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Last week we went on a road trip, mainly to Minnesota and Missouri. Here are some names I spotted while we were out and about:
Ole & Lena
At the Mall of America, I noticed a display of “Ole and Lena” branded items — joke books, mugs, jams, jellies, even fortune cookies. Apparently the characters Ole and Lena are well-known in the Upper Midwest, where there are a number of Scandinavian-Americans.
Ole is a short form of Olaf.
Lena is short form of Helena, Magdalena, and other names that end with -lena.
In Kansas City, we toured the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank.
We saw the huge cash vault, and the three robots that carry large containers of cash into and out of storage.
I noticed that robot #2 was named Dewey. That made me think of George Dewey, so I told my husband, “I bet all three names have some sort of military connection. Maybe they’re all named after naval commanders, or war heroes.”
And then we saw car #1, Huey. Then car #3, Louie.
He laughed at me.
Not war heroes. Just Disney. Figures.
Also at the money museum, we watched a short movie about how Kansas City fought to be chosen as one of the nation’s Federal Reserve cities back in early 1914.
The movie featured a lot of old black-and-white photographs, one of which was a building with “Uneeda Biscuit 5¢” painted on the side.
I’ve come across several old newspaper stories featuring husband and wife fighting over who has the “right” to name the baby.
Because this one from 1897 is in the public domain, I’ll go ahead and give you the whole thing:
The question as to whether the naming of the baby belongs, as a matter of right, to the baby’s father or to the baby’s mother was raised in a queer law suit in Eastkill, in the heart of the Catskill mountains.
The plaintiff is Ole Halverson, a Swede, who cultivates a small farm on the mountain side. He has sued for damages the Rev J. G. Remerton, a German Lutheran minister of the same place, and the pleadings set forth the following state of facts: Mr. and Mrs. Halverson have a son of tender years.
The former desired that the boy should be called Oscar, after the present monarch of Mr. Halverson’s fatherland. Mrs. Halverson dislikes the name Oscar, and was determined that the baby should not be burdened therewith. Mr. and Mrs. Halverson took the baby to the clergyman to be christened.
Mr. Halverson requested the minister to name the child Oscar, but Mrs. Halverson had already talked the reverend gentleman over, and to Mr. Halverson’s surprise and indignation the boy was christened not Oscar, but something else, whereby Mr. Halverson suffered serious disappointment, loss of authority in his household, laceration of feelings, &c., for which he prays damages.
The clergyman’s defense is that he christened the child in accordance with the wishes of its mother, whose rights in the premises he considered paramount.
The case brings up a novel question in jurisprudence, the decision of which will be regarded with interest in thousands of families throughout the land.
I haven’t been able to track down the family, so I don’t have any other details. (I do like that “loss of authority in his household” part, though.)
Who do you think should have the final say when it comes to baby names — moms or dads?
Source: “Naming the Baby.” Reading Eagle 4 Jul. 1897: 2.
If you like the idea of anagrams but want to avoid sound-alike sets, I recommend anagrams with different numbers of syllables. Pairs like “Etta and Tate” and “Clay and Lacy” are a far more subtle than pairs like “Enzo and Zeno” and “Mary and Myra.”