I never liked my name either. If I had been given a different name, I would have led a much more exciting life.
Marjorie. It’s so stiff and starchy; conservative; upright; prim and proper. I’ve been Margie ever since I was a baby but Margie is only a smidge less straight-laced.
My piano teacher was the only person who called me Marjorie when I was growing up. She was a stickler for using the full, proper given names of her students. Johnathon, not John. Priscilla, not Pris. Elizabeth. Ronald. Patricia. Robert.
Those were the bland, tried-and-true Republican names given to kids when I was growing up in the 1940s.
For a long time, I wanted to be Sasha.
Sasha would be sassy, wild, pretty. Sasha would be tall and slim with a mane of dark wavy hair she had to keep pushing back because it fell across her face. She would have perfected a saucy head toss just for that purpose. She would wear long, floaty skirts and ballet slippers and she’d have bedroom eyes and full, pouty lips. Sasha would speak in a low, throaty voice with the hint of an unidentifiable accent. She would seek adventure at every turn. She would be an unapologetic flirt.
But I’m stuck with Marjorie. I own one skirt and it’s not floaty. I wear classic, conservative stuff ordered online from my favorite designers, LL Bean and Orvis.
The NPR station I listen to features a midday newscaster and guest host named Lakshmi Singh. (pronounced LACK-shmee-SING). I love her name.
Oh – what I could have done with that name!
If I had been named Lakshmi, I would have blazed trails in experimental literary fiction or I would have become an artist or an architect or a sculptor or movie producer or a famous musician.
I read somewhere (on the Internet so it must be true) that Gwyneth Paltrow named her first child, a daughter, Apple. Imagine being stuck with that for life. Gwyneth’s son’s name is Moses, which is much more suitable.
Gwyneth, when she was a guest on Oprah’s show in 2004, told the audience the name was Apple’s father’s idea. Apple’s father is Chris Martin, lead singer of a rock band called Coldplay and owner of several Grammy Awards.
“It sounded so sweet, and it conjured such a lovely picture for me, you know,” Gwyneth chirped. “Apples are so sweet and they're wholesome, and it's biblical.”
Gwyneth doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue at first either. It’s Welsh, meaning, “white” or “blessed.”
My mother was taken to her parents’ church a week after her birth on Nov. 2, 1908. Her mother (my grandmother) had not yet recovered from the birth, so my grandfather's sister, Charlotte, took my mother to be christened. The newborn baby's name, Grace, had already been agreed upon by my grandmother and grandfather.
When my great aunt got home from church, my mother’s name was Charlotte Grace.
She hated it. She should have been glad her aunt’s name wasn’t Trixie or Pansy or Hildegarde or Bambi.