I would not want to have named children. Too much responsibility. You can make or break a little life by what you name things fresh from the womb. Consider the Texas twins Ima and Ura Hogg. Or Trent Lott's wife — and this is not a joke — Iona. That would be Iona Lott. Or my all time favorite (what was his mother thinking?) — Dick Butkus.
Don't we all have names we associate with people, positively and negatively, that affect what we think of newcomers in our lives brandishing the same nomenclature? Sandra was ruined for me in grade school because there were too many of them. Kathy's too. They really spoiled things for me. I'd be introduced as Katy and immediately be stuffed with an unwanted 'h', just to make it easy for them, I suppose. But in their ease, making me a member of a club when what I felt entitled to was my individuality. What we all are entitled to is the sense of self made possible in a fitting name.
Which reminds me of my sister-in-law's experience on the occasion of her first born. There she was in her semi-private room post-partum, savoring the mystery and wonder of being a mother. Then the woman next to her, also a new mother of a daughter, asked what she, my sister-in-law, had named her baby. "Heather,"she reported. To which her roommate chirped, "Oh, I like that name! I'm going to name my baby Heather, too." And so a rash of Heathers was loosed upon the world in the late 1970s.
Names and naming things came home to me today when an 'emergency' meeting of my Social Science Club 125th anniversary book project committee convened here this afternoon. Our mission: come up with a title. There was urgency about this because a title is required this coming week for press purposes. Had we been naming the next pope or future president of the United States we could not have approached our assignment with more solemnity. Or more total brain freeze.
It is worth noting that in part why the name of this book is so important is because the early members of our club had none. The official record books have the ladies referring to each other solely as Mrs. Henry Somebody or Mrs. Franklin Somebodyelse. No first names. Their identities denied to them then, by their own, unknown to us now because of it.
Ironically, we stumbled on the title we would choose within minutes of convening. But that was too easy. Not just history but our legacy as a venerable women's study group rests on getting it 'right'. So we ignored that one and stewed and fretted and debated and juggled words and phrases for another full hour. Then we came back to it and settled on it like a mother bird on her fragile egg.
Look for it on Amazon in the spring — From Hearth to Horizons: 125 Years of the Social Science Club of Newton.
So. What do you think? And what do you think the 'from hearth to horizons' phrase suggests?
Truffle: The recently published (albeit in Finland) Fucktionary. The latest — and most taboo — reference work to hit, well, if not bookshelves then plain paper wrappers. It is just what you might expect, and lots you can't possibly have imagined, from the name. A classic. And co-written by a friend. Mostly in Finish but enough English to make you laugh. And blush. And laugh again.
Quote of the day: "One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody." (Mother Teresa)