Baby name story: Ozana

Polish filmmaker Tony Halik (1921-1998) with son Ozana, early 1960s
Tony Halik and Ozana

Polish filmmaker Mieczyslaw “Tony” Halik is best remembered for his travel show Pieprz i Wanilia (translation Pepper and Vanilla), which aired on Polish television in the 1980s and ’90s.

In Poland under the communist regime, when obtaining a passport was no easy feat, the series was especially important, as it offered a much needed window on the world to many Poles who would otherwise have few occasions to see what life was like beyond the Iron Curtain.

Footage for the show was collected over the many years that Tony spent exploring remote parts of the world.

One of these trips, for instance, began in 1957. He and his first wife Pierrette drove a Jeep from the southern tip of South America to the northern tip of North America, and then back again. The journey took four-and-a-half years and covered over 180,000 kilometers. They visited 21 countries, crossed 140 rivers and swamps, built 14 bridges, and went through 8 sets of tires.

Pierrette became pregnant during the journey. She gave birth to a baby boy in January of 1959 in Bristol, Connecticut.

The couple decided to name their son Ozana, “after the Indian who saved Halik’s life” in Mato Grosso, Brazil. (According to one account, he was saved amidst a skirmish between two feuding tribes.)

Baby Ozana spent his first years in the wilderness with his parents as they continued their journey, which lasted until 1961.

P.S. Mieczyslaw is pronounced myeh-chih-swaf.

Sources:

Baby born to shipwreck survivors, named after ship

A depiction of the wreck of the Netherby (1866).
The wreck of the Netherby

On July 14, 1866, a ship called the Netherby — carrying emigrants from London to Brisbane — ran aground off the coast of King Island, located in the waters between Australia and Tasmania.

All 413 passengers and 49 crew made it to shore alive. Some of the food was saved, and a source of fresh water was located…but hundreds of people were still stranded on a largely uninhabited island in the middle of winter, “with only so much covering as could be provided by the use of sails and spars.”

Two days later, on July 16, a baby girl was born on the beach to passengers William and Ellen Cubbin.

Around the same time, second officer John Parry and a handful of others trekked roughly 35 miles to the Cape Wickham lighthouse. There, they borrowed a whaleboat and, despite rough seas and high winds, managed to reach mainland Australia (about 70 nautical miles away). Parry himself then traveled an extra 26 miles on horseback to Geelong, in order to telegram authorities in Melbourne.

About a week after the wreck, two rescue ships — the Victoria, followed by the Pharos — finally arrived.

All passengers and crew ended up surviving, remarkably.

And the baby’s name?

Netherby Victoria Louisa Cubbin — first name in honor of the the wrecked ship, second name in honor of the first rescue ship, and third name in honor of Louisa Hickmott, “the lighthouse keeper’s wife who gave Mr. Parry gin in a small bottle to sustain him whilst rowing and sailing a bulky whaleboat for help in heavy seas.”

Netherby “Nettie” Cubbin was the fourth of eight children. (Her siblings were named William, Alfred, Elizabeth, John, Walter, Eleanor, and Emily.) She eventually married and welcomed three children of her own — including a daughter to whom she passed down all three of her given names.

Sources:

P.S. The Netherby‘s captain, originally from Wales, was named Owen Owens.

Baby name story: Norvell Shapleigh

Illustration of the Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Co. building in St. Louis, Missouri
Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Co.

Cybill Shepherd‘s maternal grandfather, Norvell Shapleigh “Cy” Shobe, was born in Missouri in 1906. His father was a poultry farmer.

Where did he get those unusual first and middle names? Here’s how Cybill explained it:

My grandfather was named for the hardware store where his father earned the money for the chicken farm.

Indeed, the Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Company operated out of St. Louis from 1901 to 1918. (The company actually existed from the 1840s to the 1960s, but it underwent a number of name-changes over the years.) “Shapleigh” referred to Augustus F. Shapleigh, founder of the company, and “Norvell” to Saunders Norvell, who served as president in the early 1900s.

(In case you’re wondering, Norvell inherited the nickname “Cy” from his father, Cyrus.)

Sources:

Name quotes #113: Oscar, Mackenzie, Bailey

double quotation mark

It’s time for another batch of name quotes!

From a recent Daily Mirror article about schoolteachers Lainey Clarke and Ben Hubbard, who live in Buckinghamshire with their newborn…plus two spirits named Dave and Andy:

Dave even helped them when it came to deciding baby names.

“Every name we liked we’d then remember a naughty school kid we’d taught — it was a nightmare,” laughs Ben.

“We did a spirit box session [one person asks questions and another sits blindfolded with headphones on and relays messages from the spirit world] and the word Apollo was spoken. We listened back after he was born and were stunned to find that Dave had named our baby.”

From a Today.com article published earlier this year about like-named twins who married like-named twins:

Identical twins Briana and Brittany, 35, married identical twins Josh [Joshua] and Jeremy Salyers, 37, and now they’re introducing the world to their babies, who are so genetically similar that the cousins are more like brothers.

