From the 1920s to the 1940s, brothers Paul Glee Waner (1903-1965) and Lloyd James Waner (1906-1982) played major league baseball, primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Many Pirates fans of the era named their kids after either Paul or Lloyd, and some named their kids after both Paul and Lloyd. In January of 1940, for instance, Jack and Dorothy Munyon of Pittsburgh named their son Paul Lloyd Munyon. A couple of years earlier, a St. Louis mother named her twin boys Paul Glee Kraatz and Lloyd James Kraatz. (From the article: “The Waners have had baseball teams, cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, hogs, race horses and now even twins named after them.”)
Where did Paul Glee Waner get his gleeful-sounding middle name? One source claimed he was born Paul John Waner, but his middle name was changed at the age of six after he received a shotgun from his curiously named Uncle Glee.
In September of 1983, Margaret Kruger of Stuart, Florida, went into labor three months early. She was put into an air ambulance helicopter heading to Tampa…but the baby wasn’t going to wait that long. So pilot Ron Ray made an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Okeechobee, and a baby girl was born soon after the landing.
“Everyone was rushing around, getting the incubator out of the helicopter it wouldn’t open inside and trying to get the baby to breathe […] Cow manure was everywhere caked on the incubator and helicopter skids.”
The baby weighed less than two pounds and spent the next three months in the hospital. Despite being given a 20% chance of survival, she lived.
Her name? Kimberly Sunshine — Kimberly because it means “field” or “clearing” (in part*) and Sunshine because it recalls “the sunshine that surrounded her the day she was born.”
*The “ly” part of Kimberly comes from a word meaning “field,” but the “kimber” part is based on any of several Old English names (e.g., Cyneburga, Cynebald).
[Here’s another baby name story that involves both a helicopter and a pilot named Ron, ironically. And here’s one with a cow.]
Plarski, Pat. “Baby Born in Copter Beating All the Odds.” Palm Beach Post 25 Mar. 1984.
Swartz, Sally. “Pilot Visits Girl who was Born in his Helicopter.” Palm Beach Post 28 Jun. 1992.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, English showman and “Animal King” Frank C. Bostock brought his performing menagerie of lions, jaguars, elephants, camels, and other animals to various cities in Great Britain and America.
Given that Bostock was famous for hosting weddings (for humans) inside the lion cage, the following story isn’t too surprising:
On August 23, 1903, Bostock’s English-born, Brooklyn-based business manager, Harry E. Tudor, had a baby girl. At three weeks old, the newborn was taken to an afternoon Bostock show on Coney Island, at the Sea Beach Palace.
Bostock’s lion tamer, Captain Jack Bonavita, took the newborn inside the lion cage, which contained 27 lions at the time. “[H]e commanded them to stand on their hind legs, which they did, supporting themselves against the bars of the cage.”
He then conducted some sort of naming ceremony in front of several thousand spectators, choosing the name Isla for the baby because, he said, it paid tribute to Coney Island. The baby was then passed out of the cage “and the regular exhibition took place.”
According to New York City birth records, the baby’s name was officially Isabel, same as her mother. Regardless, she was always called Isla by the newspapers.
And why was she in the newspapers? Because she led a fascinating (if short) life.
During her childhood, Isla crossed the Atlantic dozens of times “and visited Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.” She spent her eighth birthday sailing to Europe aboard the RMS Olympic, and her 12th picnicking with a lion named Baltimore at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
When her father took up flying, she took it up as well. She participated in aviation exhibitions in both England and America, eventually piloting a plane herself. Aerial Age Weekly said Isla was “known on two continents as the youngest girl aviator.”
Sadly, Isla Tudor died of appendicitis in 1916, one month after her 13th birthday. News of her death was reported in the New York Times, Billboard magazine, and many other publications. (In the New York City death records she’s listed as Isla, not Isabel; her name may have been legally changed at some point.)