Written by: Lynne Horner
Oh, goody — a chance to be politically incorrect: Merry Christmas!
Here’s what I did: I asked Santa for a herd of something — a herd of female somethings, to be exact — but so far nothing’s shown up.
Cows, sheep, horses or goats would be my favorites, but what we maybe have room for are a flock of chickens, say, or ducks.
I have a bunch of names I need to assign before I die, because no one else is using them and they stand to be lost forever. Extinct as dodo birds. Goners.
A shame. Someone has to come to their rescue, and I’m not hearing about it from anyone else, so it’s probably up to me.
Dagmar and her sister, Tillie, also Hortense, Lucille and Edwina were the names of my mother’s closest friends — and she was a Doris.
You see the problem. These are names no longer popular, and some of them just plain scary.
Who holds a tiny baby in her arms, all soft and sweet-smelling, and names her something as pointy-sounding as Hortense? Well. And consider the nicknames.
Hermione. Estelle. Cloris, Eunice, Edith and Beatrice. Mabel, Myra, Gladys and Eloise.
Endangered, every one, although very popular a hundred years ago and probably dangling from a branch in every family tree in America.
I’m hoping young parents-to-be will help me out here, come to the rescue and consider a look to the past when choosing names for girl babies — or I’m going to need a farm. And you can guess what that means.
“No farm,” Himself will say.
I know this because I was hoping for one when we were house-hunting nine years ago, and “no farm” was what he had to say about it.
“Not a big farm,” I whined. “Not a farm farm,” I simpered. “Just a half-dozen acres, or so. Something small and manageable and where we could have a few animals.”
“And who do you suppose is going to have to ‘manage’ these acres, when you can’t keep the weeds out of a window box?”
The man’s got a mean streak.
Well. And a point. Possibly, I like the idea of some things more than the things themselves.
And, OK, I’m not so naive as to suppose that some in my collection of names are going to be high on anyone’s list. But I’m hoping young women will consider an oldie-but-goodie as a middle name, at least for daughters.
That way, they’ll still be viable, still in the mix, held in reserve.
In a kind of holding pattern, let’s call it, until such time as all the cute names reach the saturation point.
When there are sufficient Briannas and Ashleys, Emmas and Madisons, Jennifers, Jessicas, Kaylas and Emilys in the country. It seems to me an Agatha, an Elmira or an Esther might be a welcome relief.
Unless, of course, we’ll have to do the whole gamut of fruit first, since Gwyneth Paltrow went and named her daughter Apple.
Antiquated men’s names aren’t as threatened as women’s, for some reason. That’s probably because the tradition of passing a family name down through male babies, in order to ensure some kind of continuum, always has been the way of it.
(Although I will say men’s names — particularly in the South, where quite often the mother’s maiden name becomes a baby boy’s first name, can get problematical if one decides to move north, east or west, say, where neighborhoods are jam-packed with Dougs, Jacks, Eddies and Kevins.)
“Boynton Beauregard Howell, you get yourself in this house and in that bathtub, this minute!”
Ouch. But nothing a year of karate and some boxing lessons can’t take care of.
So, here’s my plea to help preserve the good old names of yore, and my wishes for your Merry Christmas — because we’ve gotten just plain silly about all this “happy holidays” business. What more could one woman hope for.
Well, besides a small manageable farm.
Not a farm farm — just a couple of acres.