Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Boy Named Sue

When most middle-aged men are still in bed or glued to Setanta the two Richards get up early each Saturday and go to the dojo to teach tiny children karate. My Richard’s done it for seven years, the other Richard for many more. And like elementary school teachers or prison guards they can measure the length of their tenure by the naming trends of their charges. Mine can say he started with the Jacobs, Kaylas and Tylers, but the other Rich, who was there when our own son started, has experienced enough little Brandons, Ryans and Brittanys for a lifetime.

Mine is not an original name, and it is very much of its time. Like the Tracey’s and the Stacey’s, the Roberts and the Scotts. Except that it was intended to be pronounced Laurianne, in French, rather than Laurie-ANNE, as it tended to be. I shared this indignity with my cousins, especially the beloved Marie-Frances, dubbed Mary FRAN and Therèse, aka TER-EEASE-sa. So I became simply Laurie, Marie-Frances, chose the unimpeachable Mary. The Italian kids did the same thing.
Together we assumed our places among the JOHN-Marks, Danny-YELLS, ANN-thon-EEs and MOAN-Neeks of an anglicized, yet still Roman Catholic school system.

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