Monday, April 21, 2008


My grandmother's name was Beatrice. Bea for short. That suited her just fine at the age of 65, but it's not the kind of name I'd want a child to have. When I think of cute baby names, I think of Josh, Annie, Sarah, Cal. There are just some names you can't grow up with and some names you just don't hear anymore.

Where have all the Gertrudes, Mildreds, Berthas, Ediths, Ethels and Hazels gone?. They were names of our grandparents or even our great grandparents. Parents just don't name their kids Thurston and Constance anymore and rightfully so.

But, children of the 60's weren't so lucky either. They got nature names. Think the late River Phoenix. His first name comes from nature. His last name comes from geography. Nature has spawned plenty silly names. Blossom, Dahlia, Basil, Cloud, River, Wren, Tiger (as in Woods, a double nature name), Meadow, Moon (as in Zappa's kid Moon Unit), Iris, Lilac, Storm (as in Fields, the weather guy), Sage, Clover, and even Stone (as in the news guy Phillips.)

Some parents chose to name their kids after gems, colors and spices like Cinnamon, Ebony, Fawn, Lavender, Scarlet, Auburn and Topaz.

When nature, color and old fashioned names just don't work, why not just pick a place. You've got Austin, Arizona, Cuba (as in Gooding), Aspen, China, Hudson, Kingston, Geneva, Odessa and Olympia (as in Dukakis).

Growing up, one of my next door neighbor kids was named Sissy. That's short for Phyllis (as in Diller), an old fashioned name. But, growing up Sissy isn't much fun. It's one of those names that sounds childish. Anything with a "Y" on the ends sounds juvenile. Sissy, Billy, Timmy (as in the kid from Lassie), Pippy (as in Longstockings) and Molly (as in Ringwold).

Nowadays, parents have turned to the Bible to name their kids. My sister and brother-in-law named two of their kids Joshua and Jacob. But, some of the other more popular names these days also come from the Bible, like Michael, Matthew, Daniel, Christopher, David, Noah and Jonah. Girls these days get names like Emily, Madison, Olivia, Hannah, Ashley, Sarah, Grace and Chloe.

My hunch is 50 years from now, all of those cool names will sound very much like Gertrude, Thurston, Mildred and Beatrice do to us now. I'm guessing in the year 2060 kids will be named after old toys and outer space. Think Tonka, Lincoln (as in logs), Putty (as in silly) Barbie, Slinky, Cosmos, Mars, Jupiter and Galaxy. Astro will no longer be popular among dogs, but people will be honored with that distinction as well.

For me, Bill or George. Anything but Sue!

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