What’s in a name?
Choosing a name for a new member of the family has moved away from the usage of established Christian names passed from mother to daughter or grandfather to grandson. My own name Sally was probably the result of hearing Gracie Fields singing the song ‘Sally’ throughout most of my mother’s lifetime on the radio. My second name was Georgina after my grandmother. She never liked that name and chose to be called Jean.
These days babies are being named for many reasons including after the cities where they were conceived… it makes for interesting reading of the gossip columns.
I thought that I would begin a new series of short stories working my way through the alphabet. Taking the more common names and their original meanings and finding out if people’s behaviour reflects that original description.
The name Ann, Anna, Anne, and Anneka usually originates from the Hebrew Channah meaning ‘favour’ or ‘grace’… It evolved into Hannah which was not regularly used until the 1500s. The Greek and Latin version also used in the New Testament was Anna and is more traditionally used. There are a number of flowers that also are descriptive of our Christian names so I have chosen Anemones for this particular story.
What’s In a Name – 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.
©Sallygeorginacronin What’s In a Name 2015
I would love your feedback and if you would like to nominate a name from the alphabet then I will pick one to use in one of the stories in the series..