nametagI’ve never cared for my family name: Gladstein. When my grandfather came through Ellis Island, they didn’t change his surname — just the pronunciation. It was originally pronounced “GLOT-shtine” but they changed it to “GLAD-steen”. Oddly enough, I find that the original pronunciation just rolls off the tongue, but apparently, even after almost 45 years of practice, I don’t pronounce the current version of my name very clearly. If someone asks me my name and I tell them “Gladstein,” they almost invariably repeat back “Blansky?”

On top of that, when I briefly attempted to learn German, the professor in my class told me what my name means. I won’t mention it here, but it is not brave leader, or god’s gift, or even decent enough fellow.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about names and naming of late. There are people who make their living naming things: companies, products, etc. But naming people is another matter. My mother was given the name Edith Claire at birth, supposedly in honor of some dead relative named Edith. However, nobody liked the name Edith (and I don’t think they liked Edith herself, either), so before the ink on the birth certificate was dry, people started calling my mother Claire Edith. So there, Edith, whoever you were.

I’ve been putting together a little project in my copious free time, listing names that could be real, and have a certain something else that sets them apart. I’m sure you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. If you have any to add to the list, let me know.

  • Anne Teeter
  • Bela Kose
  • Claire Voyant
  • Ella Meneaux
  • Ellie Tate
  • Farrah Field
  • Helen Bach
  • Luke Askew
  • Paris Ochs
  • Paula Titian
  • Perry Farrell
  • Phyllis Stein
  • Herman Ütichs
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