By Elodia Tate
You Are Naming Your Baby....What?
My name is E-l-o-d-i-a. I wouldn’t make that up. My mother did, but I wouldn’t. People often ask me if I got teased, when I was a child, because of my name. I tell them “Nope”. Children didn’t have a problem with my name. It’s the adults that seem to have a problem.”
Looking back, I have two theories why I wasn’t teased for my name. One is that children tease the obvious and they had plenty of material to work with, due to my nose. Two, they love to rhyme and there are not too many words that rhyme with the name Elodia (E-low-dee-a). Think about it. So far, I can only come up with one……..Cambodia. Trust me, after all the nose jokes “Elodia from Cambodia.” couldn’t’ have hurt my feelings one bit.
I can remember clearly, telling the teacher my name, on the first day of school, when I was five years old. She was not as prepared for the first day of kindergarten, as was I. She should have worn gingham and black patent leather shoes. They helped. She bent down and looked me in the eye and asked “What is your name?” I said “Elodia.” She then had this look of sheer horror on her face and she actually jumped backwards. I might as well have said Lucifer. Now that I think back, I guess I can understand her position. Here she was looking at this cute Caucasian, blonde, freckled face, pigtailed little girl (and I was cute) and then hearing this strange and “ethnic” sounding name escape from my lips. This wasn’t in the teacher’s manual. I could tell.
She became extremely nervous and said “Well. We’ll just have to think of something more appropriate to call you.” Now, can someone tell me what could be more appropriate to call me than my name?
She pleaded “You must have a nick-name. Don’t you?” I shook my head “No.” I wasn’t about to tell her my family called me “Baby Ann”. Next, I’d be telling her that I sleep with two of my sisters and I still wet the bed. No, she’ll just have to learn to deal with the cold hard facts. Hey, I thought I was the one coming to school to learn?
That was the first of many name adventures to come.
My name is Spanish. It sounds more like “E-lo-thee-a” with the accent. Try to imagine Antonio Banderas and how he would sound pronouncing my name. I do it all the time. Not that he would be, but I can dream. I asked my mother where she got my name and she says she named me after a friend. Not just any friend, but her best-friend. However, I am over forty years old and I have yet to meet this friend. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t write. I have my suspicions.
Maybe she gave me a difficult name due to having had a hard time bringing me into this world. Call me crazy but I asked her and she said I almost killed her.
I asked about two of my sisters and did she have a hard time birthing them. She said one labor was only an hour and the other she didn’t even feel a cramp. She just pushed once and the other babies came out. Their names are Julie and Cathy. You decide.
My name is a great conversation starter. Here are some of the things people tell me after an introduction and what I am really thinking when I reply to them, politely, with a smile and a nod. Not too big a smile because I would hate for them to see me gritting my teeth.
“That is such an interesting name. Where did you get it?”
Thinking: “Um, Ebay?”
“Is it a family name?”
Thinking: “No, the people in my family…they have other names.”
“Your name is so pretty. It sounds so, so melodious.”
Thinking: “Take the “M” off melodious, you idiot, and you’ll find out why Elodia sounds so melodious.”
Then there are the funny people who say real slow and with a wave, “Hellllo- to- ya”, and that’s always cute. (Serious eye rolling going on here.)
It might sound like I am complaining but I honestly LOVE my name. I can’t imagine having had another one. Not that I’ve never been called anything else. I’m sure that’s happened. Once.
I wouldn’t trade my name, even if I could find personalized souvenirs while on vacation.
Because of my name I think I stand out in a crowd and I am remembered. Oh, never mind that’s my nose again, standing out in the crowd, but it does help me to be remembered. I think they remember me as the lady that they can’t remember how to say her name.
My name has given me a voice, as I have learned to tell the stories about my name over and over and over again. And best of all, it has taught me a sense of humor.
I now have eight daughters of my own and I have named them all Elodia. No wait. I didn’t do that. George Foreman did that. No, he didn’t name his daughters Elodia. He had lots of little George Foreman’s but he added the name “Grill” on the end. I see them everywhere.
No, I did the intelligent thing when I named my children. I gave them all names that start with the letter “D”. You should hear how smart I sound when I try calling one of them. I sound like a broken CD player “Da,da,da,da,da,da…….you whatever your name is. It starts with a “D”. Get over here!”
To confuse me further, my mother and my sister’s son, lived with us for a short time. Their names are Dora and Danny. We just referred to them as “Da-motha” and “Da-nephew”.
My point is…no matter what you name your child, they may or may not wind up liking their name, but they are still going to wish you had given them a nose job at thirteen.
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