Friday, June 1, 2018

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet. . . Or Would It?

My dad's sisters, for the most part, are not known for possessing exceptionally high levels of intelligence or for using especially good judgment. They seem to have passed these traits on to their own offspring. This is often evident in the naming of their children.

My cousin Lyman, who is the fourth son and sixth child of Aunt Marthalene and her sticky-fingered husband Mahonri, recently announced the birth of his fourth child and first son.  He named the baby Sebastopol. For those of you who do not know, Sebastopol is the name of a tiny town near the the Russian River in northern California. My mom tells me that I've been there, though I have no memory whatsoever of the trip.  I do remember passing through both Guerneville and Jenner (thank goodness Lyman didn't name the kid Jenner), but I'm drawing a complete blank when it comes to Sebastopol. My dad said the family ate really tasty pizza there on a trip through the wine country. The trip happened when I was four, and pizza had not yet made it onto my list of acceptable foods. According to my dad, I had croutons for dinner that night.

The story I heard from my cousin Gina (the iconoclast who tainted the family's otherwise pure bloodline by marrying and coupling with a guy who is half Japanese) is that Lyman and Patience wanted to name the kid Sebastian, but Lyman's wife Patience's twin sister Harmony gave birth two days prior to Sebastopol's birth and named her baby Sebastian.  In Patience's family, it's considered verboten to use first names or middle names by which one is called (Mormons are fond of calling kids by their middle names, often with a first initial preceding the name) that siblings have previously used for their children. If I were Patience, I would have ignored the rule and named the kid Sebastian anyway.  Patience had told relatives during  all four of her pregnancies that her first son was to be named Sebastian. Harmony had four sons prior to Sebastian's birth. Had Harmony truly liked the name Sebastian so freaking much, she presumably would have given the name Sebastian to one of the first four.  The word on the street is that Harmony was just being her usual contentious self in stealing her sister's choice of names.  

Aunt Marthalene, Sebastopol's grandmother,  has been quite vocal in her disapproval of her son's choice of a name for his first son. Neither Lyman nor his Patience have been to California, much less to Sebastopol.  Marthalene sees no problem in saddling children with oddball names culled from The Book of Mormon (Moriancumr), from LDS history and family given names or surnames of her husband's ancestors, some of which qualify on both counts (Lyman, Reed, Boyd, Bradford, Porter, Joseph, Kinnard, Amasa, Kimball, Orson, Hyrum, and Parley), variations of her own name (Marthalette), and a rather outlandish combination of her own and her husband's first names (Rilene).  She has grandsons named Abinadi, Helaman, Ether, Mathoni, and Zeniff, to name just a few. (Marthalene has thirteen sons and two daughters, seven of whom have already begun the reproduction process themselves.)

My mom thinks it's a simple case of the couple attempting to give their child a unique name, though their original choice of Sebastian, while not one the Top Twenty list at any time in the past century as far as I know, is at least not a made-up name. If being unique truly was their aim, they succeeded. My dad thinks my cousin Lyman carries latent anger at having gone through childhood with the name of Lyman.  (My mom says their used to be a commercial for Sprite featuring a mythical fruit called a limon [pronounced like Lyman) that was half lemon and half lime.) Regardless, I'd probably prefer to be stuck with Sebastopol as a name over more than half of the names Marthalene and Mahonri glued on their own kids. i'm not quite sure why Marthalene thinks she has any grounds at all for moaning about it. Hell, I'd rather be named Blitzen Manx or Antarctica Meringue (the names of my Aunt Cristelle's first two children) than any of the names Marthalene used for her children. 


  1. You have a most colorful family.

  2. My aunt Marthalene is, all by herself, like an array of barfed-up Skittles.

  3. THAT was very entertaining!

    1. My family on my dad's side is usually good for a bit of entertainment if nothing else. Thanks, Jono.

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