Oranjello & Lemonjello – Do They Exist?

I recently asked for post topic suggestions, and Diana asked:

Are the twins named Orangejello and Lemonjello urban legends or do they really exist? Legend is their mother loved to eat nothing but jello while pregnant for them.

Urban legend baby names! Terrific idea. Thanks, Diana.

First, to answer the question at hand: No, these twins do not happen to exist. I’ve also never seen proof that the names Chlamydia, Shithead (“sha-THEED”), and Le-a (“Ledasha”) exist.

Some urban legend baby names do happen to exist, though. I’ve spotted legit cases of Eczema, Vagina, Placenta, Female, and Meconium, for example.

I’m saying “happen to” here on purpose, because whether or not these names exist in real life — while it’s an interesting thing to talk about — isn’t really the main issue when it comes to urban legend baby names. The main issue is the overt racism/classism that made these names infamous in the first place.

The fake stories behind these names tend to follow the same formula: a person (typically female) from an underprivileged group (typically African-American) has a baby and ends up giving it a ridiculous name because she isn’t educated/intelligent enough to see that the name is inappropriate.

In short, the stories attached to these names perpetuate dangerous stereotypes.

So, while certain urban legend baby names can indeed be verified, we need to remember that the purported stories behind all urban legend names are false. (Even when the unsavory elements are omitted, as with the mother who “loved to eat nothing but jello.”)

What are your thoughts on urban legend baby names?

P.S. Here are a few sample baby name urban legends collected over at Snopes.com.

22 thoughts on “Oranjello & Lemonjello – Do They Exist?

  1. I had a college roommate named “Tangerine” and a current main character on “Hart of Dixie” is named “Lemon”. Unusal names are certainly used, to be sure. I think it an assumption to put racial connotations on urban legend names unless the names are presented in those terms. When I heard the Lemonjello-Oranjello myth, I assumed they were blonde and red-headed twins. (There is a current trend to dye hair using “Jello” powder). BTW – There is a great little coffee shop in Holland, Michigan named Lemonjellos. I’ve been there. Check out their Facebook site. Great coffee!

  2. Well, congratulations for being the one person who assumed the kids were white. This legend has been around far longer than any current fad, and it’s universally derogatory. Racism exists, and these kind of stories support it.

  3. Um, she’s not the only one. I’ve never associated the urban legend names with a particular race either…

  4. When these urban legends are not racist, they are classist – as with the “loved to eat nothing but jello” comment. Whatever this imaginary mother’s imaginary skin colour, she is marked as poor and uneducated, since jello is cheap, requires no skill to make, and has zippo nutritional value.

  5. @Anna – Interesting. I eat jello several times per week ( it is good for strong hair and nails), yet I have several college degrees and have a 6 figure income. Your take on jello eaters seems as if you paint with a broad brush. Perhaps this imaginary mother just loves jello and pigeon-holing her in a class in very judgmental.

  6. Its just presupposition with no stock in it.

    I have heard the arguments too. Always referring to “ghetto” or/and African-Americans’; in terms of being the ones who come up with and use the made-up or cree8tive spellings name for their babies. The other default argument is that if they aren’t black and ghetto they are most certainly Hillbilly and backwards.

    Unfortunately, I think the only thing that really confirms this perpetuation is when you actually meet one person who really did do it. It seems to just take one person, and people think this “indicates” all rumors and stereo-types are true… Think of the story from the 1800’s about Rose Bull. She was Christened Rose Flower (flower SN) and married a man with the surname Bull. it caused such a stir that it was written about in papers in many counties, countries, and decades later.

    My mother always taught me that gossip is just really meddlesome, bad, farce stories, and if more people took the time in teaching their children not to indulge in it, the world would be a better place. Its hard to not indulge in it, I’m guilty of it, after all, I was attracted to this post by its catchy title. In some ways we admire and other times we find it obnoxious and abhorrent.

    By the way, the person who mention the character Lemon from Hart of Dixie, she was named lemon for the botanical just like her sister Magnolia. Lemon and Magnolia’s mother was obsessed with flowers.

  7. For what it’s worth, the person who decided they were right by saying that Lemonjello and Oranjello do not exist is wrong. They exist. They are real. They were born in The 1980s in New York City. My close friend is a doctor and he was a resident at the time of their birth and personally knew the mother and the twins when they were born. Fact.

  8. Actually, there exists a set of twins with the names Lemonjello and Orangejello (sp?) who hail from Mercer County. They either went to Farrell High School or George Junior (maybe both, as George Junior is a juvenile detention facility.) The last I knew, they were both incarcerated at the same institution. They are in their 30s, I believe .

  9. I honestly worked at the hospital where these premature twins were cared for. I worked in medical records at the time, so I know they exist & were really given these names & the jello craving story was given as the inspiration for the names. I can’t remember the exact time frame, but I think it was around 1985 that they were infants.

  10. Oranjello and Lemonjello are fictional characters —football players—in sportswriter Dan Jenkin’s humorous book, Ya Gotta Play Hurt.

  11. Lemonjello and Orangejello are African-American male twins born November 1st 1986 at Carbondale, I’ll Memorial Hospital. Look it up. I shared the delivery room with their mother. They are not a myth.

  12. My brother wrestled in junior high against a team that had a set of twins Lemonjello and Orangejello on it. They wrestled for Central Middle School in Waterloo Iowa in the mid 90s when I saw them. Not a Myth. Even the Snopes article says the myth is that the mother unwittingly named them. They allow that these names may actually exist.

  13. When my wife was in the hospital just outside Washington DC in 1977 having our first child, she shared a semi-private room with just such a stereotype. The underprivileged woman was not even independent enough to name her own baby boy. She got on the phone to her baby daddy’s mom(!) to ask what he should name him. The older woman told her to name him Jablonski Korea (or perhaps Corea, as my wife only heard it spoken). No idea if that was first and middle, or first and last… but for over 40 years we’ve wondered what kind of a life that poor kid had.

    None of this indicates anything about what we think of a race or a demographic collectively… just pointing out that this sort of social incompetency is not at all uncommon.

  14. I’m confused by this as I was attending Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 1989 and a set of twins came for Upward Bound Summer program for high school students. They were light-skinned, slender, fairly tall, with low hair cuts. I was told repeatedly by several students that their names were L’emongello and O’rangello. They answered to those names. I’m not sure what grade they were in when they vfc attended Upward Bound. Unless, the talk of them being given those names and them answering was some sort of joke, these twins do exist. I was listening to Comedy Central many years ago, well after leaving Mercer and a comedienne was making a joke about them. I am going to message several of my college mates to see who remembers them and if that was in fact their names. I believe that those are really their names. I’m scratching my head over this.

  15. *Just to be clear they were African American. I am as well. I add that because people have been discussing race regarding this.

  16. FACT: There was a player who pitched for the Houston Astros from 1976 to 1979 named Mark Lemongello. Name aside, he had a crazy life story.

  17. I met them at LA County hospital in the early 90’s. I’m confident they are real.

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