Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Name Game, c. 1942

Folks have fixated on baby names for decades, it turns out. My mother was nameless for the first week of her life, and it drove my grandmother's three sisters nuts. Case in point, my slightly mad, late Great Aunt Allie, who wrote to Grandma about a week after my mother was born:

December 17, 1942

...Mom says you haven't settled on a name for the 'Girl' yet so here is a list of names, one of which might be to your liking.

Holly (considering the season). Marilie (pronounced 'Merrily').

Then there is Sharon, Flora, Coral, Carol, Heather (a good Scotch name) Priscilla (that is what Dot and I have been calling her long before we knew it was a 'her'.) And there is Sheila, Sandra, Jane, Catherine, Kathleen (that is Mrs. Bayce's name), Marita, Elizabeth, Barbara, Cherie, Carmen, Lo---- but maybe I am only giving you a big head ache.

Whatever you call her be sure that it will give her a nice signature -- you know what I mean. Sure the doctor had a patient whose initials were H.P. and I never typed those initials without adding (mentally of course) 'Sauce'. So you know how important it is. Tee hee.

Tee hee, indeed. She was trying to sound lighthearted about it, but I can tell that she was really quite worried that Grandma would do something dumb. When I tell people our favourite name for a boy they seem universally pleased, but I always catch the flicker of relief on their faces. It is quite amusing.

I LOVE the fact that my grandmother was sufficiently amused by her sister's concern over "the Girl"'s name that she kept the letter for my mother to have a laugh over later.

I also love that it was assumed she'd be called Priscilla. Anyone who knew my mother would laugh at the thought of her being a Priscilla, a Cherie, a Carmen or a Flora. My grandmother eventually named my mother Diana, straight out of Anne of Green Gables, to everyone's befuddlement. A beautiful, strong name, and it suited my mother wonderfully.

Too bad Allie trailed off on the last suggestion. I think it would have been Lorraine.


Blogger kelly said...

How fortunate you are to have that letter! I think that Marilie is a beautiful name.

May 18, 2006 6:06 p.m.  
Blogger Mrs. M. said...

It is nice, isn't it? And a hell of a lot less 1940s-dusty than Coral. ;-P

May 19, 2006 1:55 p.m.  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I always thought of your mom as more of a Huntress-Goddess Diana than an Anne-of-Green-Gables Diana. Who knew. :)

May 20, 2006 2:10 p.m.  
Blogger Mrs. M. said...

Me too. I don't think Mom gave half a damn about the book, but she was bloody-minded, cool, and great with a bow and arrow! :)

May 20, 2006 6:08 p.m.  
Blogger Mrs. M. said...

Hey, Kathleen, your DD must be turning 3 very soon - am I right? Wow.

May 20, 2006 6:11 p.m.  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Yes, she is, this Thursday actually! I still have problems believing it.

May 20, 2006 7:32 p.m.  

Post a Comment

<< Home