Ma Beck has a post today about baby names. This is fairly topical for me at the moment, for two reasons - one person at the end of his life and another at the beginning.
My grandmother was one of eleven children, of whom nine survived to adulthood. The two daughters and five of the sons married and had children, and the other two sons became priests. Their mother was French, and following the French tradition, all of the children - boys and girls - were given the name Mary as a middle name, in honour of Our Lady.
The story goes that when my Great-Uncle Laurence was born, my great-grandfather went to register his birth. The registrar (English, and obviously not a Catholic) argued that it was not possible for a boy to be called Mary. Either the child was a boy, and was called Laurence, or was a girl, and was called Mary. After a long and futile argument, my great-grandfather finally gave in - which is why Great-Uncle Laurence's birth certificate names him as Florence Mary!
The last of the eleven brothers and sisters - my grandmother's youngest brother, Christopher Mary - died this Tuesday, aged 93. He had a long and interesting life, including service as a Chindit during the Second World War and over 50 years as a member of the Catenians.
Meanwhile, my brother and sister-in-law have just found out that their second child, due in July, is going to be a boy. Unfortunately, they can't agree on a boy's name for him - they had previously been convinced this one would be a girl, so unless they make their minds up on another name in the next couple of months, their second son could end up being called Rebecca!
They've asked me to help them out with suggestions, and I've given them a few. I also reminded them of the very sound advice that Bill Cosby gave in his book on Fatherhood - if you think you like an unusual-sounding name, stand at the back door and shout it a few times to see what it sounds like, because that's how you'll be hearing it for the next umpteen years.
I know any other ideas would be gratefully received...