What’s In A Name

I may have told some of you that I was named Deborah because as a small boy my Dad watched the “King & I” at the Saturday morning pictures where he developed a life-long crush on the actress Deborah Kerr; mainly because she was a red-head and spoke like the Queen.

As my mother had planned to call me Jeremy Guy in the event that I was a boy; I will be forever grateful to the chromosome fairy! But there again having spent most of my life answering to a porn queen nickname, karma sure has a sense of humour.

Things could have been very different for my Dad as well. On the day of his christening, my grandmother was late as usual in getting ready and my grandfather not wanting to keep the priest waiting, set off to the cathedral with the rest of the party leaving her behind. The ceremony proceeded without her, however, after the priest had baptised my father Robert, the patter of tiny feet could be heard tripping down the tiled aisle of the cathedral uttering the immortal line “but I wanted him called Anthony”!

Sadly, the dirty deed was done and my father has been called “Bob” or in the case of his devoted sisters “Bobby” all his life. Now my grandfather was called William but everyone called him Freddy; but that really is a story for another day. And you, what’s your story?

baptism

94 thoughts on “What’s In A Name

  1. Good topic! I was meant to be a boy called Kyle. Instead, once they saw I was indeed not a boy, I was named after Hayley Mills, a movie star of my mum’s generation. My middle name was going to be Anne – until mum realised my initials would be HAG. Now I’m a HEG. 🙂

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  2. Names give away so much about your class and your age and such. When I was a kid I was always changing mine, but I could never convince the family to call me by my ‘new name’. I told my parents ‘when I’m 18 I’m gonna change my name be deed poll’ but I never did. I guess you grow into your name in the end and it seems too much trouble.

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  3. Great story, Dallas. Deborah Kerr- those were the days!
    My mum wanted me to be called Janice, and my dad, Joanna, after my Polish aunt, so they kind of compromised. Funnily enough, Dad always calls me “Jan” anyway.

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  4. That was a brilliant story. I was also named Deborah. As a little girl sitting in Sunday school I would always look forward to stories about Deborah the judge. She had wisdom, power and authority. She was a woman to be respected. I imagined walking through the ancient courts, settling disputes, giving advice and seeming to have an unworldly wisdom. Of course I sat in all humility with my little mary jane shoes nicely crossed as I tried to look humble. I would walk carefully down the hallways thinking about the great responsibility that came with my name.
    At least that is what happened up until the Sunday that I answered my mother’s question about what I’d learned in class. We were standing with the other families waiting to enter the sanctuary.
    “So what did you learn in class today?”. I looked up with all seriousness, “We learned about Deborah the judge.” I looked around for special impact. “My mom named me after her.” Suddenly my mom piped up. “Oh no. I named you after Debbie Reynolds. I loved her strawberry blonde hair.” To my horror she quietly started singing, “Taaammmmy, Taaammmy, Tammys in loooovve,….”. Years later in “Postcards from the Edge” I got to watch my namesake portrayed as a drunk tumbling down the stairs.
    Love ya mom. 🙂

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  5. My cousins name is Deborah but she was always called Debbie. I remember being so jealous of her name, it was young, fun and popular at the time.
    And I was stuck with the stuffy-old-name, Margaret. I prefer Maggie, but my family still calls me Margaret 😦

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  6. Love your story! I’m called by my middle name to avoid my initials having been PAW – nice thought but it’s such a pain having to tell authorities like the bank, the doctor, the dentist – no I’m not called Angela, I’m called by my middle name Patricia…but please call me Trish … or Tricia!

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  7. My daughter was named Lucy, she didn’t get given any middle names. 4 years ago (age 15) she decided she didn’t have a proper Sunday name so she decided to add a few middle names. The Sunday name is the name that mums shout when they are angry, it normally contains your middle names and also your surname.

    So Lucy is now Lucy, Eleanor, Mildred …..

