Archive for the 'naming' Category

The Wailin’ Jennys

August 8, 2014

I finally got around to listening to this group when I noticed they had a cover of “By Way of Sorrow.”  (Here it is live.)  I had already been taken by their name (a pun on Waylon Jennings).  And their music, in my opinion, lives up to the (high) expectations I had for a group with such a clever name.


Last name

August 25, 2013

Mine is Moses, it’s the last name on my birth certificate.  I didn’t change it when I got married.  Willy was fine with that.

I like having a last name that suggests I may be Jewish.  Apparently it may also suggest I am black, and that’s fine with me, too.

There’s also the fact that there have been a lot of people who have called me by my last name or some variation of it, such as Mose, Moïse, Mosita, McMoses, Moses Toes.

I didn’t want to lose that — what those people in my life were connecting to when they addressed me.

A last name for our children fell into place because Jonas arrived in our lives with a Brazilian double last name, so replacing both parts with our two made plenty of sense.  Of course, the lack of hyphen often gets overridden by the needs of a database computer program that will alphabetize as if Moses is a middle name and use Gilson as the last name if a hyphen is not inserted.  So our children have gotten used to hyphenating and not hyphenating depending on context.

I would say it’s my first name that actually causes me more trouble;  no, Diane is not a nickname for Diana, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t identify with Diane.  Di, or Di-Di, those I can connect to, but Diane sounds to me as though the person is addressing somebody else.  Unless the person is someone like a bank manager about to fill out some document, I don’t bother correcting people, however.  (I used to, and got some flak when I did, but I think I stopped more because I realized I no longer want to expend the energy dealing with the issue unless I have to.)  I think my mother does correct people when to her they refer to me as Diane.  Maybe she feels her choice of name for me is not being respected, I don’t know.  These days, I also get a lot of “Dianna.”  I’m not sure how that got so preeminent in people’s minds, but many people ask me, “Two n’s?” in a voice expecting a yes.  As I’ve said before, I actually like the way DiAnna looks, but it doesn’t look like my name to me.  Dianna just looks wrong to me, like a typo, for my particular name.

My dad used to sometimes make a pun out of my name and call me “D. Claire Moses.”  But Claire has always seemed pretty foreign to me, too.  It startles me when I see it on my Connecticut bar documents or my Phi Beta Kappa mailings.

But Moses I do relate to, so I’ve kept it.


June 14, 2013

I was reading Richard Rohr’s meditation on conversion and the re-acceptance of someone from the group who is deemed to have strayed.

I like what the meditation says, but in my opinion, if the world’s well-being depends on someone or some institution re-accepting the wayfarer in all cases, then we’re in big trouble.  I don’t think it’s going to happen.  I see instead some amount of tolerance or forbearance as the best the group can muster in some cases; if the returning wayfarer can make camp at the periphery and sustain themselves, fine, but there will be no substantial re-acceptance by the group.  That’s my observation, that’s what I name.  I would cite Socrates as an example.

Then I move on to contemplate how that may serve, regardless of how uncomfortable it is for the wayfarer.


May 8, 2013

My parents had friends we used to see socially, our families even vacationed together.  They had three daughters, one my sister’s age, one mine, and one a few years younger.  My dad and Mr. F. loved classical music, especially Mahler, and they had known each other since college, I think, and were both engineers.

The other day I was looking up how to pronounce “dhyana,” a word for deep meditation associated with Hinduism.  And the way I heard it pronounced is the way Mrs. F. always pronounced my name Diana, which she did with great volume and drama.

This is an illustration of a phenomenon I have encountered before.  The similarity between my name and a word for deep meditation indicates quite a lot more to me than a seemingly idiosyncratic pronunciation of my name; it’s as if something has come into better focus, as if the energy now shows up in a more accessible form, the piece of the puzzle has found its place.

I’ve known for a while that I have been filling in a stage of spiritual development, for someone who feared they would bottom out in it, that is penultimate.  Being able to put a name to it helps me move to another phase, either of this same project or of my own work.

Claire, Clare

October 1, 2012

I was reading Father Richard’s meditation and he mentions the Poor Clares this morning.

That got me wondering about the difference between Claire and Clare, since I’m a Diana Claire.  I could make something of dropping out the “I” for ego, but I won’t.

Family lore:  Had I been a boy, I would have been named Stephen Richard, I’ve been told.  But I turned out to be Diana Claire, as my mother apparently put it to the nurse:  the nurse asked, after I had been born, if my parents had picked out names, and my mother told her the names, and the nurse said, “It’s Diana Claire,” and mother replied, perhaps from the Demerol, “Oh, that’s who it was.”

I’ve never quite understood why my parents came up with Claire — my mother’s explanation is that she liked the way it sounds.  The Diana part is more understandable to me as my mother was a Latin major and did graduate work in Roman art history.  My sister got the Greek names (Phyllis Barbara).

When I googled Claire Clare this morning, the first entry turned out to be a question from a mother who wanted to name her baby Anna Claire and wasn’t sure which spelling to use for the second half of this name she was envisioning as a double first name.  The feedback she got suggests she is not alone in liking how Claire sounds with at least the -ana part of my first name.  All this makes me feel like my names go together better than I thought;  I don’t use the Claire except when I’m asked to give or sign with my full name, I’ve never really identified with it.

I guess the Claire spelling has to do with the name coming to the English through the French from the Latin clarus -a -um.  And I do agree that Diana Claire sounds a whole lot better than Diana Clara.

William Henry revisited

June 12, 2012

I wrote a few months ago about my not knowing what my parents-in-law were thinking when they named Willy and his brother.  My mother-in-law wrote me a note recently explaining what she remembers, including that the “Kenneth” was not after Kenneth Arrow.  I thought I should post that as a sort of correction.  Interesting that Willy certainly thought the name was after the family friend — maybe this one goes under how kids will perceive things as they will, regardless of their parents’ understanding, like the episode about divorce Sesame Street tried out on a test audience of kids.  According to an attorney for children I used to know who I think knew some of the people involved, the adults making the episode thought it would teach kids about how their parents’ divorce was not their fault, but the kids processed it quite the other way, concluding that the episode showed that the parents’ divorce was the kids’ fault.

William Henry

March 1, 2012

Gail Collins’ meditation on William Henry Harrison of course got me thinking of Willy, who was himself a William Henry.  It used to put me in mind of the fort in New York State, not the president with the short term.  After the Prince and Princess of Wales named their sons William and Henry, I thought of William the Conqueror and Henry’s I and II, too.  But I actually don’t know what my parents-in-law were thinking when they chose Willy’s name; I do know that my brother-in-law’s middle name of Kenneth is after Kenneth Arrow, a friend of my father-in-law’s, so there may have been someone.  I’m inclined to let the mystery lie.