names, naming franklin, why pick names
looking At life - - % By Erich Brandeis TN my morning paper appeared -»- the obituary of one Philander Betts 3d, well known engineer and builder of electric railways who died in his sevanty-sbrth year at his home in Belmar, N. J. It xvasn't .so much Mr. Betts' career that interested me, but the name Philander and the "3d" that was part of his name. He was the son of Philander and Sarah Betts, people of good old American stock, and left a son, also named Philander. I don't know why they csined the boys Philander, particularly when there were no poet s, no dreamers, no' romancers in the family, just fine old Anglo-Saxon people, practical, .matter-of-fact people whom you would associate associate more with names like John BRANDEIS and William and Henry. The only Philander which I remember as the possible origin of the name was .the Dutch knight in Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso," which was written in 1516. According to my encyclopedia "the name has come to be synonymous synonymous with masculine coquetry, and from it came the verb to philander." And certainly Philander Betts was no philanderer, but an exemplary exemplary member of his ccaurran- ity, a student and scientist, a former colonel and a member cf many learned and patriotic societies societies and clubs. * * * I have often wondered why my parents named me Erich and why my wife's folkg named her Olga. I-guess my people wanted me to be another Erik the Red, that swashbuckling, fearless conqueror.— thay certainly never thought that With a name like that I would become become a writer and a sedentary sort of a guy. And Olga? You think of .Russian princesses and the Volga Boatman and of luxuries luxuries at the Tear's gilded court in St Petersburg. But my Olga was brought up in the .North Carolina mountains asid the nearest she ever came to the Volga was the little French Broad river that flows its insignificant way through the Blue Ridge mountains. : * * * T HAD a letter the other day -*- from a girl who- works in a little shop in a little Pennsylvania town whocs name is Alyce. What's the matter with Alice? ;' And a niece of mine, fcr no- reason in the world is named Alicia. I guess it's because all parents have dreams for their kids and the names they give them express the hope they have for them. Maybe that's why so may boys are being namsd Franklin these days. If I had_any boys I'd name them Tom or Jim or Joe—or at least Thomas and Jaraes or Joseph. Somehow, a simple name like that seems to aak2 it easier to fight your way up. It takes t, lot of courage to live up to a. name like Philander or V/infred or Lionel. And how about the poorj homely, homely, plain girl that has been christened Patricia or Dolores or Gwendolyn or Galdyse? Somehow I can't quite imagine a Cholmondely Washington as the father of our country or a Reginald Reginald Lincoln at Gettysburg. No man has ever become great because of- his name and every name that is great was made so by the man who bore it.