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  8. Well, I’m not called by my Christened name at all. I’m called by my second name, due to my mother insisting on my name and my Dad saying she could Christen me whatever she wanted but he was going to call me Susan. Guess my Mom decided that, no matter what any official docs say, it might have created an even more confused child if they each called me by different names 🙂

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  9. I was named after my maternal grandmother Elisabetta, although everybody always called my grandma Lisa. My parents really had no choice as I was the first grandchild in the family, and it’s quite common in Italy (or maybe it WAS quite common) to name a child after their grandparents names.

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  10. I have forever been confused by the fact that my late grandparents were known as Harry and Betty when their real names were Lawrence and Muriel (a fact not even one of their sons knew!) As for me, I would have been David if I was a boy and only in fact got called Sian because my mum received a ‘congratulations on the birth of your child’ card from someone called Sian and she liked the name. I guess I should be forever grateful that she didn’t get a card from a Gertrude!

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  11. Dorothy (I was named after my godmother) …. such an old-fashioned name and one I’ve been tempted to legally change to something more current. But it means “Gift of God” and that has meaning to me, so I accept it with love and move on. … My middle name “Elizabeth” (which also means “Gift of God” so I guess I’m doubly blessed) was after Queen Elizabeth. … I don’t like short forms of my name, although Dee is acceptable. I objected to being called “Dottie” a long time ago. 😉 … Good conversation starter, this post. … Be well, Dorothy 🙂

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  12. I was named after my paternal great-grandmother, Anne Margaret, but my Mother didn’t know it at the time. Except I’m Ann, with no ‘e’. My Dad was in Europe during WWII when I was born, and didn’t have input in the naming. Turns out, I also have the same month and day birthdate as this great-grandmother!

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  13. Sorry Deb…you’ll always be Tink to me! My mother tried to name me Roe. Really? Roe Jane to be specific. And my father loved her enough (or was scared of her enough) to keep out of it. I personally thank God for my Aunt Betty, who stepped in and told my mother in NO uncertain terms…you will NOT name that child ‘fish eggs’. So….Rhonda Jeanne was the fall back. Of course, you had your Dallas (agreed, not easy being a porn queen) and I had the Beach Boys…it’s all about timing Tink…timing is everything! xoxo (man it’s good to be back!)

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  14. What a great story and great way to invite comments. Here’s mine: My mom wanted to name me “MARLO” after Marlo Thomas, who played “That Girl” on television. My dad wouldn’t have it, because he had been a Spanish major in college and said girls names were never to end in “o” so I became “MARLA.”
    COINCIDENTALLY (and I really must emphasize the coincidence) I have an aunt named great-aunt named ARLA, but both my parents told me that my name had absolutely nothing to do with her.
    Sorry about all-capping some of the names. Usually in a fast read with mixed case, people read Maria instead of Marla, and I didn’t want it to block the flow of the story. Ha. SUCH a dork!

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  15. I come from the American South, so, everyone had a middle name that was often used with the first name. I was named Barbara Kaye (always called Kaye, except by my sorority sisters who called me Kittrell), my sister was Deborah Jean (always called Debbie), my brother was Marty Ray (after the singer Marty Robbins, whom my mother was crazy about), and they named my little brother after my father, who was William Benjamin (called Billy by close friends and family and Bill by everyone else…I called him Daddy my whole life), so he was also called Bill. The Kittrell name was originally Catharall in Scotland in 1600’s, but when the family moved to England in the 1700’s, it became Kittrell. They immigrated to the Southern U.S. in time to fight in the Civil War. And that’s about all I know about that. 🙂 Fun post! – Kaye
    http://www.youtube.com/user/kittrellkaye

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  16. What a fun post! I was supposed to be Heather Hultgren when I was born but at the last minute, Catherine was chosen. I’ve always been Cathie even though I prefer Catherine. Turns out nobody wants to say the long name — maybe too lazy, I guess. It’s gotten so bad that sometimes people just call me Cath. I am okay with Cath because I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a Cathie.

    So glad I didn’t end up as Heather Hultgren because by sheer coincidence, Heather Hultgren moved into a home 4 houses down from me — the mailman would have had a heart attack trying to keep all of our mail straight!

