About 80 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Emsy Jackson of Oklahoma started naming their children after medical conditions:
- Tonsillitis “Tonsy” Jackson (boy) – born Nov. 7, 1932
- Meningitis “Mennie” Jackson (boy)
- Appendicitis “Pendy” Jackson (girl) – born Dec. 25, 1936
- Laryngitis Jackson (girl)
- Peritonitis Jackson (girl)
- Jakeitis Jackson (girl)
The family first made the news in early 1937, right after Appendicitis was born. Their story ran in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, and TIME, not to mention a bunch of regional papers.
Tonsillitis made headlines twice more after that — when he enlisted in the Navy in 1951, and when he re-enlisted in 1955. (Before he re-enlisted, he had to be treated for tonsillitis, ironically.) In these articles, he explained that his mother had been suffering from a sore throat when he was born, hence the name Tonsillitis.
And what about Jakeitis — made-up name? No, actually. “Jakeitis” isn’t a recognized medical condition, but the word was used in the 1930s to describe the paralysis that afflicted drinkers of Jake, a slang word for Jamaica Ginger.
Now it’s your turn: If we could add a 7th sibling to this set, what would his/her -itis baby name be? Here are some inflammations for you to choose from…
- “Aftermath.” West Australian 8 Nov. 1951: 1.
- All in the Family – Futility Closet
- “Miscellany.” TIME 25 Jan. 1937: 36.
- “Navy Has Case of Tonsillitis.” Toledo Blade 26 Aug. 1955: 2.
Image: Tonsillitis Jackson, Find A Grave