[…]

The Salyers are parents to Jett, who turned 1 in January, and Jax, who will turn 1 in April, and the cousins share more than the same first initial. Their unique situation makes them genetic brothers.

(Many U.S twins born in the early 2000s were also given similar names.)

From an article about British politician Penelope “Penny” Mordaunt (b. 1973):

It was a position she was well cut out for, given her strong military background — her father was a parachuter and she was a member of the Royal Navy from 2010 to 2019, making her the only woman MP currently who is a navy reservist. … (Fun fact: Penny was named after the Royal Navy frigate HMS Penelope.)

American actress Amandla Stenberg on the pronunciation of her name [vid], via TikTok:

Most of the time I introduce myself as ah-man-dluh … which, a lot of Westerners, Europeans, they think, “Oh, you’re parents took Amanda and slipped an l in there.”

[…]

No, it’s ah-maan-dluh as in Amandla! Awethu!, which means “power to the people” in Zulu and Xhosa. And this was an understanding that I grew up with that this had significant weight in history, that Amandla! Awethu! was a rallying cry that was utilized during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, that amandla means “power,” and that my mom gave me this name because she wanted me to aspire towards embodying this concept, right? Which I’m so grateful for.

The thing is, she Westernized my name because she didn’t want me to struggle in school. So, she named me ah-man-dluh not ah-maan-dluh because she thought people would be able to say it more easily, and I would have to struggle less. So she kinda like, in this diasporic way, was trying to help me assimilate.

(As we learned in Name quotes #67, though, Amandla wasn’t named for the rallying cry directly. Instead, she was named for the 1989 Miles Davis album Amandla.)

From a recent Morley Kert woodworking video, part of a discussion between Morley and a male client named Mackenzie who he’d just met in-person:

Morley: “So I have something I need to tell you.”

Mackenzie: “Oh?”

Morley: “I fully assumed from your name that you were female.”

Mackenzie: “I think a lot of people do. Technically, technically, 52% of Mackenzies are female now. Which is — we’re losing the battle.”

(I’m curious where Mackenzie found that number, because the balance between male and female babies named Mackenzie hasn’t been close to 50% since the mid-1970s.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Mackenzie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Mackenzie

From a mid-October episode of the Merloni, Fauria & Mego podcast, Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (born in 1999) answering a question about whether or not his mom had a crush on Bailey Salinger from Party of Five when she chose to name him after the character:

Her and my dad I guess were together, so I can’t — I don’t think she’ll publicly say she had a crush on him. … I think she said that she liked that he was the main character, I guess she was pregnant with me at the time, so … I guess that’s how I got the name.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Why didn’t Cloris Leachman change her name?

Actress Cloris Leachman (1926-2021)
Cloris Leachman

While other mid-20th-century actors and actresses were swapping out their birth names for catchy stage names (like Rory Calhoun, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Piper Laurie, Tab Hunter, and Rock Hudson), Cloris Leachman decided to go against the grain and stick with her legal name (which she’d inherited from her mother).

But she did consider changing her name for a time…thanks largely to Tallulah Bankhead.

In 1949, Cloris was in her early 20s and appearing on stage in Come Back, Little Sheba. Bankhead came to see the production, and, afterwards, when the two women met for the first time, Tallulah implored Cloris to change her name.

On a different occasion, Bankhead brought the topic up again:

“Cloris Leachman,” she crowed, “too long. Too many syllables. Too unknown. Clorox Bleachman would be better. You can’t even fit it on the marquee in front of a theater.”

During that second interaction, Cloris came up with the potential stage name “April Claiborne” by combining her birth month with her youngest sister’s first name. (“Claiborne” was their paternal grandmother’s maiden name.)

She still wasn’t sure about making the change, though.

When I went to the Actors Studio the next day, I talked about Madame Bankhead’s rant. They all agreed with her. “You have to change your name! You have to!,” they cried. It was a unanimous opinion. So right there we got out the New York phone book. It opened it up to the Ls, closed my eyes, and the name under my finger was Leavitt. It was miraculous. That translated to “Leave it!” This is no accident, I thought. The god of monikers is talking, and he says leave it. Okay, I’ll leave it.

When I got to Hollywood, the subject came up again. People said I should not only change my name, I should have my nose shortened. I emphatically didn’t want to do either, and that’s why I’m still Cloris Leachman with a big nose.

Cloris Leachman’s name may not have been as trendy-sounding as “Lana Turner” or “Piper Laurie,” but it certainly wasn’t an impediment to her career, which lasted more than seven decades. She appeared in nearly 100 films (like The Last Picture Show), dozens of TV movies (such as A Girl Named Sooner), and well over 100 TV shows (including Johnny Staccato, Rawhide, Outlaws, Shirley Temple’s Storybook, The Loretta Young Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Route 66, Wagon Train, Stoney Burke, 77 Sunset Strip, A Man Called Shenandoah, The Big Valley, Mannix, and The Virginian).

Her first name, a variant spelling of the ancient Greek name Chloris (meaning “greenish-yellow, pale green”), is closely related to the name Chloe (meaning “green shoot”).

What are your thoughts on the name Cloris?

Sources: