Think years ahead before naming your baby

Consulted by prospective parents on naming of their baby girl I handed over my copy of “Baby Names” bought in the distant past when I considered fiction writing, expressed my hope they would give the kid a recognized feminine name not an all-purpose Spencer or some such non-generic version that gives no hint of who you might be about to meet , then recounted my experiences based on years of sharing my name with our first daughter.

We didn’t choose my namesake to worm her into a rich grandparent’s will; no such prospect presented. Our choice was more of a bail payment. The hospital threatened to hold her hostage until we filled in all the blanks on her birth certificate.

Both my husband and I liked the name: all the letters sit above the line; it looks good as a signature; and I’ve always been proud of sharing the diminutive of my Dad’s name – Claude.

Until I was 20, movie star Claudette Colbert was the only namesake I knew of before a six year old moved into town to become best friends with my much younger cousins. Her arrival put my nose so out of joint cartoon witches were less deformed. To further dilute my specialness my cousins bestowed my nickname upon her. I felt doubly dispossessed.

Yet despite liking my name enough to share it with our daughter, she was ten months old before I conquered my self-consciousness and could call her anything but Sweetheart. Even today, five decades later, I still speak to her as Sweetheart, a quirk that swivels hopeful heads when I meet her in Terrace airport’s arrival lounge.

As naive parents, we had no idea of the confusions she and I would face along the years.

Insurances (both life and medical); hospital and doctors’ records; letters to the editor. All are prone to mixups. My letter to the editor of “The Province” critical of a government agency didn’t sit well with her employer until she drew attention to my address.

Optometrists sorted her contact lenses from my bifocals. Our family doctor separated her fractured ankle from my arthritic wrist.

Co-owners of names carry extra responsibilities to protect each other’s reputation. Suppose one passes a bad cheque, deals drugs or otherwise leads a blemished life?

Phone calls presented special befuddlements. We determined her calls from mine by asking, “Did you want to speak to Big Claudette or Little Claudette?” When both our weights zoomed, we revised the question to “Old Claudette or Young Claudette?” As we became touchy to our additional years, we compromised with “Claudette, the mom, or Claudette, the daughter?”

Any time we sent her a cheque, at her suggestion Dad signed. Otherwise, when she presented our cheque to her bank, tellers huddled with the Fraud Squad.

When she graduated from Langara’s journalism school and moved to Castlegar, we thought 1500 km distance would solve our identification dilemma. Not so.

Within weeks of her byline appearing on the pages of the “Castlegar News,” a former Terrace resident – by then living in the Kootenays – phoned her expecting to renew acquaintance with me. The caller’s cheery greeting was met with my daughter’s puzzled silence.

My conclusion is unless a sizeable inheritance hangs in the balance, becoming a Junior or a III isn’t worth the muddle that goes with sharing a parent’s first name. As golfer Jack Nicklaus, son of the Golden Bear, said, “Having the same first name opens some doors, but doesn’t hit any balls for you.”

Just Posted

CMTN unveils renovated House of Cedar

$18.4M upgrade and renovation cited as key to modern trades training

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in Prince Prince, Terrace, etc.

Mobile complaint team coming to B.C.’s northwest

Ombudsperson’s office wants to hear from wronged residents

Bears hyper-focused on feeding

Public urged to remove attractants as bears get ready for hibernation

Spirit North funding annoucement now expected any day

Indigenous Services Canada annouces new timeline for funding annoucement

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

‘Summer from hell’: vandals rob Fort St. James community garden following devastating wildfire season

The community rallied to keep the Health Minds Community Garden open in Fort St. James

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read