Is anyone really happy with their name? There are many women named Shirley and I recently came across a quote from one of them who wrote that she loves her name and is happy that her parents chose it for her. I can’t say that I feel the same way. I again. looked up the meaning of my name and found that its origin is English and it means bright wood, bright meadow or bright clearing. I learned that long ago, it was a man’s name, and oftentimes a last name. But after Charlotte Bronte’s novel, “Shirley,” written in 1849, it was established as a female name. That is all well and good until I come to who the famous bearer of my name was, and it is always listed as child star, Shirley Temple.
Never have I personally had anything against Shirley Temple. At
t her death, just this past
February 10, 2014, she accomplished a great deal in her life. After her years as a famous child star, 1936-1938, she went on to perform as an adult and then began a second career in public life serving in several diplomatic posts.
What I don’t like is the idea that she is my namesake. Let’s stop and think for a moment what “namesake” means. Does it mean someone was named after you or you were named after them? As far as I can tell, it works both ways, a “namesake” is a person named after another, a person having the same name as another. I am definitely
Shirley Temple’s namesake and here’s why. My mother told me that she named me, ” Joan.” Then when she returned home from the hospital, friends reminded her that she had planned to call me “Shirley.” So she changed it. I have always thought that she wished her little girl would turn out like her namesake. But I didn’t!
As a child, I loved singing and dancing and attending the musicals being shown in the theaters. but, unlike my namesake, I didn’t have natural curly hair, and I was never cute and chubby. Was my mother disappointed? I remember the day she wanted me to enroll in tap dancing lessons. By then, I had already become a Christian and although today’s church seems to accept dancing, it didn’t then. Dancing was a sin! So I refused the lessons. It began to look like there was no way, I was going to be like my namesake. In fact, I would rather have been named after my grandmother, Mae, or my aunt Etta, and always wished I had been named after my mother, Ada.
I shouldn’t complain about my name, but it does date me. The name Shirley was most popular from 1920 to 1960, then began to lose in popularity until it is seldom used today. When I look up what my name means, it reads: “Shirley likes to live life to the fullest. Her love life is important to her and she’ll start looking for her soul mate at a rather tender age.” Somehow this description does seem to fit. I have never forgotten a song that my grade school chorus sang. and although I have never been able to find information on the song, it has had a lasting impression on my life. I wonder if it was written by the chorus director? Perhaps you know of the song. Some of the lyrics are: “I love life, I want to live, To drink of life’s fullness, Take all it can give, I love life, Every moment must count, To glory in it’s sunshine and revel in its fount.” Those words are firmly imprinted on my mind, and do describe my views on life. However, I cannot find any information on it. I’m hoping that readers of Shirl and You may be familiar with the song and will help me learn more about it..
Today people still name their children after movie stars. I wonder if they realize that Kirk
Douglas was really named, Issur Demsky , Judy Garland, Frances Gumm, Bob Hope’s real name was Leslie, Rock Hudson was Roy, and Cary Grant was Archibald. There’s more, too. Marilyn Monroe’s name was Norma Jean, Chuck Norris was Carlos and Mickey Rooney was Joseph Yule. Shirley Temple was her real name.
Juliet, of Shakepeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” said this: ” Names of things do not matter only what things are.” I like best what the Bible says about a name. In Proverbs it reads: “The memory of the righteous is a blessing but the name of the wicked will rot.” So, putting all is in proper perspective, my name should be of little concern, but rather, the way I live. What do you think?