About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Children's Names

As a follow-up to my screed on "My First Name," I thought I should broadcast what I
remember about how we chose names for our four children.  It is certainly true that
parents can damage their offspring for life by poor choices.  I learned later how to
deflect the stage-Irish image of my name by saying that I was an English Patrick.
Whether anyone believed me or not, it stopped conversation dead on March 17th.

In effect, your mother named the first two, with practically no input from me.  I don't
remember how she came up with David, but it does reflect the Welsh origin of the
Kimball name.  The Stuart middle name comes directly from Grandmom's mother, who
was from that clan in Scotland.  We were told they were the royal Stuarts, of course.
The tie that I gave Devin is a Stuart plaid from the Wee Scot's House at Rockefeller

Now the next in line was expected to be a girl, for no other reason than that's what Mom
wanted.  When I saw her after she came out of the anesthetic, she wailed, "It's another
boy!"  "That's wonderful, I said."  And it was, and it is.  She decided on Steven as a
first name.  She didn't like Stephen, for some reason.  The Scott reflects both her
Scottish heritage, and the maiden name of Ursula Scott, the wife of Richard Kimball
who brought us to the New World.  We expected to call him Scott, but somehow that
never materialized, so he has always been "Steven, with a V".

You have already heard the genesis of Jean Darcy, which was supposed to be my name
if I had been born a girl.  My mother was greatly assuaged for that loss by our girl.
My mother had been christened Eugenie Marie, for the empress of France, and for Eugene
and Mary, her parents.  As soon as she could walk and talk, she became Jean.  Darcy
was her grandmother's last name.  Ellen Darcy married Patrick Costello.  She was
called "Nellie" and had six children, only one of whom married.  I know absolutely
nothing about the Irish families, except that they came from County Mayo.

You also know that Amy was no accident.  Mom and other women in Winnetka wanted
another child at age 34, before they had to fly up to the Senior Women's Club.  No
kidding, that's a fact.  The baby boom was still in full swing, and a whole lot of fourth,
fifth, and sixth children were added to families.  I was for calling our baby, Caroline
Howe, after my indomitable grandmother from Maine, who was the first principal of
the high school in Oshkosh.  Unfortunately, Caroline Kennedy was in the White House,
so we didn't want people to think our child would be named for her.  That's the kind of
tortured reasoning parents face in naming a child.  We liked the name, Amy, meaning
beloved, but for no good reason, kept the Howe as her middle name.  Amy liked the
name, except she couldn't stand the song, "Once in Love With Amy."

Now I have four grandchildren:  Hilary Ann, Devin Stuart, Emily Suzanne, Timothy
John, Jr., Lydia Dean, Charles Morton, and Nancy Howe.  If, as, and when I ever see
great-grandchildren, I wonder what their names will be!