Names that could have been

November 5, 2012 | My Jottings

I really think a lot of people grow into the meaning of their names. I can’t prove this of course, but I’ve observed it a lot, especially in my own grandchildren.

I am Julie Ann, but I was almost named Sharon Oma; Oma was my maternal grandmother’s first name. When my parents considered that calling me Sharon Oma would make my initials S.O.S., they thought better of it and fell back on their pick #2, Julie Ann. Julie means “youthful,” and I’m trying not to smirk at that thought right now, considering my knees.

Sharon Lindsay is my first daughter and she was almost named (I’m embarrassed to say this now, and immeasurably grateful it didn’t happen) Jessica Julie. There was also a time before I was even pregnant with her, that I thought I would name my first daughter Farrah Fawn. Yikes. If she were a he, she would have been Nathaniel.

Carolyn Beth is my second daughter and I never considered another girl’s name. Had she been a boy she would have been Jeffrey Alan. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

Sara Yvonne is my third daughter and up until about two days before she was born she was going to be Katie Yvonne. Had she been a boy we would have called her Steven Michael (no cringe there — I still like it).

A man I didn’t know walked up to me once and asked, “Is your name Sandy?” I took a wary step back and said, “Ah, nooo…”  He said earnestly, “You look like a Sandy! I’ve never seen anyone else who looks more like their name should be Sandy than you.”

I recently told that story to Sara and asked her if she thought I looked like a Sandy. After some deep thought she shook her head and said, “No, I think your name would have to be stronger than Sandy. Something like Kay. Or Mavis.”

Pause, and solemnly think of that.

Here’s a picture of Mavis, waving at you.

Waving Mavis.

Sounds good to me.

Do you know if you were almost named something else? Or did you almost name your children other names?


  1. Jodi says:

    I have to argue on the Sandy point. Hurricane Sandy?? Strong. And my mom is Sandy, also strong. I do like Mavis though! And Maeve for short? Fantastic.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Two sweet things from you in one day, Jodi. I love seeing you at CBS on Mondays… I would not have thought of Maeve, but I do like that one a lot. xxoo

  3. Kay in UK says:

    Well, my dad wanted me to be called Sandra or Brenda, but my mum insisted on me being called Kay Lorene. Incidentally, Kay is a derivative of Katherine, meaning ‘pure and unspoiled’! 🙂 If I’d been a boy, I would have been called Stephen.
    As you know, Alan is officially Frederick Alan, but he always uses his second name.
    (My children have given Alan the nick-name ‘Sergei’ because they think he’s like the toy on the following website:

    I’m sure they mean it affectionately!)

    My elder son is called Andrew Robert, my younger son is Christopher John and both times while expecting my sons we had chosen Sarah Kay for a girl’s name. However, when pregnant with my third child, we changed our minds and chose Louisa Mary. Louisa’s great-grandmother was called Louisa May and her great-great-grandmother was Mary Louisa. (I didn’t realise all this until after Louisa was born!)
    When I was expecting Christopher, he was going to be called Stephen, up until four days before his birth. I had a dream in which I gave birth to a baby with lots of hair who was called Christopher. We decided to go along with Christopher for a name and strangely, as he was being born, the midwife said. ‘I hope you’ve brought a baby brush with you because this baby’s got lots of hair’!
    And as to Mario – well it’s just as difficult naming pets, isn’t it? 🙂 We wanted to name him Bramble or Bertie, but Andrew and Louisa thought our choices were too twee. So he has been named after SuperMario, that little Italian plumber.
    And when it comes to naming a house … Well, we just live at No. 11 Hen Wythva, and that always. always has to be spelled out on the phone!
    (Oh dear, this has turned into a long response. No wonder my nickname when I was younger was Chatty Kathy!)

  4. Just Julie says:

    Kay, The little video of the Sergei was funny. Alan, do I see a slight resemblence? I’m not sure… 🙂 Thank you for sharing all your name stories, Kay. I have never heard the word twee…am going to look it up right now. God bless your week, friend!

  5. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Oh NO! You are definitely not a Mavis!!!
    I really wanted to call my 16 year old daughter Daisy, but DH put his foot down…….and Clare is eternally grateful to him! My elder daughter Robin isn’t so happy with me as in Switzerland Robin is almost always a boy’s name and she’s forever having to explain herself and ends up on all the wrong lists- stupid parents, huh!

  6. Just Julie says:

    I love both names, Helen. Robin and Clare both seem feminine to me…. xxoo

  7. Ginny says:

    I was not always as STURDY as I am today, but knowing that my mother wanted to name me after her 2 favorite aunts, I would have GROWN into the name BERTHA EMMA! I can hear it now… This is my friend/sister/wife/daughter/neighbor…BIG BERTHA! Her nickname for me would have been Birdie…they eat like 20,000X their weight in a day…NICE! My mother did not use recreational drugs so her mind was clear enough to rethink the name thing. I know, had she gone through with it, I would be wearing thick nylons rolled down around my swollen thick ankles, my hair would have 3 inches of gray roots and be a harsh unnatural red and I would not wear my lower dentures! Whew! Thanks Sal for NOT giving me that handle!!!!

  8. Just Julie says:

    Oh my gosh I almost can’t type after reading what you wrote, Ginny. You bring hilarity to my life. Thank you. I promise never to call you Bertha or Birdie. Or let you go without your dentures when we’re together. xxoo

  9. Ganeida says:

    I am so pleased to find you back up & running. Your site has been down for days at my end! 🙂

    My oldest is a Joss because it was the only name my Dearest & I could agree on & it worked well for either a boy or a girl. I was keen on something like jonathon or nicholas; he wanted craig or Jack or something equally horrendeous! The child would have gone nameless before I would have agreed to those!

    Elizabeth was always an Elizabeth though I horrified her by telling her she would have got the Scots Elisaid if I had known it at the time.She is so grateful!!!!

    I wanted Angharad as a middle name for either of my girls. It means dearly beloved but I couldn’t convince Dearest. As for the Star ~ I didn’t consult him. lol

  10. Just Julie says:

    I had no idea things were down with my blog over there, Ganeida. In the past couple of months my server has had issues, but they’ve been for half a day here, half a day there. Will you let me know if that happens again? I love the names you’ve chosen for your brood. And their “stage names”… xxoo

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