Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Rose by any other Name??

It was a teeny tiny white dress.  It had ribboned embellishments and a silky underdress.  Grandma Howard was excited by the beauty of it.  She picked up the tiny dress and walked to the counter to pay.

As Grandma waited in line she noticed more tiny details.  There was a Peter Pan collar.  Pure and lovely white was the fabric.  Then Grandma noticed the small tag that was sewn into the back of the pretty dress.  It boldly proclaimed in script "A Carol Joy Creation."
She knew that Papa and Mama had chosen a name for their new baby. It was a name to honor both Grandma's. The name that proudly proclaimed the babies name on the hospital certificate was Georgia Leal Cheney. One Grandmother was Lillian Georgina, and the other was Alice Leal. Neither Grandmother liked the name Georgia Leal.

Grandma Cheney had written a long letter to her son Wendell. She explained that there was a distant cousin named George Cheney that had spent most of his life in a mental institution. He was insane. She never wanted her beautiful new Granddaughter to be confused with this poor man.

Grandma Howard presented the tiny present to her daughter and son-in law with the comment, “Look at the name on the tag. Isn't Carol Joy a lovely name? It's much prettier than Georgia Leal, don't you think?

In their faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes nicknamed the “Mormon Church,” infant baptism is not practiced. Instead when a baby is born she is brought before the Congregation and given a name and blessing by her Father.

When that most important Sunday came the family was anxious. Would Wendell name the baby George Leal, or would he name her Carol Joy? As the meeting worked toward the time of blessing Grandma Howard was on pins and needles. The babes Mom chewed impatiently at her fingernails. Her brother Howard fidgeted in his seat. (He wasn't particularly anxious. He just hated sitting still in church for two hours. Especially during August in Southern California. The temperature was probably around 108 degrees, wouldn't YOU fidget?) Carla-Rae blissfully played with her dolly, unaware of any of the drama going on around her.

A collective sigh of relief was exhaled when Wendell stood with a group of men and gave their baby a name and blessing. He named the babe Carol Joy. I don't think he realized that the name he was giving was a large name for his baby to live up to. Carol means “Song of Joy.” So Caroljoy meant “Song of Joy, Joy.”

As the babe grew into a young child she was often reminded, “You are not living up to your name!” Another more positive comment was, “You were given such a lovely name. It fits you so well.” As a young girl Carol Joy was surrounded by music. Her parents sang together, and played lots of records. The radio was almost always playing.

On Monday evenings the entire family would often travel to a music store. There were small vinyl records that were called 33's. The family discovered that there were ten cent vinyls. These were records that were pressed but didn't catch on with the public. With great excitement the erstwhile family would take home their find. Howard and Carla would choreograph a musical song and dance number. They would then teach it to their growing youngest sister. This started when she was two. Howard and Carla were convinced that she was the next Shirley Temple.
Howard played the piano well. He would play and the entire family would sing. This was one of their favorite activities. When friends or family came to visit, Wendell would say, “Sarah, please cook for our guests. Howard, please play the piano for Carla-Rae and Carol-Joy to sing. The guests were a captive audience so the family could practice their skills. Amazingly guests CAME BACK?

Back to Carol-Joy's name and that Shakespearean quote referring to “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet...” I really have a hard time imagining anyone appreciating the thorn stemmed loveliness if it were named rutabaga, or blestiospk. Rose is such a charming four letter name. It rolls off the tongue as smoothly as its petals. There is no hint of those thorns in the name rose.

A popular song from the 1990's says, “I know you really think that you don't stink but look a little closer baby, roses really smell like pooh, pooh, pooh.” I find this line uninspiring but thought provoking. The young lady thinks she's all that AND a bag of chips. The young man is trying to explain to her that a self-absorbed life is unhealthy. Apparently in this instance I'm quoting the words where the lyric says, “Roses really smell like POOH, POOH, POOH.” Unless the lyricist was referring to Winnie the _______ this is an extremely unpleasant comparison.

I wonder, has there ever been a single movie about Winnie the Pooh when he takes off that little shirt and washes it? Or an indication that this little bear ever showers? Actually if he's stuffed he's hugged by a little boy in all stages of dishabille. Little boys are well known for their stench. “Rats, and snails, and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of...”

I remember when Frank Zappa was a rock icon. His two unfortunate children were given the names of Moon Unit and Dweezil. Dweezil, really? I think that even if we ARE given unfortunate names, for example, my Mother grew up with Ima June Bug...not kidding. Even if she just used her first name Ima Bug? I'm certain that her parents thought the name was cute and funny. I hope that she agreed with their assessment.

To summarize this post, names are important. Before you name a child Dweezil, or Ima June Bug, stop and think, “This is the name that this human being will face for all of their life, unless they pay money and change it legally.

Actually I'm going to dither off the path again. When I did data entry way back in the 1970's there was a woman who had a relatively normal name that escapes me now. She opted to change her last name to “Obiewankenobi.” Just as the name is in “Star Wars.” To this moment I don't understand why you would CHOOSE such a difficult name. I'm certain that she had to spell it to every single human being that she ever met. Maybe she liked the attention?

Names are important. Be loving and kind when and if you have children and name them. Remember that in this era many people live to be one hundred years old. How would you like to live through 100 years as Ima June Bug? Kids can be cruel in school. Don't give them ammunition to use against your child! Give them a strong, loving, name, one that they can strive to live up to.

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