Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Calling all Lindas!

The other day I was at the checkout at Ross (quelle surprise) and noticed the cashier's name tag.

"Linda.  Great name!" I said, being the idiot that I am.  She gave me a sheepish look and said something like, "Yeah, there's no hiding our age, huh?"

No, there isn't.   I'm gonna guess that about 99% of women named Linda were born between 1943 and 1963, probably because of the song "Linda" that came out in 1946. According to this website, the song was written by Jack Lawrence for the 5-year-old daughter of his lawyer, Lee Eastman. Linda Eastman grew up to marry Paul McCartney, who wrote another song, "The Lovely Linda," for her.  Imagine having two songs written and recorded for you?

Linda was an extremely popular name in 1957; I was one of four Lindas in my class in elementary school.  There was Linda Smitas, Linda Smith, Linda Goldstein, and me (Linda Haber).  I always loved being a Linda; seriously, I felt I hit the jackpot when it came to getting a cool name. 

For as loony as my parents were--my Type A father having a friggin' heart attack any time someone spilled the gravy at dinner and my Jeopardy-addicted agoraphobic mother--they sure pulled through when it came to naming me.   It was a close call, though. When I was little, my mother told me I was almost named Deirdre, and I remember thinking, "What the hell kind of name is that?"

These days, as the cashier in Ross reminded me, the name is pretty dated.  I've come across only one Linda below the age of 30--a gothic-looking cashier in Pier I Imports who was named after Linda Ronstadt and who clearly didn't share my enthusiasm for her parents' taste. My own daughter, in her teen years, used to practically howl over my name because she thought it sounded so old fashioned, just as I giggled at my paternal grandmother's name:  Mabel.

"See me in a couple of decades, Courtney," I'd tell my little clone, because Courtney is just the Linda of a later era.   

I know a Linda who goes by "Lindy" at the advice of someone who told her a younger-sounding name would give her a professional advantage. Whatever.  Dated or not, I love being a Linda.  I've always felt like a Linda and I think I even look like a Linda. And who knows?  Maybe someday my granddaughter will name her baby after her granny, and Linda will become hip again. 

You know, like Hazel.

How about you?  Do you like your name?  Does it fit you? Did you ever wish you were named something else?  

P.S.  I don't have a middle name; none of the girls in my family do.  "Linda Lou" is a nickname my friend Chief gave me at a beer party when I was in my 20s.  When I started doing comedy, I didn't want to perform under my real last name because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep B.H's name or not after our divorce.  So I decided to perform as Linda Lou, and then used that as a pen name when I starting writing. 

Between us, "Linda Lou" sounds like I'm a goddamn hillbilly, instead of a multi-generation Yankee, but at this point there's no turning back.  But looking forward... who knows.

15 comments:

Jamie said...

I like Linda. In my mind, I think of natural beauty, strawberry blonde...ageless. Hmmm..I wonder why? I don't think I ever knew a Linda like that.

My name? Jamie. In 1960 that was really unusual....unless you were a male. I am positive my parents thought I was a boy, and were naming me after my dad. So -- when I popped out, they went ahead with their plans. But I know my mom wanted boys, my older sis's name is TRAVIS...what does that tell you?

Happy Tuesday. :)

MissKris said...

Debbie and Susan were also popular. In my tiny class in my small hometown, out of about 25 kids we had 3 Susans and to differentiate between them one was called Susan, one Susie, and one Sue, ha! I'm a "Kristine with a K" I always have to say, very quickly, before any one starts writing down my name. I was named after a Swedish great-grandma. I think there are a lot of Krista's, Krissy's, Kristal's, etc., but it isn't often I come across another Kristine-with-a-K even to this day.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the #2 Billboard song "Donna" written by Ritchie Valens in 1958 (the same year I was born) had anything to do with my being named "Donna"? Dated name, but I like it! I was almost a "Danielle."

Mellodee said...

