Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Name of the Game

If I were to backdate to my childhood and pick a new name for me, I think I would choose "Sojourner Truth". I like the ring, I like the meaning and of course, I'd love the romantic nickname I'd have chosen for myself -- either the romantic "Jenny", or better yet, the more sophisticated "Jenna". Sojourner would have been an odd name for a little white, post-WWII girl from Utah, but I don't care. I love it just the same.

My name, "Linda" was the most common name there was for girls in the forties and fifties. In a junior high class of mine, there were six Lindas. If you figure that there would have been maybe thirty students in the class, half those being girls, 40 per cent of the girls shared my name. I was always "Linda Ann" to distinguish me from all the others. "Linda Ann" seems like a baby name to me to this day. No wonder the distinctiveness of "Sojourner" appeals to me.

I asked my mother if I were named for Linda Darnell, a hottie actress of the age, and she told me I was not and that at the time she named me, she knew of no other Lindas. I had a hard time believing her.

A student of mine from Mexico once asked me if my mother ever yelled my name at me. He couldn't imagine yelling "Linda" which means "pretty" in Spanish. It seemed a contradiction in terms to him. The answer is, "Of course she did", and so did all the other mothers of all the other Lindas. The name "Linda" was yelled so often that I taught myself not to turn around unless I was sure it was for me. Nobody really yells my name anymore. All of us Lindas are grandmas now so that is what is usually shouted if we are shouted at at all. I kinda miss hearing my name being yelled nowadays. In fact, I guess I've really sort of learned to like my name and to hear it said at any decibel. If I had a choice between Linda and Sojourner, I'm not really sure now which I'd take. I'll have to think about it some more.


Lindsey said...

Just give me a call and I'll yell your name at you! :) Anytime!

Linda Aukschun said...

Lindsey, you are adorable!