    Sincerely,
    Catherine
    aka ‘Bloggoneit’

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  17. I guess as a youth I was never thrilled with my name and could not understand why I was not fortunate enough to be named James Bond. Our last name of course was not Bond but what matter to a boy with an active imagination?!

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  18. I don’t even want to talk about it. I went to great lengths to legally change my surname after my husband died! I didn’t like the name, nor his family so I switched to hubby’s first name for my new surname (I liked him). I’m much happier now! 😀

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  19. There is no glamorous story behind my name. My parents liked the name, it was French and there you go! If I had been a boy, my mother was considering Andrew, Brendan, or Sean which are fine names but a bit odd to stick with a French sounding last name (my mother is Irish-American and has a very traditional Irish sounding name).

    However my French grandmother and her siblings are quite the trip because they have the weirdest nicknames!!! My grandmother is the eldest and her name is Marie-Genevieve, goes mostly by Genevieve but close family and friends call her Titite (Tee-teet not tie-tite!). Then comes Jean-Claude who goes by Jeannot, Bernard who got no nickname (Bernie doesn’t exist in French), Guyonne who goes by Guitte (Gueet), Daniele who goes by Marraine Bebe (I have NO idea how that nickname came about, it is longer than the name itself!), Annick who goes by Ninon, and finally Beatrix who also gets no nickname.

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  20. Funny story about your gran. My hubby would never dare go off without me, however long I took getting ready. He’d rather risk the wrath of God, and keep the priest waiting. 😀 I think Debra is a really pretty name. I always wished I had been a ‘Samantha Jane’ instead of a ‘Sylvia Vera’, although I’m eternally grateful that my mom gave me her first name as my middle name, and not her middle name which is ‘Hilda’. 😯

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    • It’s interesting how we feel of our name. I hated mine because my Mother (Polish) named my sisters, but my father named me. I didn’t like it at all. I’m so-so with it now.

      I didn’t know you are ‘Sylvia Vera’, Adinparadise…

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      • My Grandfather was the boss in their house! When I was a teenager I wanted a really cool fashionable name but no doubt it would have fast become dated but I quite like the old bible names anyway and Sylvia Vera just oozes sophistication

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  21. Great stories about names. And what a serious fellow your grandfather was, taking the baby with him on the way to the church. I would probably have left him with grandma… and we would have all had to wait anyway…

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  22. Dallas – you have the best of both worlds. Your given name and a porn name, how neat is that when deciding who you’re going to be today! Nothing that interesting for me – just the nickname that has followed me wherever I go (when my mother could access paydirt) – Bad Annie here! No idea whatsoever where that came from.

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  23. My mother called both my sister and I ‘Benjamin’…until we were born. Then, I was given my aunt’s name, because my mother adored her (still does).

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  24. So many interesting comments. I loved Bryden Groom! Hilarious. And Bad Annie is pretty cool.
    As for me, my friend nicknamed me Gwenifer (mix of Guinevere and Jennifer) b/c I’m from England and she liked the way it sounded. I still think Dallas is a great name!

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  25. I like Deborah. Sounds so classic 🙂 My first and ONLY name is way too difficult to be pronounced by Non-Indonesians. only? yes, it’s not uncommon for Indonesians NOT to have family names. But, it’s difficult and almost impossible for the US Immigration office to put someone without last name into their system. So, they gave me a last name!! It’s written ‘Fnu’ as my last name on my visa -stands for Family Name Unknown! Then, when I started liking my last name 😉 they deleted it! Suddenly, I was no longer Miss. Fnu. That happened right after I married my husband.

