Friday, June 3, 2011


WHY, OH WHY, do people name a child one name and call him/her by another name? I know how confusing it was for me to be called one name at school and another name at home and I have written about it on the blog. But more than that, I dislike nicknames.

This week I received a birth announcement and the baby is named Kristiana but the note with it stated, "But we're going to call her Krissy." I have a suggestion: why not call her Kristiana?

My first thought, "Oh, no, it's evidence of those horrible Kardashian creatures' influence!", and my second thought, "She's surely too young to remember "Three's Company" and the Suzanne Somers character "Krissy", but then I recalled that the mother's name and another daughter's name begins with "K" also! It's obviously a family tradition with the other daughter also burdened with a "cutesy" nickname.

When I was young, a family that lived down the road had at least eight children, and all of the children had "JEP" as their initials, as did the father. I can recall Jim, Jerry, Jackie, Jon, Jay, Jane, and Joey. [It had to be difficult to think of all those middle names starting with "E"!] The one in my class was inflicted as I was: he was called "Eddie" instead of his first name!

A friend of mine decided she wanted the names of her children to be "genderless" and "un-nick-nameable"; thus her daughters have the names of Dorsey and Kelsey.

There are definite pitfalls of naming "after" someone: there were a number of boys named "Franklin" in my generation and several with the full "Franklin Delano". The double-whammy on one of my classmates: Franklin Delano Knisley was called "Delano" instead of "Franklin"! In yesterday's obituaries was the name of "Douglas MacArthur Havens". I immediately felt sorry for him for having been saddled with that name all of his life. My mother's generation had a great number of guys named "Woody" and it was usually "Woodrow Wilson_____".

My mother hated naming "after" people and she refused to allow "Junior" to be attached, but two of my brothers bear my father's names: Kenneth and Velorus. [On second thought, I AM glad Bode had his nickname!] I remember the quote: "Naming a child Junior is a poor man's immortality."

I know several boys born in the 1960s named John who also became "John-John"; after a reporter who misheard JFK say "John" and "John" in rapid succession and inferred that John F. Kennedy, Jr. was called "John-John". Although he was often referred to as "John-John" in the media, he was not called "John-John" by his family. He was always "John" as his father was nicknamed "Jack". Caroline named her son Jack.

It disturbs me when people who use "II" improperly instead of "Jr.". When I asked one of my husband's nephews why he had named his son "the Second" instead of the proper "Junior", it caused some ill feelings. He thinks it sounds "better". I told him that it is only correct to name a child "THE SECOND" if he is named the exact name of his PATERNAL GRANDFATHER or PATERNAL UNCLE. I told him that his child should be named "JUNIOR" because he bears his exact name. I gave him examples: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the son of Robert F. Kennedy; Joseph P. Kennedy II is also Robert F. Kennedy's son, but he is named for Robert F. Kennedy's father Joseph P. Kennedy AND his brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

My advice about naming children: think of a name that will be good for a President of the United States.


Arminta said...

I love you Sue, but I wonder if it's a good idea to insult someone's name or their intellect when it comes to how it was chosen. I know when naming my children it was a big decision. Bill and I both liked the name Clark, but for different reasons. Mine was an influence of Hollywood and his of course, comic books. We could have gone with the obvious middle name choices of Gable or Kent, but we decided not to do that to him and chose Ryan. When trying to name our daughter I wanted to name her Roxie after my aunt who had always been so good to me, but Bill didn't agree and we settled on Roxanne as her middle name. After all Cassie Roxie would have been a double "cutsie" name and just wouldn't work. Her real name is actually Cassie, not Cassandra, although we sometimes call her that just joking around and of course Cassandra sounds much more Presidential, so we may or may not have a problem there someday! On that note though, you never really know what may "sound" presidential in 50 years, for example, Harry is a good strong name from the past that many consider Presidential, but as slang came about over the years it has proven to be less so if your last name happens to be Peters, or Butts, or Heiny for example. And you could even give your baby a good strong stoic and family name like Barack Hussein Obama, and it may still turn out to cause a stir when he runs for President. You just never know. Of course all of this is coming from someone named Arminta;)

Mona Lisa said...

How would you like to be named Mona Lisa?