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Aptly Named?
by Teresa E. Garman

Is anything more exciting than your best friend calling at the ungodly hour of 8:53 a.m. on some odd Wednesday to tell you that you are going to be an aunt? Despite the early hour, I found myself grinning from ear to ear. A bundle of joy—but what will we call her? Ahhh. Therein lay our dilemma.

Only two days later my pregnant friend and I found ourselves knee-deep in recycled maternity clothes donated by girls in our inner-circle. We tried to imagine how her flat stomach would ever fill those hideous panel pants. Suddenly, she came across a book hidden by endless yards of fabric. In her hands she lovingly cradled the battered and torn book. The inside cover was innocently dedicated with a smiley face by a child wielding a sky blue crayon. Make no mistake, my friend, this was no ordinary book; this was the Book of Names.

Immediately, we settled into the love seat. The living room, strewn with strange floral printed smocks only Omar could appreciate, faded away. We rolled up our sleeves and took notes.

Upon completing the first half of the book, we reviewed The List. A mere six names had been marked with the Mom-to-Be stamp of approval. This was not good news.

Now, this scene could very well be taken from anywhere in the continental United States, but to make my points valid, I will divulge our location. We are both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, natives. Gasp! That’s right, Yankees, born and bred.

This does not mean that we agree with, nor wish to participate in, the latest trends of baby naming in the North.

Our Book of Names was penned by a New Yorker and cited usage of the New England Census Bureau and the Social Security Administration of northern cities. Simple logic provided the answer: Geography. Mere location was keeping us from that elusive dream name, the very name that could very well be printed on the Presidential Ballot, a marquee on Broadway, or inscribed on the Nobel Peace Prize. What we needed was a name steeped in tradition and history. A name that would separate this little angel from her peers. A name that would send a shiver of pride down the spines of her parents when read aloud at her University of Pennsylvania Commencement in the year 2027.

But where could we find such a name?

We began our search like all Generation Xers—on the Internet, of course. We Googled and Lycosed till our fingers hurt. We discovered tales of Southern gentlemen trying to trick their epidural-induced wives to name their firstborns after southern crops—like okra. We skipped past the Sweetpeas and Okras and waded through the triple family name monikers. Stopping us in our tracks was an article listing Southern movies and character names—names that rolled off the tongue of our favorite heroines in Steel Magnolias, Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Home is Where the Heart Is and Fried Green Tomatoes. We loved the characters and the stars that played them: Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and Mary Louise Parker.

We had found our answer.

One day in a schoolyard in Philadelphia, twenty Ashleys may turn around upon hearing their name. I fear not that little Beylar Joyce will suffer the same fate. I am sure she will be one of a kind, not unlike her name.

She will be sweet as honey and steeped in tradition, as her middle name will be taken from her late grandmother who passed away before the world stopped spinning long enough to let little Beylar jump on.


About Teresa E. Garman
Teresa is a Philadephia native. A student at Temple University, she and her husband have one beautiful daughter.


Looking for more unusual Southern names? CLICK HERE

Here's a list of grandparent names and nicknames

Another list, Southern Style: Double Names

And here are more articles at USADEEPSOUTH about Southern names and pregnancies:
This Name's For You
Pregnancy Books
Baby Room Racket
The Name Game--Southern Style
Baby Showers and Sneaky Women

Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.


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