Thursday, October 27, 2011

By Any Other Name

Proper names are 
poetry in the raw.
Like all poetry, they 
are untranslatable.
~ W.H. Auden

I had two baby gifts to
shop for this week.  One
was for a baby boy and
one was for a baby girl.

The baby boy is named Robert;
the baby girl is named Adalee.

How sweet are they?

My initial necklace won from the talented
Jeanette of Everton Terrace

We don't choose our
name {unless we change
it when we are older......}


From the beginning,
like it or not, our name
 belongs to us.

It is us.

My mom was supposed
to be called Linda, but when
she arrived, nine pounds +,
Gigi changed her mind.

Linda is a petite name; 
my baby girl was big!
she used to say.

She named her Patricia,
and over the years,
has called her
Trish, Patsy, Pats and Pat.

Of course, for me, she
has always been Mom : )

When the time came 
to choose names for our
own babies, I searched
baby books, scrawled
out names and initials on 
paper, contemplated
nicknames and with my
husband, settled on two 
that felt just right.

In 1995, the top baby name
for American girls was
Jessica.  We named our 
daughter Elizabeth,which 
was ranked number nine.

In 1998, the top baby name
for American boys was
Michael.  We named our
son William, which was
ranked number 20.

For fun, I researched the
most popular baby names
for boys and girls last year,
across the globe, and found
the most comprehensive
list, here.


Australia      Lily/Jack
      Brazil           Julia/Gabriel
   Canada        Olivia/Liam
     France         Emma/Lucas
 Germany     Mia/Lukas
      India           Ananya/Aarav
         Russia         Maria/Alexandr
       Spain           Sofia/Santiago
   U.S.            Sophia/Aiden

So, what is in a name?

Is it true, as Shakespeare
suggested, that a rose by
any other name would 
as sweet?

My paternal grandma's
name was Bertha.  Had
her parents called her


the top five girl names
in 1915, would she have
been a different person?

I can't imagine that.

Any item personalized
with a letter, name
or initial feels special,
doesn't it?

I have always loved
the formality of monograms
and I've welcomed
their resurgence in the
last few years.

This is me! a monogram 
seems to declare.

Last spring I sent my 
newest niece a pewter
baby bowl with her just-
minted monogram.  I hope
she will always be proud
of those small letters that
uniquely represent her.

When my mom was growing
up, she called her baby doll
Suzanne.  My dad's grandma
was Susanna and the rest
is history : )

{Lisa was actually the most
popular name the year I arrived.}  

a Debbie or a Jane,
a Steven or a Paul,
our names are as
much a part of us as 
the color of our eyes.

Does your name
feel as untranslatable as
poetry, as W.H. Auden 
put it so beautifully?

A gift from the queen of monograms, Cathy at Stitchfork Designs.

More importantly,
does it feel

I'd love to
hear your story.


PS:  You didn't think
I'd let you go without
sharing some baby love,
did you?

My new niece, Courtney, five months old : )

PPS:  If you were born in
America and want to check
out the top names in your
birth year, you can find them,


Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

It's been a while since I've popped by... that's the trouble with having so many wonderful bloggers out there.... our visits sometimes are rare.

Oh but what a lovely posting to pop in on! I really enjoyed your thoughts about names and the names we are given.

And my, my... that little niece is just too cute for words....she looks like a JOYFUL baby.....

Elizabeth said...

I recently purchased an old painting and inscribed on the back of the canvas it says to Dorcas. Now you have me thinking, what year could she have been born? Did she like her name.

I love my name and I am share it with your daughter. My mother says she always knew she wanted to call me that.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Elizabeth

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Suzanne, very interesting post. From what I was told, my dad was to marry someone else and they had talked about naming a baby girl Tammy Lynn. Turns out, my dad met my mom in the Marines, they married, I was born and named Tammy Sue. My mom's name is Linda Sue and my dad's sister was named Betty Sue. (We are from the South, can you tell? :) I was named Tammy because of the Debbie Reynolds movie, Tammy and the Bachelor. My husband has a daughter named Sarah and he always wanted a son named Yusef, so that is what we named our firstborn (who was born October 1995); he wanted to pick a very old Arabic name for our second son, but I wanted Zackariah because he could be a Zackary or Zack (he was born in October 1998) -- our children are the same age. When I was married the first time, I had picked out Emily Elaine and Jamison Scott as children's names. When I came here, I thought about Hannah for a girl, but got my two boys and that's more than enough. Hope you have a fabulous Friday. Best wishes, Tammy

Felicity said...