I don't know if I particularly like or dislike being named Linda, it's a pretty innocuous name. However, my YANKEE mother and father gave their little darling a
"goddamn hillbilly" middle name! Yes, I am "Linda Lou." For real! I was born in Chicago, for heaven's sake! For years (and I mean like 40!!) I refused to tell anyone my middle name I hated it so much. I have finally gotten used to it (at age 65!), but I still feel like I should be walking around barefoot in a calico dress while somebody is pickin' that song from "Deliverance" on a banjo. Gee thanks, mom and dad! :)

elbee309 said...

I know we had this discussion when we met last March. I always thought my name was too blunt "Linda Schmidt" as both my sisters had more melodic names (along with nicknames) but liked it better after I married. But, since I am a little older than most other Linda's, I just go along with everyone thinking my mother was one of the crowd, assuming I'm a few years younger than I actually am. Just a note, my sister is Kristine with a "K". I named my daughter "Dawn" thinking it was real original only to find when she started kindergarten, there were 4 others in her class.

Liz said...

I'm named after my Grandmothers. Elizabeth is my materal grandma and Margaret is my paternal grandma. That's quite a handle isn't it? I'm proud to have been named after them. I've never wanted to be named anything else.

I like all the nicknames I can be called! But, I've gone by Liz my entire life (Elizabeth seems too formal). I do get called Lizzie quite often. Man, I HATED that as a kid. I love it now!

I was born in the late 60s and Elizabeth was NOT a popular name when I grew up. In high school and college I only know one other (and she went by Libby). I kind of liked that. It's a name that's becoming much more popular again though.

Julie said...

My sister Linda Kay was born in 1950, and I remember my Mom saying once that there were like 10 Linda Kay's on the block at one point.

Mike Dennis said...

Well, they call my baby Patty
But her real name her real name her real name
Is Linda Lou

Debbie said...

This is really weird but I never felt like a Debbie. I have no middle name ... actually I do, my mother gave me her maiden name so my middle name is Salcido (ugh) ... My dad named me Deborah, after actresses Debra Pagett and Deborah Kerr. My mom wanted to name me Vivian but my dad thought that was a "whore's name" ... okay daddy, who was the whore named vivian in your life????
Because you're Linda "Lou" I had a suspicion that your ex must have been Chinese. LOL!

SMOOCHES!
Deb

Camille S. said...

I got my name from my mother. When she was born her name was Camilla Ann. After she was adopted, her name was changed to Tracy Elaine. I'm her first born, so she gave me her original name. It's very special to me and I wouldn't change it for the world. I've actually just met another Camille, and boy was that weird. I'm not used to knowing or hearing my name unless someone is talking to me! Camille was not a good kids name though...I had to grow into it... When I was a kid everyone had the name "Stacey". Glad I have such an original sounding name. It suits me perfectly!

Dangerous Linda said...

i LOVE my name! i love it when guys say, "ah, linda, that means b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, did you know that?"

"why, yes, i did..." ;-)

Cheryllyn said...

I love my name! Cathy/Kathy was very popular when I was growing up and my name was very distinct. I loved standing out. What I didn't love? The butchering and shortening. I never liked Cheryl. :)

Gina said...

When I was young I didn't like being the only Gina--it made me feel like the odd man out instead of special. Now I'm fine with my name--though, hello could I be more Italian? Gina DiSarro? No hiding my heritage (well, my dad's anyway--my mom is a WASPy mutt). Plus, my name means queen (ironically, in college one of my many nicknames was G-queen) and I'm ok with that. ;)

Jamie in PA said...

I was named after my Dad...James...so I am a Jamie. Middle name is also my Mom's...Lee. Always assigned to the boys gym/lockeroom every school year.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Wow, lots of comments!

My son would have been a Jamie had he been a girl. But nope, he's Christopher. Not after his dad, either--I just loved the name.

TRAVIS for a girl??? That's a new one for me!

I'm glad to hear so many of you like your names. It would suck if you didn't huh?

Camille, in the words of Neil Young, "You are like a hurricane." Hurricane Camille was a monster!

Mellodee, I'd better watch it--I don't want to insult any Linda Lou's out there. But I'm glad you agree. "De-de-DING-DING-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!"

Cherilyn is MUCH cooler sounding than Cheryl. I'm with you on that.

Thanks to all for weighing in!