Monday, August 18, 2008
In an effort to lighten my mood today, I'm shamelessly ripping off Susan, of Going Going Grimes, who has a post about her name.
I have three given names: Veronica Janet Ruth.
My father picked my first name, and my mom, the other two. He always insisted I was named for a flower, but Wikipedia doesn't even mention that possibility in this article.
I'm pretty sure that was an explanation he thought up to placate my mother. I think the real reason was that he liked Veronica Lake. I was born in 1949, and she was still very popular. I learned, 16 years later, that my father was a "leg man." He was always highly critical of miniskirts and the women who wore them, insisting that most of the exposed legs would have been better covered up. Like Betty Grable, Veronica Lake was a WWII pin-up girl, famous for her long legs.
I was led to believe that a veronica was a tall, spiky flower, similar to a delphinium. Oddly enough, we never had such a flower in our garden. I rest my case.
I did notice that the Wiki article mentions that the traditional meaning of my name, "true image," is all wrong (naturally), but I like it...so there. Another odd coincidence about my name: I was adopted, and the names were picked by my adoptive parents and given to my birth mother so that she could have them on my birth certificate. Unbeknown'st to my adoptive parents, "Veronica" is the middle name of my birth sister. It was given to her to commemorate the fact that an ancestor who was a writer used it as a nom-de-plume.
My parents were probably unaware that there was a Saint Veronica in the Catholic church. I didn't find that out until I went to a Catholic school when I was nine.
As for my middle names, both of them were for relatives of my mother: her Aunt Janet and sister, Ruth, both of whom she disliked intensely. I'm guessing it was a guilt thing, though she never discussed it. She talked about her sister a lot, and I met her once or twice. I never did get the story on my Great-Aunt Janet. Just one of the mysteries Mom took to her grave because I never asked the right questions.
If I had been a boy, they would have called me Guy Alexander. The thought filled me with horror as a teenager, but now, I kind of like it.