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  26. Tahira: Chaste, pure, pious, clean. Of Arabic origins. Hah! What goes around comes around? It’s like my parents knew one day I’d be in an Arab land and the name would come is very handy, indeed. Awesome post, as usual, Dallas 🙂

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  27. My parents named me Richard but said I’d be called Rick. Okay fine. For the majority of my childhood I’d been in denial that my name was actually Richard. Later, filling in forms became a nightmare. Hmm. How official is this form? Should I be Rick or Richard on this particular form? If I filled in Richard they would call me Richard and it sounded so alien. It wasn’t me. Then obviously in adulthood we fill in more and more official forms, we deal more with the government so I had to suck it up. And I’m also of the view that Richard looks better on a book cover! 😉

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  28. Mean of your grandfather, R would have had hell to pay 🙂
    My name – along with an appendage that I detest – means ‘sweet as honey’ and was inspired by a hit movie of the same vintage! My dad was a huge fan of the lead actress and mom never had a say 🙂

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    • I love Madhu and I think it’s fab that you were named after a glamorous actress and not one wearing a crinoline singing “Happy Talk”. My Dad still makes me watch that film every Xmas and then says each and every time “you were named after her”!

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  29. My parents fought over names, even before they knew they would be approved for adoption they fought over names. Then when they were approved, they fought more. They had lists, my mother would make the list my father would cross all the names off the list. My mother was second generation German, she wanted to ‘honor’ her heritage and some of the names on her list were absolute nightmares. My father was Southern, with Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana mixed in there from a heritage point of view, what he knew for certain it was Scottish, French and Irish; he was having none of those ugly names.

    For privacy sake I don’t write under my given name, suffice to say Valentine is one of my true names. I ended up with a string of names including Given, Middle, Saint and Family. It is a mouthful. None of them are German.

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  30. I love reading the comments. People have such great name stories. I’m a Kathleen who has never been called Kathleen. Of course, I still have to use it officially, which makes it difficult for work peeps to figure out what my email address is. Oh, well. If they can’t find it, I guess what they needed wasn’t that important.

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  31. I am the fourth girl for my parents. They already had a name in mind for a boy, since I was a girl and they “ran out of girl names” they let my sisters choose the name, so I was named after a cartoon show (Sandy Belle). They didn’t give me a middle name though; It is only Sandy :).

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  32. We actually had this as a project back in high school. I went home and asked my mom the meaning of my name. After she told me her reasoning, I wrote it down in poem format. I think I may blog about it tomorrow and link back. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  33. What a great post and comment thread. I was named after an old girlfriend of my father’s, never did find out why my other agreed to that, maybe she did not know at the time! I have never liked my name or felt that it sat comfortably on me and it’s pretty old fashioned, but I care less about it now than when I was young.

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  34. Great stories, Dallas! Porn or not, Dallas is a very cool nickname. My husband’s name is Richard; his family calls him Rick. Why he told me to call him Rich is a mystery. Maybe he doesn’t think of me as family.

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  35. Pingback: Power Of A Name | theinnerwildkat

  36. It took me years and years to grow into my name (Paige…shhhh, haha 😉 ) It’s clearly a very popular name now, there are lots of little girls running around with my name, even some in their 20s, but when I was a kid I got teased endlessly, and I also got all those unimaginative little snot-noses who would just stare at me and declare “what kind of a name is THAT?? That’s not even a name!!”. I got so sick of that, by 13 when I was enrolled in a new school (we moved a lot, that didn’t help) they asked the magical question….”preferred name?”

    That was it, I went by my middle name for 2 years at that school, hardly anybody at all knew my real name, much to the amusement of my parents! At least my middle name was identifiable as a girl’s name – very important to me at the time! However, by the next school as I was turning 16, I decided my “different” name was maybe a little bit cool after all.

    Now, how do I get myself a cool porn nickname? 😀

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  37. Awww…I feel sorry for your Grandmother. If it makes you feel any better I always think of the city when you mention your name, not the porn star. But now that you mentioned it…

    I really liked the name William for my first born but our last name is Clinton and since Bill is the nickname for William….Bill Clinton? I’m a Democrat but I don’t love our ex pres that much.
    Our second son we knew we wanted to name Harry and I thought we could finally use William as a middle name but then I realized that people might think we were overly enthusiastic of the royal family. We settled on Harry Wesley.

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