My how I love the way you weave into my thoughts my friend and I love all the images you've shared today.

I was having a conversation with my own Mother not long ago and she told me that I was meant to be a Kate but my Canadian cousin pipped me at the post (being born 8 months before me) when she was given the monicker Cathy.

Felicity isn't the easiest mantle to live with even though it's meaning [happiness] is a goodie.

The thing is that multisyllabic names invariably get shortened and I have a squillion nicknames - well one each for my various friend and family groups.
And people are always a bit funny about abbreviating it.

My gorgeous friend Saskia in The Netherlands has got it just right though she calls me Fizz and I call her Sass. Sass & Fizz = a great combo.

Happy day Gorgeous, I hope your weekend is filled with cuddles and laughter.


Beth said...

My name has been shortened and I must admit feels like me. When I had my daughter I spent some time thinking about a name that I would love, but within weeks she got a nickname and that has stuck ever since! Her nickname is definitely her too. When she was little she made up her own special name for mum, so I have never been called mum and I adore the fact that we have our own special and unique name for mum - I can't imagine being anything else now. I think that we find the 'right' names, whether they are given at birth, made up or nicknames.

Biz said...

True True words.
I never was one of those girls who disliked her name.
I always went by my full name growing up and it wasn't until I started working in high school that people started to shorten my name.
My mother had a name picked out for me that my father vetoed and I couldn't be happier that he vetoed it...let's just say I would have gone by a nickname my entire life!
So much thought goes into choosing a name for our little ones and yet I do wonder what my baby girl will be like as she gets older. Will she use her first name? Will she have people call her by her middle name? Will she develop a whole different nickname that becomes her identity?
This is a lovely post!
You are a lovely woman!
We love you dearly :)
Have a Blessed Weekend!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


Well, my momma wanted to call me BLANCHE. "OHHHHHH NON!", asserted my dad. Then he decided to name me Anita, after his favorite sister. Anita, I believe means grace. Cool. I was a dancer, and exceptionally graceful. But growing up, the name was associated with being weak. FAR FROM IT, GIRL!!!!!!!!!! And I think that I tried to prove that. "Little Anita" they would all say. And in Spanish, the ending, "ita" connotes a measure of small stature, so I never liked my name. I always wanted a more unisex or masculine name. But we are who we are, and that is that.


Happy Homemaker UK said...

I was supposed to be Carmen, but my parents changed it to Laura at the last minute. My best friend is also named Laura, so I like the name quite a lot :)

ingrid said...

Hello suzanne,
I just want to let you know,I love your post!
Especially the pic from the baby holding the old hand!
Love from the netherlands,
Have a nice day

paige said...

i was born during the season of camelot so my first name is jacqueline.
when i was a new born my parents felt that was such a "big" name for a tiny baby so i was called paige, which is actually my middle name.
i love jackie & i have always been proud to be named after her.


Farmgirl Paints said...

i have that coffee mug...drank from my "b" this morning. i love names, and initials and letters in general. it always amazes me how people just look like their names. even pets. love that. have a great weekend my friend.

Julie said...

wow, interesting post! Kurt and I decided first of all to give all our babies names that started with a J and K...since they were a combination of the two of us. (so in a way we limited ourselves, but we didn't mind)but I too looked up the meanings of names before we was important to me. :-)
as for my name, Julie, I know it means youthful, and I would LOVE to live up to that in spirit and in looks. (specially at 51!) Hugs to you Suzanne. enjoyed!

Cheryl said...

Hi Suzanne...great post as usual. You are so good at getting our minds going off in interesting directions! I love my name, Cheryl, because it's feminine but also smart and strong, and that's how I see myself. It's also very indicative my generation, since it was really only popular during the early baby-boom. I guess that really means it "dates" me, but I don't mind. I am proud of the road I've travelled and the things I've learned along the way!

