what’s in a name?…someone’s life, is all

Persephone Cnidus BM C483

Image via Wikipedia

Visited the blog of a buddy from the UK, nuvofelt, earlier today. She had an interesting post about names given children by their parents. As I indicated in a comment to her, I’d not heard of any of the 10 she mentioned. And I wondered if weird names are dependent upon the countries in which we live. Cited in her post, http://chittlechattle.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/10-names-im-glad-i-didnt-give-to-my-children/ were names like Xenopad (too close to “xenophobia – an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of anything foreign” according to Webster’s), Zasparilla (sounding like sarsaparilla – a favorite soda pop in vintage America), Euginity (oops!…much too close to virginity…imagine the teasing), Endeavour (the last space shuttle launched by the U.S….either very intelligent-sounding…or a put-down waiting to happen), Manville (very British, I’m sure…although nowadays with man caves being one of real estate’s “must haves”…hmmm), Wimbush (wimpy, wimpy, wimpy…once part of a TV commercial), Timber (school kids yelling “Timber!!!… all the time…yikes!) Badlington (sounds like the bad guy in a Winnie the Pooh story) Scoop (again, school kids saying “Gimme a scoop of ice cream!” “Hey! What’s the latest scoop?”…kids can be murderous, especially when new kids try to trespass…and even when they don’t), Persephone (according to Greek mythology, she was the “bringer of destruction”…not a bad name…kind of a warning to one and all “Keep out of my way, or else!”…real security…would name another daughter that…in my next life…or maybe my daughter will consider it…hmmm…)

Nuvofelt’s post got me thinking about my own name, not the one I go by but the one my father left me as his only legacy. You see, he died when I was one. What was he thinking??? Saddling me with the name Mildred was like setting me up as the stereotypical librarian with thick, horn-rimmed glasses and a bun at the back of my head. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! To this day I cringe at the thought…or sight…or both. Perhaps in my revolt, I’ve taken to revolting against type all my life.

Poster for the film Thoroughly Modern Millie

Image via Wikipedia

When I was a sophmore in high school, Julie Andrews‘s movie Thoroughly Modern Millie hit the theatres. Forever after seeing that film, I embodied all that I took away from it. I became the dancing fool, doing the “mashed potato” walking to and from classes, to and from the cafeteria, even standing in one place. Since I didn’t see myself as the cool and beautiful Mary Tyler Moore character, I became the funny, slap-happy, goof-ball that was Andrews’ character. Thanks to the role, I’ve been a standup comic ever since…in real life, not on some theatre stage. Although lately I’ve been toying with the idea…hmmm… 

My brother Ben told his son and daughter-in-law, after they’d met me a couple of years ago, that my zany behavior was owing to the fact that I’m an eccentric. Let’s see, Webster says that means I’m ” adj. 1. unconventional, as in behavior; odd. 2. not having the same center. 3. not situated in the center. 4. having the axis away from the center. 5. deviating from a circular form. -n. 6. an eccentric person. 7. a disk with an off-center axis of revolution that converts rotary motion to reciprocating motion.

Time Person of the Year: You.

I think I like the 7th definition about my so-called eccentricity. I don’t proceed as is expected in life, as others think I should. I generally prefer asymmetry to symmetry in the way I decorate, the way I dress, the way I view others, and life in general. I haven’t walked a treadmill in how my life has unfolded; I’ve taken detours, reassessing my choices depending upon previous outcomes. I often expect the unexpected, and try to manage my life accordingly. I guess my life has been a reciprocation of what’s been handed to me, and what I’ve dished back in response.

Mildred conjures up an image of staid behavior. I’m neither sedate nor solemn. Even in my solemnity I can be a whirling dervish, with whom you wouldn’t want to mess. Webster also defines “staid” as decorous. The only decorum I observe is in church…but even then my eyes and mind wander…everywhere. Even when I appear quiet and serene on the outside, my innards are bouncing about with a joy for life. There’s still so much to experience…and so little time to accomplish it all.

As to my name? Why would I want to be staid and stuffy Mildred, when I can be…

eccentric………standup comic……thoroughly modern millie?………hugmamma. 

13 thoughts on “what’s in a name?…someone’s life, is all

  1. Pingback: daily post challenge #220: why do i blog anonymously? « hugmamma's MIND, BODY and SOUL

  2. Wonderful post. Especially enjoyed:

    Saddling me with the name Mildred was like setting me up as the stereotypical librarian with thick, horn-rimmed glasses and a bun at the back of my head. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! To this day I cringe at the thought…or sight…or both.

    I feel exactly the same about my middle name (which I keep under lock and key). 😉


    • Well I won’t say what my maiden name was. But it use to garner me a lot of teasing when I was a school kid. So I certainly empathize with children who are saddled with names they have to defend. Do parents think about the rest of their babies lives…or are they thinking…

      just in the moment? 😉


    • I’ve only met really nice Nancys…you among them. But I agree that Grace is an equally wonderful name. Is there a nickname you like that you could use instead? Like Nan or Nance?

      it’s never too late… 😉


      • Holland is rainy too, but remember, we can still dance in the rain!
        My eldest son Nick was named after the motor dude in Family Ties, and my youngest Sean after Sean Connery. Plus I love Irish names 😀


        • Nick and Sean…two absolutely wonderful, normal names. And chosen for good reasons. Don’t know why parents need to dream up fantastical names in an attempt to separate their children from the rest of the crowd. As they grow older, the poor kids might have to defend their unique names, whether they want to or not.


  3. The whole naming-your-child underaking is wrought with pitfalls, circumspection, and predictions of the future. And as you have pointed out, that’s not very productive.

    In general the “names pool” has evolved from Daisy, Diane, and Debbie to Samantha, Sheena, and Shaniqua. Everyone seems to in search of indiviidualism these days, even to the point of making up names. At least we’ve left the Summer and Candy days.

    And how much do we fulfill the intrinsic destiny of our names? If your name falls under the bell-shaped portion of the curve, probably not at all. But if your name is Angel or Aphrodite…

    And I would rather be eccentric than staid anyday. I’m with you.


    • I too wonder at parents’ need to invent new names. Some are okay; others, not so much.

      I chose my daughter’s name, at the last minute, I might add…on the delivery table. My husband and I had arrived at another name, but I had become very friendly with a woman whose adopted, Filipino daughter had the same name. The more I thought about it, I didn’t think I’d want both our daughters, who would look like sisters to have the same name. It might be confusing when we would socialize. People often mistake me as Filipino, not that I mind, but I’m proud to be Hawaiian.

      I remembered a friend I’d worked with at a gift shop in Waikiki. She was lovely and funny and sweet. With long, lovely brown hair, she was also a professional hula dancer. So I named our newborn after this charming Hawaiian woman. And though I’ve not been in touch with her, I can still picture her smiling face and remember the fun times we shared helping customers.

      Now that I think about my friend, I feel my daughter shares some similarities. She’s beautiful, always caring of others, has a great sense of humor, and is a professional ballet dancer. So maybe I haven’t lost my girlfriend altogether. She’s present in my BFF…my daughter whom I love dearly…hugmamma. 🙂


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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