Baby name story: Caroline

Remember Invicta, the baby name inspired by a childhood memory of steamrollers and “the smell of thick, black tar”?

Well, I’ve found another baby name that can be traced back to a vivid childhood memory. This memory belongs to writer Mary Schneider:

Her name came to me when I was seven months pregnant and still trying to think of something suitable to call her. At the time, I was walking down a flight of stairs when I became aware of the sunlight streaming through a side window.

Suddenly, I was transported back in time. I was sixteen years old and enjoying the long summer break from school. I’d just cleared all my household chores for the day and was getting ready to visit a friend when I heard the front door slamming – it was my mother coming in from the garden.

I came out of my room and went to the top of the stairs, just in time to see her vigorously unfurling a rug on the floor behind the front door.

As she hurried away, I watched the dust motes rising upwards, made visible by the shafts of sunlight that streamed through the little window at the side of the door. As the motes reached their apex and slowly began to float downwards through the thick air, I stopped mid-step on the staircase, mesmerized.

Just then, the sound of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” came drifting out of the living room to mingle with the dust motes. Illuminated all the more by a sudden increase in sunlight, the motes took on even more of a magical effect as they continued their downward dance.

A few minutes later, the show was over, and I was left on the staircase with Neil Diamond.

That song stuck with me long after the summer sun had disappeared from the Scottish sky. And now I have my own sweet Caroline.

If you come across any other great name stories like this one, please let me know!

Source: Schneider, Mary. “What’s in a name?Star [Malaysia]. 11 Sep. 2006.

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