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

I love to give monogrammed peweter cups to new babies. My SIL started this with a Tiffany cup for my oldest, I love the tradition. As a child I always hated my name, Kathleen, and there were so many Kathys! Nothing to make me special...then I grew up and decided that Kathleen was the meost beautiful name ever and that a name isn't what makes you special. You are what makes you special. Thanks for the thought-provoking post today, my special friend.


My Grama's Soul said...

Oh Suzanne....what a thought provoking post you have provided us today. My name is Josette.....named so because of my French ancestry. When I was a child no one knew how to pronounce it so I simply by by I do even now. Actually, I love my name, it is unique and I don't often see it in the U.S. It derives from Josephine....which stands for frivolous ......what does that say about me. Once day I hope to blog about my ancestry....since I didn't even know I had such a strong French background until I was in my 40's. Learned this from my wonderful aunt. Anyway......I ramble on......

Have a beautiful day,


Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Suzanne, your baby niece is nothing short of delicious!!!!
I was supposed to be Susanna until my parents laid eyes on me and I was apparently not a Susanna (isn't that a funny coincidence??)
I LOVE that I share the same gaelic name as my grandmother, Eliza, and my aunt, Elizabeth: Eilis (pronounced e-leash): your daughter's gaelic name as well :)
Happy weekend my lovely friend.

Ange said...

Suzanne, that's one of the most beautiful posts I've seen in a while. Brought back lovely memories of naming my 3 babies. I was apparently going to be called Lavinia (I still hope Dad was joking about that one and from Mum's pursed lips, I guess so ;-) but ended up Angela.
Azzura, my eldest daughter, I found in a biography of a fabulous artist in Torino long before I ever had children and swore my daughter, if I were to have one, would go by that name.
Lilia- Rose, my second got Rose from her grandmother and my Aunt and Lilia for an Italian name that was easy to pronounce in both languages (French and English)
Terris was my grandfather's name, spelled differently, and means Terry in Provencal - where my husband is from.
I tried hard to stay away from any of the beautiful names in all of the name books I read (French, Italian and English/US) and have done well so far - except for Lili Rose (Vanessa Paradis' daughter and the fact that Azzaro put out a perfume called Azzura the week before my Azzura was born!! What are the chances of that! Sigh ;-)

pollydove said...

You know, I have to admit, I have never liked my name. Polly wasn't common and all through school, I just wanted to have a common name. I wanted to be a Susan or a Kathy like my friends. My last name brought unwanted attention for being uncommon too: Winebrenner. Then I married, and my last name became Wood. So then my name was Polly Wood ... hmmm ... that got lots of attention too. Sigh.

My middle name is Dove - really, mom? LOL!

Linda in AZ * said...

*** Dear Suzanne... I found myself sitting here, just looking at that most precious, beauuuutiful baby pictured at the end of this delightful posting... What a BEAUTY... what a blessing!!!

Big hugs,
Linda in AZ *

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Courtney is a complete doll baby...I've never really liked my name...but I've never thought about another. so in the end, I guess it's just me. XO, Mona

Jemsmom said...

Oh that sweet baby and those cheeks! Precious!

I never liked my name Kathryn while I was growing up. I grew up in the land of Brandy's and Candy's and just thought Kathryn was too long. There was no history to it. It was the only name my parents could agree on. My mother wanted to name me Lorena Linor! Which is funny that I hadn't even thought of that in years until recently when it came up, and what is really funny is that is our Jemma's middle name!

I digress... I never like Kathryn but never had a nickname until I had nieces. They called me Kaky so the whole family called me Kaky. I was still Kathryn to everyone else.

Then we moved up north... everyone shortened my name to Kathy. No offense to any Kathy's but I hate that name. I am no Kathy. My mom even said they tried to call me that for a bit but it never stuck. I am not a Kathy. My sweet husband has always called me Kat so when nobody could say Kathryn, I started to go by Kat. After 6 years, I really started to miss being Kathryn. It went from a name I didn't care for to one that I found classic and elegant.

When we moved back down south, I went back to Kathryn for the most part but many of the neighbors call me Kat as I would forget to respond to Kathryn!

