dr. Candace Jo Mayo-Farnham, and husband William of Rushville, N.Y.; grandson Eric Allen Farnham; granddaughter Amanda Lenore Farnham; brothers Wilbur Mayo of Lynchburg, Va., Bruce Mayo of Dallas, Texas, Alton Mayo of Newport News, Va., John Mayo of Chatham, N.J., Edward Mayo of Hyattsville, Md., Ralph Mayo of Allentown, Pa., and Samuel Mayo; sisters Mattie Harris Horne and Lula "Lou" Ladson, both of Newport News; and many nieces and nephews.
count 'em out:
1. Louis (decedent)
2. Curtis
3. Charlie
4. George
5. Robert
6. James
7. Wilbur
8. Bruce
9. Alton
10. John
11. Edward
12. Ralph
13. Samuel
14. Mattie
15. Lula

Imagine feeding 15 children during the Depression. Goodness, now that's an accomplishment. Were William and Mattie Mayo fêted? I sincerely hope so.

Blatent or sensational promotion. Synonyms: ballyhoo, hype, plug.
"hoopla." WordNet 1.7.1. Princeton University, 2001. GuruNet Corp. 17 Oct. 2005.