The Name Game
I was born in the early 1950s, a time when lots of parents picked a single letter of the alphabet and then gave all their children names that started with that letter. This seems an especially appropriate topic for Miss Jenny’s Alphabe-Thursday post-along, this week for the letter “W.”
You see, I’m Wanda, and my name is one of relatively few names that start with that letter. My father’s name was William and that, I suppose, was why my parents decided their children’s names should start with with the letter “W.” Accordingly, my older brother is William and my younger sister is Wynne. Somewhere along the way, however, Mom and Dad had a change of heart—probably a good thing!—and named their next seven children whatever they wanted, regardless of the first letter of the name.
Coming up with seven more nice “W” names would have been a significant enough challenge, but Mom and Dad had two other obstacles to overcome as well, both personified by the pastor of the Catholic church they attended. The first was that either the given (first) or middle name of the child had to be a saint’s name. The second challenge was even more formidable—this priest’s native language was German, and he regularly baptized children with Germanic variations or pronunciations of what the parents had named their child. According to my mother, there were times when the baptismal names were almost unrecognizable compared to the parents’ version of the name. Case in point: Wynne Ellen is what my parents named my younger sister, but she was baptized “Winifrida Helena,” which is obviously very different from my parents’ version!
I don’t know the stories of the names of all my siblings, but I will mention two of them. One of my brothers was named after a character in the book Dad was reading when he was born—Mom and Dad hadn’t picked out a boy’s name because after four girls in a row they were convinced this new baby would be a girl as well. The second story is about the name Ryan—Mom was determined to name her last child Ryan regardless of the baby’s gender. If it was a boy, he would be named Ryan Patrick, and if it was a girl, she would be called Ryan Patrice.
So, tell me…did your parents use the same letter to name you and your siblings, or did they perhaps use some other theme? I look forward to reading your comments (and thanks in advance for leaving one)!