Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Designing Your Family Crest

LUCY BURDETTE: When my brother's only son was getting married about five years ago, we wanted to do something "special" at his reception, but we were pretty sure a rap song (which had been created and performed at a wedding years earlier) would not be welcome. The idea of presenting an Isleib family crest to my nephew's new bride took shape. But what to put on it? My family loves, loves, loves to eat. In fact, one year when my husband asked what sporting equipment he needed to bring for an Isleib family reunion, my cousin Steve famously told him: "All you need is a knife and fork." Gradually that notion has taken firm root and my hub tells people that Isleib can be translated from the German to mean "Large lunch followed by a restful nap."

Besides eating and sleeping, we are all pet crazy in my family. So we suggested the quartet of napping, eating, love of family, and love of animals to another of my talented nephews, Zack Isleib. He drew up the crest, including the "large lunch followed by a restful nap" slogan, translated by Google into German. I had the design printed on t-shirts that resurface at all family gatherings. Isn't it adorable??

Supposing you had an artist to draw it for you, what would you put in the four quadrants of your family's crest?

HALLIE EPHRON: What a great idea!

Let's see, my family crest would be...
A book in one quadrant (we read, write, and collect them)
Definitely  the crossed fork and knife in another, no explanation needed.
Maybe the silhouette of the Brooklyn Bridge in the third (our ancestry is to Russia by way of Brooklyn)
And finally the distinctive silhouette of a Motmot, Jerry and I are birders, and that's the most beautiful bird we've ever seen, and "mot" is French for "word."

LUCY: And oh boy, Hallie, could Jerry do a great job drawing your crest!

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Hmmmm, I may be related to Hallie. A book, a bagel and a boarding pass - and in the center a big sloppy golden retriever over a silhouette of the Brooklyn Bridge! (Bruce is also Russian by way of Brooklyn!)

JAN BROGAN: Books in the first quadrant, definitely, we are all big readers;  And since we're very active in our family, lots of sports and exercise, you'd have to put a marathoner or a tennis player or basketball player in the second quadrant: We also all either sing or play guitar or both, so I'd say a guitar goes in the third quadrant; And I'm going to say the silhouette of Martha's Vineyard, mostly because I'm running out of other ideas, but also because we have a house there that serves as a refuge. 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, what a wonderful thing to think about!
Books certainly, perhaps even something that indicates "way too many books what will we do with them all?"
and then maybe....the scales of justice? Jonathan and I are both devoted to making things right.
A reporter's notebook.

And...a rose. We love our flower garden. And we know to stop and smell the roses.

RHYS BOWEN: Well, we actually have a family crest, and a family motto Inter Utrumque tene--which I'm sure you can all instantly translate as 'steer a middle course'. Wise but a little boring. So if I designed my own crest it might have a plane or a boarding pass like Rosemary, because we love to travel, and the silhouette of Mount Tamalpais that I can see from my window every day, maybe a cactus because we love winter in the desert and I love to hike with my friends. A music clef as all my family is musical (two are professional, my grandfather was a conductor) and we all love to sing, and I like to paint,so maybe a paintbrush. That's more than four, isn't it? And since I fully intend to be made a dame or a baroness, I shall give this matter serious thought!

LUCY: That's so cool that you HAVE a family crest Rhys! And we all want to be invited to the installation...

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Hmmm. A book, for certain.  My daughter and I are now the core of the family, and we love to read. And travel, so add the boarding pass. And eat and cook, so a knife and fork over a pot? And a glass of wine in the forth quadrant, because we think food and wine should go together. But how to get England in there? Maybe splat Big Ben smack in the middle, and do everything on a field of green.

LUCY: Your turn, dear Jungle Red friends: What would go into your crest?


  1. Cool ideas. A stack of books. A vegetable garden or a trowel. A family dinner table with a bottle of wine on it. And...maybe a pair of exercise shoes? One of us is always out walking or running or biking.

  2. Too many mutts around here. We couldn't agree on four things, even if we could stop talking long enough to vote. What signifies blabbermouths?

  3. Jack-- a giant pair of lips? Of course a cat Edith! A cat should be on every crest:)

  4. Great idea and What Fun! Lucy, I love your crest.

    I'll have to think on ours, but I think we should assume we'll have a Corgi (and books, of course!).

  5. HHmmm . . . I do believe an “Emerson” crest exists, but imagining one of our own that defines who we are is quite is intriguing . . . .
    Books, for sure, no explanation needed for that one . . . a “puddle-jumper” airplane for my pilot husband . . . a daffodil [my favorite flower] for the flower gardens . . . the knife and fork for the cooking I enjoy and the family eating together . . . in the center, over all, a cross for the faith that has upheld our family in the best of times and in the most horrible days we thought we would never survive . . . .

  6. Fun idea, Roberta.

    Our family: a pair of spectacles atop an open book, musical notes, a treadmill or sneakers, and a pair of binoculars. We are also all foodies, so maybe decorate the whole thing with bacon?

  7. of course a Corgi Kaye, we knew that!

    Joan, yours sounds perfect!

    Karen made me spit coffee into my keyboard. I am certain no crest ever before has been decorated with BACON!

  8. What a fun idea! You are all so clever - I get breathless trying to keep up with your everpresent creativity! Thelma in coooool Manhattan

  9. Oh Thelma, you should see us lying in bed, tapping on our keyboards...:)

  10. I wonder if I can photoshop these....they all sound hysterical! For the blabbermouths I pictured a charicature of Ralph Kramden.

  11. For ours, a book and a pen in one quadrant, since I'm hardly the only writer in the family. In the next, two open mouths facing each other--we love to talk and there's always good conversation going on in our family. The third quadrants should be a knife and fork and restaurant menu--we love to eat good food of all different kinds and to find little ethnic restaurants. The final quadrant should show a cat and a dog in silhouette.

    And our motto might be "Love and laughter are the cures for anything."

  12. Oh, this is so intriguing..I decided our family needed a motto. So I chose one, then went to get it translated into Latin!

    So on my crest, can we add:

    Vos nunquam teneo

    Which means....

  13. Bacon, Karen! I love it!

    How could have left the dogs and cats out of mine? ...

    Lucy, I LOVE your crest.

    And Hank, don't keep us in suspense on the motto.

    Linda, I may adopt yours.

  14. Well, if we are adding a motto, then here's my choice:

    Vox audita perit littera scripta manet.

  15. A sloppy pile of books for sure! A white Labrador Retriever, a cat (maybe a Siamese). Not sure about the 4th....unfortunately, probably a TV - or a computer - or a softball or baseball - or....I don't know. I think the motto will be the difficult part!

    What fun!

  16. We have some similar themes going here...books, pets, food, writing, talking--my kind of people.

    Okay Joan and Hank, what do your fancy Latin mottos mean????

  17. A truism for all the writers:

    Spoken words perish, written words remain.

  18. I don't know how to handle the "family" part to this family crest game. Guess I could give a quadrant to each of my four exes.


  19. Great crest, and what a terrific reunion idea. Sheep of course, bees, numbers and an infinity sign plus a mobius strip. Scalesof justice.
    So many great opportunities

  20. !!!! Skipper Hammond. You have to win a consolation prize for that comment.:) Send me an email lucyburdette at gmail dot com and we'll send something off.