Names and Meanings
My dad many years ago, before I
was born had some money. He bought some stock with a
name on it that appealed to him emotionally. He let it
sit in the safety deposit box and when I married Jerry,
he told Jerry he still had the paper all these many
years later. We checked it out and it had changed names
and through the years had multiplied and was worth in
the 1960’s about sixty thousand dollars. Dad had
probably paid about several hundred dollars for it
because he liked the name of the company.
So when it was finally cashed in
about 1960, he had passed away and Mom had some extra
security that she had only become aware of then. Names
mean different things to various people. Parents name
their children a name that they like. Many children do
not like their given name and ask mom and dad, why did
you name me that?
I have an unusual first name and I
disliked it until I was eighteen. Then a magical thing
occurred and all of a sudden I loved it. I could call up
on the phone and say this is Elita, not even giving a
last name. I could sign a register at an office and say
Elita and no last name. I vowed that I would name my
children regular names as I called them. So I did.
Jewish people name their newborns
the name of a deceased loved one. If you had a
grandmother named Sarah and you had a baby girl, you
could name it Sarah or Sharon or Sophia or Sally.. The
reason behind it was to have the deceased finally rest
in peace because they were remembered. We also give the
child a Hebrew name which was the deceased’s name. For
instance, Sarah in Hebrew would be Sura, so the child is
Sarah in English and Sura in Hebrew. The Hebrew name is
used for certain occasions like birth, confirmation,
marriage and death. Then the Hebrew name along with the
English name is recited etc.
Now days, the young folks will
name their child Sura in Hebrew but in English they will
name her Ashley or Courtney or Madeleine. They do not
stick with the same initial as they did in my time. So
names change and customs change and attitudes change.
However, the meaning is the same, still naming after a
beloved and deceased person. You hope that the new baby
will be the same kind of person as was named for, good,
dear and smart. You would never name the child after a
relative or friend that you detested.
My mother’s brother and his wife
had a baby girl and the day before she was born, my
uncle lost his sister. So the daughter was named after
the father’s sister who had died the day before. Her
name was Elizabeth and so the baby girl became Elizabeth
but they tacked on the name of a relative who had lived
to be ninety as the second name- Lois. The reason being
that the first Elizabeth, the sister had died at an
early age of thirty-eight and the new parents wanted to
insure that their Elizabeth lived the long life of the
second relative Lois.
When we ballroom dance, we learn
the names of the dances. Some of the dances have sweet
names and other dances have stronger names. The Paso
Doble really sounds quite Spanish and elicits the
feeling in you that you are in Spain and you are
performing before the crowds and though there is no bull
there, one can conjure up the bull’s photo in their
mind. The Rumba signifies the romance of this Latin time
and makes one feel a bit sexy.
The Bolero sounds like a piece of
clothing, but it is not. The Bolero is a form of the
Rumba and it also can be very sexy. The Waltz is
something that one thinks of as doing at a wedding as a
first dance. Ballroom dancers know that waltzes are a
really neat and lovely dance to do especially with
someone you care about. The Swing makes one feel young
again especially if your age is seniordom. The Cha Cha
evokes memories of having fun and movement and exercise.
The Tango is known as a dance of love and controlled
movement and very theatrical. My husband and I way back
in the early eighties were advocates of the Hustle. We
would go to the Hustle night spots and dance all evening
non stop and only sitting down for a light dinner or a
drink. I wonder how we lasted dancing non stop though of
course we were forty years younger at that time.
Did you ever wonder if the dance
steps in the Hustle had been called the Waltz, how we
would react to a dance called that with the energetic
steps of the Hustle? Suppose the Cha Cha had been called
the Viennese Waltz ? How would our bodies be moving at
that pace? If the Foxtrot had been called the Paso,
would it have been as dignified?
So names evoke, stimulate, arouse
and waken thoughts in our minds and bodies. Girls with
male names (which are somewhat popular now) must have a
hard time trying to be feminine. Girls named Sydney stir
up masculine thoughts in my mind. I knew a man named
Sydney in my working days and he was a wimp and or a
nerd. He was nice and polite but if I meet a girl named
Sydney, I see him. Of course, that is silly, but true.
Doctors cannot have a wimpy name
because the patients will react negatively to him and
not become his patient. A doctor I knew many years ago
had a rhyming name. His mom thought it funny to give him
a name like Terry Cherry. When his name was called over
the intercom at the hospital, patients and medical
personnel always smiled. He was a great doctor but his
name created fun and snickers. I had a endodontist
(specialist in root canal work) whose name was Dr.
Brave. Surely, one has to be brave when he goes to the
dentist for a difficult tooth problem.
There was a florist here in
Baltimore, Maryland whose real name was Don Flowers.
Very appropriate. There was an auction house company
here called Dance Auctioneers. The owner's name was Jim
Dance. That would be cute for a ballroom dance teacher.
There was a gym teacher whose name was Lionel Run. He
did like to participate in running marathons. There was
a street here named Jurie Lane. Many lawyers happened to
live on that lane. There was a development here called
Pill Hill because many doctors and pharmacists lived
there. Names can stand for something you live near,
something you work at etc.
Names can affect how we dress. If
we have a masculine name and we are female, perhaps we
think of our self as not so girly or womanly. If we have
a meek name, we may appear in our mind as meek when we
really are strong. The same thing happens when we dance.
If our teacher, by chance says ‘today you are really
dancing like Ginger’ we all of a sudden become Ginger
and our shoulders react and our feet fall into place and
we float off and down the floor. If our teacher says
‘today, you are really dancing like a wallflower, then
we become that wallflower.
The cardiologist getting ready to
examine my heart and lungs and etc, said "come on over
here beautiful." At that moment I became beautiful
because he had said it. Of course, I am, but so what?
The significance of that remarked fired into my mind a
minute of beauty. Even if I had not looked good that
day, I would have thought I looked good. All because a
semi stranger, a medical person who himself is quite
good looking said that word.
So names and words can beautify
our lives whether we are seniors, children, young adults
or really elderly. Words electrify and have been known
to start wars. We should all learn to use our vocabulary
to instill sweetness, goodness, happiness and joy.
Whatever our given names are, we do not have to like it
but we can make it a word of happiness. My firstborn’s
middle name is Joy. That to us she has always been. If
her second name had been Faith or Hope, that she would
have been. If her name had been something other, I am
sure she would have still been Joy. So always remember
that someone’s name may evoke something in you and even
if it is not lovely, still look at the person as if
their name was Faith or Hope or Joy. Then it will be
ours because we will have in our heart-faith, hope, joy
When we ballroom dance let us
remember that the name of the dance being played then
can instill in us the desire to move our bodies and arms
to the music because we know that the name of the dance
controls our movement. Names are powerful and I believe
there was a saying something like this: A rose by
any other name is still a rose.
So always remember if you can that
names are powerful and potent. Elizabeth Barrett
Browning said "How do I love thee, let me count the
ways." We can count the ways we love to dance, love to
perform, love to excel, love to feel great, love to be
successful and most of all love we have taken up this
hobby called ballroom dance and as we dance we feel as
if we are really at a ball. The 'ball' is in our corner
and as we round the corner of the room where we dance,
we are in command of our body, our thoughts and our
movements as we glance at our self in the mirrored wall
and we know that we can 'name' our happiness at this
moment because we use the word DANCE in our life. To
dance is a powerful and beautiful name.