The Suitcase Lady


July 31, 2007, 8:30 pm

My name is Mary because my mother was not a risk-taker. If her wishes had come true, I would have attended an Ivy League school and joined the ranks of the elite. Mom knew that the young ladies who grace the halls of the Seven Sisters are not named Sunrise or Moonbeam.

Doing programs for almost 20,000 children a year keeps me abreast of the trends in names. I confidently can state that the two largest sources of current, non-traditional names are western geography books and nature preserves. I have taught scores of Cheyennes, Codys and Dakotas. More recently, I’ve met Montana, Wyoming and Phoenix. Can Sioux and Billings be far behind? Some classroom roll calls resemble departure gate announcements at a western airport.

The nature names can be explained by this experience. I walked into a classroom a while back, and the teacher told me she had her own park. Tree, Forest and Branch were all students in her class. And just last week I met two lovely little girls, Clearwater and Rainbow.

Of course, I’m jealous. I would just love to be Sky, Sonora or Sedona. The only family member of mine who exercised creativity when naming children was my paternal grandmother. She named her sons after British kings and her daughters after flowers. I missed being Peony by a generation.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • jtooley

    Nice write up. I didn’t realize how many kids have names like this until you mentioned it, and I started thinking of the kids I know with names of places or the outdoors.

  • Anonymous

    Try the book Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay. Parent’s are artists; children have names of colors. The sequel is good, too. Their names are Cadmium (Caddy), Saffron (Saffy), Siena, Indigo and Rose.

    Forest, tree & branch!!!!!!!!