Friday, April 16, 2010

Most popular names over 40 years: a personal tale

Last night, as on every Thursday evening, my girls' soccer team, the Blue Fire, participated in a tune-up for Saturday's game. I listened to myself barking out each girl's name at one time or another:

"Lily, don't hold onto the ball for so long."
"Good hustle, Camas."
"Emma, pass the ball."
"Ginsy, you need to get back on defense."
"Claire, nice save."

I noticed how some of the kids have classic, Anglo-Saxon names, while others seem a bit newfangled. This, in turn, caused some curiosity about which names have been superseded and which have remained steady from the year I was born, 1962, to the year most of my soccer team came into being, 2000. And just as a little exercise in self-amusement, I wondered if I have known someone with each name, and if so, what was our relationship. So here goes.

Most popular girls' names for the year 2000:
1) Emily—My 14-year-old daughter alone has about four friends named Emily. I identify them in sort of a Native American-inspired way (i.e. Emily Red Hair).
2) Hannah— another kid on my soccer team, and also the last name of one of the creators of the Flintstones and Jetsons. No wonder it's popular with parents my age.
3) Madison—I love this name. It's cute and versatile. These kids can go by Maddie, Addie. Sonny, Mad, Ad, Diso or M'son. I also know a couple of them.
4) Ashley—I've known a few of these, but I tend to get them confused with Brittanys, Hayleys and Kayleighhghs.
5) Sarah—a biblical stalwart of a name. This one's not going away. It could be your newborn, your aunt or your great-great-great grandmother who came from Germany in a covered wagon.

And now, the most popular girls' names for my birth year, 1962:
1) Mary—I had a crush on a Mary during my junior high days. We all know the most famous Mary of all time (JC's mom), but what was her last name? Probably something like Jordan or Redwine.
2) Susan—I also had a crush on a Susan. Actually, it was a Sue. And my wife's best friend is a Susan. Actually, Susie. Come on, you guys, your parents named you Susan, so be Susan..starting today.
3) Karen—I also had crush on a Karen. Karen, if you're reading this, when we went camping with our church youth group, I wasn't thinking very Lutheran thoughts.
4) Maria—I also had a crush on a Maria. I was four so I punched her in the arm.
5) Lisa—I also had a crush on a Lisa. She was in band. I was in band. We were so hot together.

Other popular girls' names I can remember from my youth are Theresa, Stacy, Cheryl, Kathy, Janet, Lori and Michelle.

I also had crushes on them.

1 comment :

  1. I was obsessed with the name Susan. I begged my parents to change my name. Calculated the minutes until I was sixteen and could change it myself. Eventually I became willing to consider Lisa or Michelle. Weirdly enough, my imaginary friend was Nancy, and I begged to change her name, too. Sadly, I'm still stuck being the only Jame (rhymes with ramie) and I don't know how it turned out for Nancy (we lost touch).