On October 6, 1963, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the fourth and final game of the 1963 World Series against the New York Yankees. They swept the series with the help of their pitchers — Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres, and reliever Ron Perranoski — who collectively gave up only four runs in all four games combined.
The same day, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie A. Turner of Compton, California, welcomed triplets — two boys and one girl. Several days later, they announced that they’d named the babies after Dodgers pitchers:
From 1968 to 1970, the baby name Trenny was popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data:
1970: 6 baby girls named Trenny
1969: 7 baby girls named Trenny
1968: 20 baby girls named Trenny [debut]
Where did “Trenny” come from?
A bridesmaid, believe it or not.
On December 9, 1967, Lynda Bird Johnson — the elder daughter* of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson — married U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Charles Robb in a private ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
One of the bridesmaids was the groom’s sister, a photogenic 20-year-old named Marguerite Trenholm “Trenny” Robb.
Interest in her spiked after the wedding photos came out, and she became somewhat of a media darling for the next few years. In 1968, for instance, Trenny appeared on The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, she modeled in magazines like Ladies’ Home Journal and Mademoiselle, and she even flew to Rome to screen test for an Omar Sharif film.
The media followed her modeling career over the next couple of years — even after President Johnson was replaced by President Nixon in early 1969.
But then Trenny decided to leave it all behind and pursue other interests. In 1970 she married, moved to a farm in Vermont, and started a business making pot pipes and related paraphernalia (love beads, peace posters).
These days, Trenny is still in Vermont, but she’s moved on from making pipes to making lamps.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Trenny?
P.S. The English surname Trenholm comes from the name of a village in Yorkshire. The place name can be traced back to a pair of Old Norse words meaning “crane” (as in the bird) and “islet.”
Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
The baby name Chantay made an impressive debut in the U.S. baby name data in 1960:
1962: 16 baby girls named Chantay
1961: 80 baby girls named Chantay
1960: 67 baby girls named Chantay [debut]
Where did it come from?
Yet another single-episode TV character.
That character was Chantay, who appeared on a November 1960 episode of the western Lawman (1958-1962). Chantay was a Native American teenager (played by actress Sharon Hugueny) who had run away from the Indian school. She was befriended one of the show’s main characters, Deputy Johnny.
The California surf rock group The Chantays — famous today for the surf rock classic “Pipeline” (vid) — formed in 1961 and may have taken their name from the character as well.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word charade as “an empty or deceptive act or pretense.”
Given this rather unsavory meaning, it’s surprising that a handful of parents named their baby girls Charade in the 1960s:
1967: 5 baby girls named Charade
1964: 6 baby girls named Charade [debut]
So what was the influence here?
That debut in 1964 can be attributed to the movie Charade and/or the movie’s theme song, also called “Charade.”
The movie was a romantic comedy/thriller starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant that came out in December of 1963 (less than a month after the Kennedy assassination). Here’s how TCM sums it up: “A beautiful widow tries to find her husband’s lost fortune while eluding the killers who want it themselves.”
(Interesting fact: The movie fell out of copyright immediately upon release because the word “copyright” was mistakenly omitted from the title screen.)
The song was a sad-sounding Parisian waltz composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Henry Mancini’s version reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1963. Crooner Andy Williams also released a version that managed to reach the top 100 that year (but just barely — 100th place in January).
It’s now more than a decade since Congolese job hopeful Guy Goma found himself offering his not-so-expert analysis of a legal dispute between Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and Apple Corp, The Beatles’ record label, over trademark rights.
Goma, after arriving at the BBC’s West London headquarters for an interview for a job in the IT department on May 8, 2006, was mistaken for a studio guest, British technology journalist Guy Kewney, and ushered all the way into a live BBC News 24 studio.
This was Guy Goma’s unplanned TV appearance:
[The mix-up happened just a couple of months after I started this name blog, incidentally.]
From a 1979 People article about the “eerie similarities” between two Ohio men who discovered, at age 39, that they were twins separated at birth:
Curiously, both had been christened James by their adoptive parents [who lived 40 miles apart]. As schoolboys, both enjoyed math and carpentry — but hated spelling. Both pursued similar adult occupations: Lewis is a security guard at a steel mill, and Springer was a deputy sheriff (though he is now a clerk for a power company). Both married women named Linda, only to divorce and remarry — each a woman named Betty. Both have sons: James Alan Lewis and James Allan Springer.
Penn Jillette, speaking to contestant Paul Gertner during a mid-2020 episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us:
You gave me this pen. And you gave me the pen with a joke — a joke about my name. You said, “Here’s a pen, Penn.”
When I was in grade school, it would be, “Hey Penn, got a pencil?” “Hey Penn, how’s pencil?” I should have an index of all those pen jokes that were told to me. I’d have over fifty, maybe more than that. It was amazing.
Even her name, pronounced “Ma-veen,” requires a politically charged translation. Christened Marvyne, Betsch added an extra e for the environment, and dropped the r in the 1980s to protest the environmental policies of the Reagan administration.
My family had chosen “Linda” in part because it sounded incontrovertibly American to their Soviet ears, practically an idiom of assimilation unto itself. According to a 2018 study, it is the “trendiest” name in U.S. history, having experienced a sharp rise and precipitous fall in popularity amid the postwar baby boom. By naming me Linda, my parents hoped they were conferring an easy American life upon me, a life free of mispronunciations and mistakes. For them, such a life would be forever out of reach.
Most of the Lindas I have encountered in my age group are also millennial daughters of immigrants; our name is a reminder of our parents’ aspirations and of the immense promise with which our name is laden.
As a 61-year-old man, I have suffered all my life with the name Lynn. My mother simply named me after a little-known celebrity of the early 50s because she wanted a name that was not capable of being shortened. For a while I had people such as Welsh long jumper Lynn Davies to allay the perpetual claims that “it was a girl’s name”. But this led others to believe that it had to be of Welsh derivation. But there are no new male “Lynns” to correct either opinion. All this despite the fact that in the 1930s and 1940s, I believe that Lynn was more popular as a man’s name – especially in America. ~Lynn Jonathan Prescott, Birmingham
From the 2009 book Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity by Leigh H. Edwards:
In [the autobiography] Cash, he explicitly addresses how he represents his identity differently in different contexts, noting how he uses different names for the different “Cashes” he played in different social settings, stating that he “operate[s] at various levels.” He stages a struggle between “Johnny Cash” the hell-rais[ing], hotel-trashing, pill-popping worldwide star and “John R. Cash,” a more subdued, adult persona.