Friday, May 18, 2012

Rambling On About Names

So I'm going to be a grandma! Actually, I think I'm going to be a Grammy - at least until the little guy is cool enough to shorten it to Gram.

And the little guy?

He's going to be Jack Sargent. I know - sounds more like a middle-aged man than a baby boy. And when I picture Jack Sargent, I picture a middle-aged man. Then I focus, and I'm able to visualize a tiny newborn baby boy with lots of dark hair and eyes that will soon turn brown like his dad's.

My niece, Emma, is expecting a baby boy, also. He's due to be born about the same time as Jack Sargent. He, too, already has a name. He's going to be George Mantzke.

I know, right? What's with the old man names?

When I picture George Mantzke, I picture a full-grown man, maybe in his late sixties-early seventies, plaid Bermuda shorts, striped shirt, black socks, glasses, an over-sized belly, and golf clubs.

If I focus, I can picture the beautiful little baby boy that my rational mind knows he will be. A sweet little guy with blond wisps and true blue eyes.

We named our kids pretty basic names - Carolyn, Kurt, Jeff and Joel. Carolyn always accused us of giving her an old lady name. I told her that some day she would be an old lady and I just wanted her to be ready for it.

As Jack Sargent will be ready for middle-age.

It used to be that people named a boy John and then called him Jack. My mother went to a Catholic nursing school affiliated with Catholic hospitals. Sometimes they'd get women in there having babies and wanting to give them names like Jimmy or Eddie. But the nuns wouldn't let them. They told them they weren't allowed to use nicknames on birth certificates. They made them put James or Edward on the birth certificates.

Today a lot of the old-time names are making a comeback. When I was a kid, Sophie was not only an old lady name, but a crazy old lady name. If your name was Sophie, you were a crazy old lady. Now when I picture Sophie, I picture an adorable little girl, not an old lady who missed with her lipstick. How about Sadie? Old lady? Not anymore. Ava is popular these days. So is Naomi.

I know a young mother who just gave birth to a new baby daughter - Clementine Inez.  

When was the last time you heard of anyone naming their baby girl Debbie? Susan? Michelle? Julie? Cindy? Those were the standard names for girls when I was growing up.

 Guess what?

They're old lady names.

Then there's the whole make-it-up phenomenon in naming children.

 Our nephew just got engaged to a girl named Tayten. It's cute. Pretty sure her parents made it up. Pretty sure there were no nuns present at the signing of the birth certificate.

I substitute taught in Kindergarten this week. Between the morning and afternoon classes, there were a Ky (boy), a Kya (girl), a Kaya (girl), and a Kyser (believe it or not - a girl).

Crazy how things change. And I'm glad they do. I like the name Jack Sargent. And I can hardly wait to meet him.   

And give him a nice firm handshake.

(Just kidding, Carolyn!)