Recently I wondered how many people wish they could change their names. The reasons I hear for wanting a different name vary a great deal. But mostly, people change their name because they don’t like it.
I, for one, have never lived up to my name. I never looked like my name. I never had
blonde, naturally curly hair, a sugar-sweet smile, nor could I act and tap dance. When I was born, my mother said she called me, Joan. Then people began to remind her that she was going to call her new baby, Shirley, and so she changed it. People always want their kids to be beautiful, clever and popular. I wonder if she thought Shirley Temple’s popularity might rub off on me? When I was about ten years old, she did want me to take tap dancing lessons. That was when the church taught that dancing was sinful, and being a very young convert, I said “no.” There went her hopes of seeing my name in lights.
I remember at the age of eight or nine, I was wishing I had a different name. I asked my mother why she didn’t name me after herself. Everyone we met said I was a carbon copy
of her. Her name was Ada. That’s when she told me about the name change. She didn’t say why she called me Joan, but I wondered if it was for Joan Crawford. From what I’ve read Joan Crawford was doing poorly in the film business then. When I was the only girl in the house, I had two brothers, my mother thought calling me “Sissy” would be a great nickname, but it didn’t stick. When my sister was born, guess what she named her? Ada! She said I had always wanted to be named after her so she did it for my sister. I really have no hard feelings about this.
A lot of babies are named after film stars. I began to think of names I’d prefer, I’ve always liked Lola or Juliette. But both of those are movie star names. It’s rather difficult to think of names that are not. I had a grandmother
named, Mae, and an aunt, who was named Etta.Why couldn’t my mother have been a little more creative and put these two names together? How does this sound to you, Maetta? I like it.!
When we named our children, we tried to think of unique names. I think maybe our oldest son, Merwin, wished his name was different, but grew to like it as he got older. Recently I heard our daughter, Janine, say she liked her name. Some parents combine both dad and mom’s names. But a person does have to be careful about the difference between interesting and weird names. For instance,” Donmary” is little extreme. Don’t you think so?
Some parents grow to dislike their choice of names because it becomes too popular. I read where a mother changed her daughter’s name from Presley to Summer. And then there are those who name their daughters, Brooklyn or Twilight and some kids are named after fictional characters.
I’ve read that eleven percent of parents get name calling wrong the first time. A fifth of parents had their preferred name vetoed by their partner and get this, twenty-one percent admitted they would also like to change their own name. Names are being changed, today, but it is a time consuming project and a year of paper work, so most people stay with their original name. I’m one of them, besides, it’s what you make of your name that really counts.
Signed, Maetta. (Just trying it on for size.)
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1