In mid-2004, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin welcomed a daughter they named Apple.
Soon after, a woman named Strawberry Saroyan (granddaughter of writer William Saroyan) wrote a long letter to the New York Times about her experiences with a fruit-name. Here are some highlights:
- Strawberry found it helpful to be raised in a “tiny California beach community full of poets, peppered with lots of other kids with unconventional names.” Her younger sister was named Cream, and other kids were named Ivory, Shelter, Wonder, Ocean, Raspberry and Echo.
What were they going to do, make fun of me? They did, but I could bite back. I’ll never forget the terror as Cream and I awaited the arrival of Wonder’s mother to speak with ours because we had been calling her daughter Wonder Bread.
- When Strawberry was 13, her family moved to a “super-preppy” town in Connecticut. “I had little choice but to change my name, a shift that stuck for three years (I chose Cara).”
- One of the reasons Strawberry now likes her name is that it serves as an ice-breaker, “especially in the company of other people from well-known families.”
Once when I was in the offices of George magazine, John F. Kennedy Jr. shook my hand enthusiastically. “Strawberry? Tell me about your parents!” The irony seemed delightful: How often had he, perhaps the most famous progeny in the world, gotten to say those words? I wanted to throw the question back at him: what were J.F.K. and Jackie like? But I restrained myself.
Here’s the full letter: “Named for a Fruit? Make Juice” (New York Times, 30 May 2004).