A Meditation on the Conception of My Name

My mother thought I was going to be a boy, and so in newlywed fervor decided to name me most fittingly after my father. When I arrived that morning in June though, I was most definitely not a baby boy. Panic ensued—no name had been prepared, chosen, thought of. As they had agreed though, my father was to name any girls and so he set to work. Amelia he thought, after that famous pilot whose bravery, tenacity and independence he most admired and wished for any daughter of his. Uh-melia though…he thought…that didn’t sound right.  It seemed contradictory to give a little girl such a strong name if it was only to be pronounced lazily. An e then, would fix that problem. Eureka! A diphthong at the start would require precision when addressing his baby. So Aemelia it was, and Aemelia I became…sort of, at least. After all, every great first name needs a great middle, so my father decided to consult my mother who replied that they couldn’t possibly burden me with any of the familial female names left over after my older four sisters—Gladys was all that was left really and that just wouldn’t do. Daddy suggested then naming me with my mummy’s middle name, Margaret. Not great, but not terrible either, they both agreed. But Aemelia Margaret sounded clumsy. Was all this discussion in vain? No. Instead they decided to do as my father had done with a pervious child, switch the middle and the first and call by the middle! Genius indeed, or so they concluded. And thus I was named, with a first name I would never be called and a middle name no one would ever be able to spell. As I grew, I got over it, and moved on from it to a different name entirely, one that has only three letters and I thought would be impossible for anyone to mistake for another or spell incorrectly. I, like my parents though, overestimated, and I still to this date get Mya instead of Mia.

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One Response to A Meditation on the Conception of My Name

  1. Anton Vander Zee says:

    Great Cardano-esque meditation here. My favorite sentence: “And thus I was named, with a first name I would never be called and a middle name no one would ever be able to spell.” Lovely, pithy formulation. And I liked your link to that fateful “morning in June”–it leads, via Wikipedia, to something like the autobiography of a date in time.

    I do think we need to bring back some old school names: Gladys, Betty, and the like.

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