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What’s in a name?

Posted on April 14, 2016 | Comments

Rosebud. That is the closest my grandmother ever came to swearing. Even though she had a prize-winning rose garden, I don’t think that had anything to do with her choice of words. It was the same for little Ritchie on the Dick Van Dyke Show. When he asked his mom and dad what the “R” stood for in his middle name, the answer was ROSEBUD—an acronym for his seven middle names because they couldn’t decide on just one or two.

My middle name has always struck me as being a bit plain. It’s Ann. Over the years I have met quite a few Cheryl Ann’s and many have shared how people associate the name with a  television show called Waterfront that was first on the air in 1954 for a couple of years. John Herrick was the captain of a tug named “Cheryl Ann” in the Los Angeles Harbor. The stories revolved around the family and various criminals they encountered. Other than that “claim to fame” I rarely use my full name other than when required. My legal signature only uses the middle initial.

So what’s in a middle name? I’m sure this will come as no surprise that a quick internet search offered plenty of information about how to pick a good middle name and why. According to Amanda Elizabeth Barden, author of Baby Names Made Easy, full names are important because they appear on documents such as graduation certificates and people tend to use them or a middle initial when they enter their professional lives. Looks like I didn’t get that memo because my college diploma only has my middle initial and professionally I’ve gone without it until now.

Upon deciding to set up a website domain using my name, I had to use my middle initial if I wanted the infamous dot com extension. Not overly thrilled, I started pondering what else that middle initial could stand for that would excite me. Who wrote the rule that it could only relate to the middle name I was given? The writer in me began to have a heyday as I thought about A for awesome, amazing or amusing. Quickly I also realized “A” can stand for my favorite writing tools—acronyms, alliterations, anecdotes and analogies. Suddenly my middle initial took on a life of its own.

What about you? What is the story beyond your middle name? With more contemplation, something else came to me. I might very well have been named after my “rosebud” grandmother. Her name was Anna. That made me smile!

Originally published: Cheryl’s Corner, The Orange County Register, April 14, 2016

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  1. Strangely I don’t have a middle name. I’m just Steven Simon, but that’s an alliteration, too, so I’m cool with that. Maybe I’ll pick one myself one day.

    • It will be fun to see what speaks to you if it ever does! Thanks for checking out the new blog…and website I presume.

  2. Steve is not alone. I don’t have a middle name either; the thought was that I could use my maiden name for a middle name. That’s not going to happen any time soon although legally, you will see an “L” when it is required. I think my first name says all I need it to say about me. People associate robins with all sorts of good things – spring, early risers, pretty birds, and Batman! 🙂 So like the brightness of spring, I will just light up my world with a first name and me! 🙂

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