Wow... I rambled! Sorry about that! I find names so interesting and like you, I love a monogram. There is just something about seeing those three little letters that ultimately are you!

koralee said...

Love names...being a teacher I am always fascinated with all the new names out there and their spellings. Lots of trends that happen..I myself love the old fashion names...your mugs from Anthro are adorable...i have one for everyone in our home.
Happy weekend my friend...I always sooooo loving popping into visit you. xoxoxoxo

Blooming Rose Musings said...

First of all, your neice is sooo precious. What a little cutie!
Well, as you know, I have a long Swedish name and have always loved it. But, as an adult people at work were having trouble pronouncing it (hello, it's only two syllables!)so I became "Susan". I don't mind being Susan because I love the name Susan and it is easier. Recently, I received two emails calling me I don't know what my name is anymore! But,I must admit that I love them all!!!

Lulu and Co. said...

I love names and hear the thoughts behind a name. I loved naming my babies.... I thought it was the very first, most important thing I did as a mother....hoping they would love their name as they got older. As a kid playing with my girlfriends we always would take on a different name for role playing, but as I aged I looked at my name and I believe it fits me perfectly.

Linda said...

Fun post, Suzanne! When I was a girl, I had an Aunt Kathleen...I loved her name and decided I should be called Kathleen Marie! I still have some of my childhood books with that name written in it lol! Thankfully that phase didn't last too long!

Lili said...

I too love pretty monograms, even if they're not my own. There's something just so lovely seeing a beautiful monogram on a crisp piece of linen. I was named after my paternal Grandmother (Lillian) and my Aunt's surname (Vale). The link you provided was so interesting to see. And thanks for showing us your sweet baby niece. xo ~Lili

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Such a pretty post, Suzanne and I am a sucker for all things monogrammed. Love them.
My mom told me they selected the name Alison because she and my dad both loved it and Peyton Place was very popular at the time.

I have always loved my name though
and my sisters' names too, Tara and Susan. My parents picked some good ones I have always thought!

Hope this finds you well!
I just put together a post for this week on blogging friends. You are in there!


michele said...

your name is classy and sophisticated and lovely.

my name's actually my given middle name. my folks never called me anything but michele from the start, and i am shel to those closest to me.

i do love shel as it is not formal, is still feminine, and brings to mind the sea. but my favorite name is MAMA and MIMI (my nieces and nephews call me this). these are the names truly defining me.


Sylvia said...

I love this post and I love monograms ! There was a recent event in which every one should have presented his or her name ; it was so fascinating hearing every story ...and some how each name matched the person :) My mom named me Sylvia after her favorite French singer from the late 60s Sylvie Vartan . I have always loved my name and I thank mom for her choice .
Lovely photos and this baby is simply adorable .

Dianne said...

"A rose by any other name"...hmmm.

I like my middle name well enough and that is what my parents chose to call me. My first name, however, I have always hated! IF I could choose my own name it would be..."Laura Catherine". I haven't changed my name of course. Instead, I've named the main character in a book I'm currently writing "Laura Catherine Sinclair". Sinclair was a great-great grandmother's last name.

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Stitchfork said...

Does your name
feel as untranslatable as
poetry, as W.H. Auden
Love that quote! And thank you so much for including me in your post! What an adorable niece you have there too. I always love the meaning and associations behind names. I'm named after my grandmother and mother.
xo Cathy...who gleefully loves to arrange all those names and monograms!

patty said...

my name is also patricia, sadly b/c my dad was sure i would be a boy, being first-born and all, he had picked patrick. strong, catholic (he later converted)...
i've had several nicknames, but patty is most common and i totally refuse pat. :)

A Cottage Muse said...

Hi Suzanne...the way you write your posts is just so wonderful! You truly have the gift of sharing what is in your heart and soul and I thank you for that.

I am not sure where my name came from but I like that I have two middle after my mother's sister and one after my mother's brother ~ Sandra Lee Joan, that's me!

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My birth name was Sharon Elizabeth! Sounds so serious huh? My Dad called me Sherry Berry when I was a kid, so Sherry stuck. Of course I have quite a few nicknames with Sherika being the most popular......