Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Name Game

As we have seen, Grandma is not shy about sharing her opinions. One of the things she is most passionate about is names.

The tenants upstairs (Polish immigrants) have a two year old daughter. They named her Anna and Grandma has been railing about it since the poor girl was born. "What a horrible name! How can they call her that? I'm going to say something to them." My aunt and I try to remind her that it's not her baby so she really has no say in the matter. Besides that, what's wrong with the name Anna anyway? "I used to walk the kids to school and there was a girl named Anna. The boys used to tease her. Anna Banana they'd call her and she would cry and cry!"

This story is a little time capsule in a lot of ways. One, it dates from the 1950s when my dad and Aunt Dee would have been in grade school, yet Grandma remembers it distinctly and tells it at least once a week. Two, I have a cousin named Anna. (This is on the other side of the family. There's no way Grandma would have let one of her kin be named Anna without a fight). We've always called her "Anna Banana" as a term of endearment. It's a cute name and a cute nickname. Three, if "Anna Banana" were such a horrible taunt, I wonder how Grandma would respond to the things I hear at school these days. I imagine a lot of kids would be getting smacks from Grandma!

It doesn't stop with Anna though. Reading about the top 10 names of 2009, Grandma had this to say about Jacob, the number one name for boys 11 years running, "I don't think that's such a hot name." Isabella tops the girls' list, "I don't care for that. Isabelle, maybe, but not Isabella." At number two is Emma. "That's a stupid name. My sister was Emma, but she changed it to Emily." She's equally baffled and disgusted by other names in the top ten like Jayden ("Never heard of it!"), Madison ("For a girl?"), Sophia ("I never liked that"), and Mia ("What kind of a name is that?").

If she has trouble with such common fare as Emma, Jacob, Anna, and Isabella, maybe you can already imagine Grandma's reaction to a photo of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale with their boys, Kingston and Zuma. "Kingston and Zuma? Z-U-M-A. Where do they come up with these names? What a bunch of jerks!"

No comments:

Post a Comment