There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.
Anne Favour and Grace
Anne Fitzgerald was described by her rather aloof mother, to all who would listen, as a plain child. Rather a solemn looking baby, she grew into a chubby toddler with fine straight hair that was tucked behind slightly protruding ears.
Her father, who had adored his daughter from the first time he had held her, adopted a different opinion. He had looked into her blue and slightly unfocused eyes and in that moment was lost. The fact that Anne was to be the only child, and had such a warm and close relationship with her father, did not help the bond with her mother.
Daphne Smith came from a long line of elegant women who were accustomed to standing out from the crowd by the artful use of expensive clothes and exquisite accessories. A name for her yet unborn daughter had been chosen as a tribute to Daphne’s exceedingly regal looking grandmother and other generations before her. However, as Anne developed into a gangly teenager, her mother was quite pleased that dear Grandmamma was no longer around to join her in her critical opinion of her awkward looking offspring.
Despite her mother’s disappointment, Anne developed a wonderfully sunny nature and smile with a generous personality. Everyone she met adored her. Much to her mother’s surprise, when Anne was in her early 20s, a young and dashing officer in the cavalry proposed to her daughter and was accepted. She was equally surprised that her daughter looked reasonably attractive as she walked down the aisle on the arm of her very proud father. Daphne felt a slight twinge of regret that perhaps she had been a little hasty in her opinion of Anne’s attributes, and thought that even her grandmother might have approved.
She was however slightly taken aback that the bridegroom referred to his new wife in his wedding speech as Annie, and would continue to do so from that moment on. She was even more annoyed that her own husband adopted this insulting nickname for his daughter too. She felt it was a direct insult to her illustrious ancestors who had proudly borne the name Anne.
Over the years, Annie became a mother to three sons and finally a long awaited daughter. Daphne had been an attentive grandmother as far as dispensing gifts on birthdays and Christmas as well as advice on the upbringing of children. Annie was always gracious and would politely listen to her mother but would glance frequently out into the garden where her father would be playing boisterously with her young sons.
With the birth of a granddaughter, Daphne eagerly awaited the news that the surprisingly beautiful little girl would be named after her. She was astonished when Annie and her husband announced that their daughter would be named Davina a name that celebrated her status as ‘beloved‘.
Daphne was far too polite to confront her daughter and her husband but made sure that she made her displeasure known to her seemingly oblivious husband.
He listened for several minutes to the angry words that flowed from his wife’s mouth. Apart from the matter of not being honoured in the naming of her granddaughter, there was also the unresolved issue of the over familiar use of ‘Annie’ in relation to her daughter.
‘My dear,’ her husband raised a calming hand. ‘Your daughter associated her given name with your constant disapproval and asked to be known as Annie instead. The reason that she chose the name Davina for her daughter was to let her know that she was much wanted and beloved by her mother, something that she never felt herself.
Daphne sat in shocked silence at this revelation. Her husband’s hand closed over hers and squeezed it gently.
‘It’s not too late my dear,’ he looked into his wife’s tear-filled eyes.
At the christening of Davina, her grandmother stood slightly away from the happy family group. Tentatively she edged closer to her daughter’s side and looked down at the smiling baby in her arms.
‘She is very beautiful Annie,’ she touched her daughter’s arm gently. ‘She has your eyes,’ she paused for a moment. ‘I promise to try and be a better grandmother to her than I was a mother to you.’
Annie smiled back at her mother and thirty years later than nature had intended; the bond between mother and daughter was formed.
©Sally Cronin 2017
One of the reviews for the collection.
There are many topics that will draw my attention to a book. In Sally Cronin’s collection ‘What’s in a name?’ I found a whole bunch that piqued my curiosity: short stories, genealogy, and how first names are chosen. On top of that, it’s the first volume in this series, which means I have another to read soon. Now this made my weekend!
Cronin shares ~20 short stories covering the letters A through J in volume one. She lists a male and a female name for each letter, then contributes a story ranging from five to ten pages each. Short, but not simple, and I mean that in a good way. Cronin packs an immense amount into each brief tale… whether it’s personality traits, complex plots, or comparisons between two people over different periods of time, I found everything from nuggets of glory to hilarious banter.
One of my favorite aspects of this work was the varying time frames, locations, and genres of each short story. Cronin deals with normal life events, everything from death to pregnancy, marriage to sickness. How she manages to pack such a punch with so many characters in so few pages is astonishing! I kinda want a sequel to cover what ends up happening to many of the people we’ve met.
If you’re looking for something fun, clever, and easy-to-digest in short samples, this is definitely for you. I recommend it for those interested in learning about how personalities sometime echo the name chosen for an individual… and perhaps vice versa. Kudos to the author for finding a new fan… and I’ll be reading volume two next month, so be prepared!
You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: :Sally’s books and reviews
I hope you will join me next Sunday for the next story in the collection… thanks Sally.