Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Name Game

I (Larry Jámal) am named after my father (Larry Ben) who was in turn named named after his father (Benjamin). Despite everything, I chose to keep the tradition and name my son after myself (Nesta Jamal). Why? I don't know, but I take solace in knowing that that my father knew I extended the tradition even if I don't know why I chose to.

Interestingly enough, Deanne and I had names for the kids long before we ever had kids. The boy was to be Nesta Jamal and the girl, Tate Alexandra. We had these names back in 1995 when we first got engaged right out of high school. When Deanne was pregnant with McKenzie we stated the name game again mainly because I wasn't happy with Tate (I wanted Paige) and she still wanted Tate so we later decided on McKenzie Elizabeth. McKenzie is name after my mother, Stephanie Elizabeth. She was named after her maternal grandparents (Stephen and Elizabeth). To further complicate the matter, my mother's official name is actually Stephenie and not Stephanie (note the e after the h and not the a that is normally there). Apparently while she was in grade school, the teacher decided that my mother should use the "correct" spelling and thus up until a this last year, my mother has used the a rather than the e. Who knows why she decided to make the change (but she may read this post and respond with a reason in the comments, she'll be Nona), but she has.

I have cousins Stephen and Elizabeth. My sister (Clarice) is named after our grandmother (Clara Lee). There's a Stephanie (named after my mother Stephenie). There's my cousin (and Stephanie's brother) Darryl Lee named after his father (Darryl Trent) and our grandmother. They also have an older brother, Trent. There's my uncle James, Jr named after my grandfather (James). There's my cousin Rhonda named for her father (my uncle), Ronald. That's my maternal side.

There are only 4 of us on my paternal side (me, my sister, and 2 cousins). The only one of note for this discussion is Charnez who is name after her father, Arnez. Incidentally, My sister's daughter is Ieashia Sharez, but she denies all implication that she named her after our uncle Arnez.

The bottomline is that there is a naming tradition on both sides of my family. On my mother's side there are even family names (Ann, Elizabeth, Steven, James). Our mother didn't pass along any family names to us, but she did continue the tradition and I passed that tradition on to my children. It will up to them to reinstate the family names. I can only think of one child in my children's generation that has a family name and that would be Stephen's son Stephen. Neither Stephen nor his son Stephen use their first name, like myself and most of my cousins, they use their middle name. Of my generation, only 2 use their given first names, 2 use nick names (alternate versions of their first names) and at least 6 of us (myself included) use middle names.

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