What's in a name?-- 03/14/04

This week's Sunday Brunch:

1. Do you like your name?
Yes. Oh, there were a couple of periods when I was a kid that it annoyed me, but I think just about all kids go through that kind of thing; it's just that everyone assumes that they are unique in that discomfort.

2. Are you named after anyone?
I'm named after my grandfathers -- thus, first name is James and middle name is Abram.

3. Do you have a nickname? If yes, what is it?
I'm usually called Jim -- in fact, that's even what I have on my business card -- and when somebody addresses me as James I find it disconcerting, as if I were back in elementary school. I was called Jim by my family at home (my Dad would sometimes call me Jimmy Abe -- that was like a special private name just between us) but grade school teachers called me James (no nicknames for them) and when I went to junior high school I made a point of telling everyone my name was Jim and putting Jim on all of my homework and test papers --I suppose I could have done that in grade school, but the pattern seemed to me to be too difficult to overcome until the opportunity provided by a new school.

4. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I wouldn't change it. I didn't even change it when I got married. *grin* That's a family joke -- Nancy never changed her name when we got married. And, in fact, my son's wife didn't change hers either.

5. What is the most interesting name of your friends or someone you know?
The morning news program on a Providence television station has a first birthday feature -- every morning they read a list of children who are celebrating their first birthday that day. Nancy and I find it fascinating -- the traditional names, the current super popular names, and the strange new invented names.

We had a good time at my mother-in-law's birthday party last night. It was not a huge gathering (a few years ago for her 70th we rented a reception room at an area restaurant for a surprise party and with all ten of her children there plus their spouses and significant-others and the grandchildren, etc., that was a really large crowd) -- but last night we still needed two big tables to seat everyone. As we were standing around in the kitchen with pre-dinner drinks and munchies, my mother-in-law Jane and my sister-in-law Cathy were tossing a cracker back and forth -- on about the 4th or 5th exchange, Cathy fumbled her catch and the cracker briefly hit the floor but she regained it and tossed it back to her mother -- brother-in-law Tom yelled out that according to the five second rule it was still edible -- Now you have to understand that my Jane is notorious for being a cleanliness fanatic and a constant worrier about the dangers of food poisoning, etc. -- She gave Tom a defiant look and popped the cracker into her mouth. This brought cries of "I can't believe it!" and bursts of amazed laughter from everyone at her action and the stunned look on Tom's face. Jane began laughing so hard that she had to turn away and walk into the dinning room which led somebody to claim that she was going to call 911 for an ambulance.

Jill and her friend Joe were snowboarding in Vermont (his grandparents have a condo there) but we were expecting her to be home sometime Saturday afternoon. She phoned last night -- and for a moment we thought she was trying to play another joke on us as she had a year ago when she had claimed to be stranded in Canada, but this time she was not tricking us -- Joe had taken a very bad fall and had to be rushed to a hospital emergency room. He has a concussion and also a fracture in the bone at the base of his spine (which, apparently is not that serious but also is not something easily repaired). He was released from the hospital but he was in a lot of pain and they are staying over with his grandparents until Monday.

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