Tag Archives: Tradition

What’s in a Name?

Image by CCXPistiavos from Pixabay.

How did your parents select your name?

Perhaps you, like Hubby and I, are a Baby Boomer. Tradition ruled, and many infants were named after parents and grandparents. Later, the plethora of Juniors and Roman numerals would confuse every computer on the planet.

One-syllable, biblical boys’ names often prevailed, e.g. John, Mark and James. Hubby, one of thousands of Stephens (also biblical), always met other Steves at school.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay.

According to the Social Security Administration, the top 1950s names for baby girls included Mary, Linda, Deborah and Susan. My schools teemed with them. I met only two other Rachels, their names spelled differently from mine. Pastors’ daughters too. Sigh.

My mother, Betty, disliked associations with Betty Grable and other brazen hussies of her era. Her children’s names would be biblical and different.

We were different, all right. No respectable Boomer bore names like Nathanael, Rachael, Aaron and Jonathan.

Yet, Mom named our sister after a singer, Janis Paige. Why couldn’t I have been named after Debbie Reynolds? Instead, I received not only a little-old-lady name, but Mom handed me an additional “a,” as in “Rachael.”

The nurse “helping” her with my birth certificate frowned. “Not the correct spelling.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

I want it spelled that way.”

Later, Mom told me I was “Rachael.” I spelled my name her way into adulthood.

When I applied for a passport, though, I discovered my birth certificate said “Rachel.” That “a” provoked hostility that rivaled the Cold War’s. Eventually, I plowed through bureaucracy to pay for the name Mom gave me.

My mother may have borne the popular name, “Betty,” like pin-up Betty Grable, but no movie-star names for her kids!

Then Jennifer Aniston played a character named Rachel in Friends. During 1990, “Rachel” rated 15th in girls’ names.

When Rachael Ray hosted cooking shows, even computers stopped rejecting me as an alien.

Nowadays, in grocery stores when a stern mother commands, “Rachael, put that down,” I still cringe and return the squash I was planning to purchase to its shelf.

I miss my name’s uniqueness. Maybe I could smear it with individuality: ®àĉhæɬ.

Recalling the Great A Controversy, maybe not. Such a hassle over one silent letter.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Shakespeare, whose name has been spelled 80-some different ways throughout the centuries, would agree. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I bet the IRS didn’t like him, either.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: If you changed your name, what would it be?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Easter Afterthoughts

O Lord, some might think these crazy people lined up for blocks in the rain to watch the Cubs or American Idol. It still makes me smile to know they waited to see the Marion, Indiana, Easter pageant. OMG, I know it makes You smile, too.  

I Flunked Euchre

I was born and raised in Indiana, the heart of the “Euchre Belt.” Along with understanding all things basketball and eating dinner plate-sized tenderloin sandwiches, I learned how to play euchre, right?

Wrong.

My father, a card-shark-turned-pastor, nixed cards. Even Old Maid made him uneasy. While friends learned to play euchre and that favorite pastime of the devil, poker, I grew up calling clubs “clovers.”

Instead, our default family activity consisted of singing around the piano.

Once, at an Indiana University summer music camp for high schoolers, I sowed the wildest of oats. My sort-of boyfriend, who also attended, volunteered to teach me euchre. He became my partner.

By evening’s end, he was crying. Why, I didn’t know. The clover issue bothered him. Also, I considered spades hearts too — pointy black hearts. He took that personally.

The relationship crashed.

Dad was right. Playing cards messed up your life.

Then, I met my dream guy: taller than me, with bigger feet and a cute smile. Like me, he enjoyed school. More important, he shared my Christian faith, as did his family.

Eventually, he invited me to his grandparents’ get-together.

I was ecstatic. Until everyone started playing heathen euchre.

Worse, no piano graced their living room.

How could this relationship survive?

Especially, as I learned his parents and grandparents played euchre every week. Grandma and Grandpa even gambled (gasp!), winning penny pots and cans of applesauce and beanee weenees.

My parents would want me to be polite. When my hosts insisted on teaching me euchre, I tried to learn.

Only now do I realize the extent of their kindness. Even Grandpa didn’t pounce on me — mostly because Grandma fixed a steely eye on him when I, his partner, trumped his aces.

Fortunately, my future husband was too in love to notice when I trumped his.

However, even he tired of waiting while I pondered various plays. He joined the others in extended coffee and bathroom breaks. Grandpa built a garage.

“With practice, you’ll do fine,” my sweet, future mother-in-law assured me.

She was right. After 25 years of marriage, I could play without anyone building garages.

Of course, our children caught on to the game as preschoolers. Their children also are fast learners.

The Phillips family playing euchre.

When we play with friends, the card sharks my father warned me about, they can’t play plain euchre. No, we must bid and think high and low and upside down.

You mean the cards read the same upside down?

My euchre education continues.

Occasionally, even the friendliest card sharks lose patience with me. But the important relationship hasn’t crashed.

He still possesses a cute smile. And Hubby can sing around the piano, too.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What in-law tradition tripped (trips) you up?