I still have the little diary where I jotted down possible baby names. If the baby was a boy he would be called Nathan or Grant; a girl would be called Jennifer or Leslie.
She ended up being Leslie Ann, named after the lovely lady who starred in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s version of Cinderella, even if I couldn’t get my husband to agree to the beautiful spelling that I preferred – Lesley Anne. Twenty-five years ago, if you found out you were pregnant (by which time you were about three months along and they referred to your ‘confinement’), you grabbed the keys, jumped in the car and ran to the bookstore, or library and grabbed up a baby name book or three. There you found possible names, their meaning, or origin, and the decision process began. Nowadays we can just go to the web and type in ‘baby names’. The process has changed but the choices are still a bit stale.
This very fun book, A is for Atticus, by Lorilee Craker, opens wide the world of choosing baby names. The author includes some of the more recent names chosen by Hollywood, some of the old standards that will never go out of style, and some that will have grandparents-to-be muttering under their breath. Hopefully when you’re not within earshot.
Names have changed, just about anything goes, and unisex names are popular. Naming a girl something generally chosen for boys is very popular too. What makes this book such a delight is that the author goes to her favorite reads, choosing authors or characters from books as possible name choices.
Naming our own children, we went with Sarah, Leslie and Daniel. Sarah and Daniel are still in the running in this book. Leslie didn’t make the cut (apparently the author didn’t make the Cinderella connection.) Of our four grandchildren, only one name made the cut – Addison. While Grey’s Anatomy has made it a popular choice these days, our daughter actually chose it after one of her favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot.
Some of the names are for the truly brave at heart: Jemima, Cressida, Agnes (should anyone EVER be named Agnes?), or Balthazar, Obadiah, and Chester (my father’s name!). Author Lorilee Craker gives her honest opinion on a few choices:
Gertrude – “Times have changed and now saddling a baby with this Teutonic clunker would be ill-advised, unless you have a stellar reason, like naming her after a beloved family member, perhaps. (You might want to tattoo the words “named for Grandmother” on her forehead, too.) Sister names might include Krimhilda and Hermantrude.”
Buck – “There are country bumpkin names that can be flipped inside out and sound hip on a city slicker. Buck is not one of them. You may as well call the child Redneck if you’re going to call him Buck (Jim Bob, Waylon, and Orville also work in this regard). Buck is the main character – a dog, appropriately enough – in the Call of the Wild by Jack London. Pearl S. Buck was a wonderful human being, however, so you may want to wait until you have a girl and name her Pearl in honor of the author of The Good Earth. (I won’t tell the author I have an Uncle Orville….)
It was a delight to sit and read through the entire book, wondering what I would choose today, if we’d had one more child. I couldn’t really see any of my children with labels other than that we gave them. I finally settled on Regan, Blake or Beckett – I loved all of them, and any would fit well, regardless of whether the booties were blue or pink. If you’re in the ‘wait til baby arrives to find out sex’ club, these unisex names would work quite well.
Fun, fun book – this would make a great addition to a ‘congratulations on your upcoming tax deduction’ gift basket. No more Bambinos for us, thank the Lord, but if I’m ever dumb enough to get another four legged family member it’ll come in handy! Nobody names a new creation Don or Bev these days, not even if it has four legs and has to be housebroken, but Atticus? I love that! Or maybe Heathcliff (cool name for a mastiff), or Finnegan (for a funny little poodle)….
Bev shares whatever’s on her heart at Scratchin’ the Surface, when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, or isn’t on the phone with someone in her family.