PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, April 19, 2013

 

How my siblings and I got our names


Like some Filipino parents, my parents devised this weird idea of naming us their children after the first letters of their respective names. The boys started with R after my father Romeo and the girls started with M after my mother Mildred. This is the reason why we are called Resty, Ricky, Miriam, Ronnie, Rommel, Robert, and May today. Then again, maybe it was meant to be, for some mysterious reason because there were several attempts at violating this family rule, but the rule was restored each time.

This offbeat arrangement has some sort of a precedent in my father’s side of the family. His eldest brother Anastacio, together with his wife Emilia, named their seven children after the first seven letters of the alphabet. Maybe they did it for better recall at senile age, or maybe not, but that’s how they got naming their brood Amy, Beto, Celia, Delia, Elsa, Flor, and Gigi/Geraldine. As expected, this bit of family lore has entertained everyone who has ever heard it.

My mother said I was named Resty after my cousin Aristotle, who is the son of her elder sister. Since naming one’s child is of much import, I figure she held my cousin in high regard for some reason (though I am too shy to ask), or else why would she choose such a name? I never really liked my name because it sounded either like “rusty” or as though I was always resting. I would have preferred Jake or something, but I’ve learned to embrace it.

Similarly, my brother Ricky was named after Ricardo, my cousin who came after Aristotle. I have the same speculation as above, except with this addition: I wonder if my mother and her sister had some kind of a pact.

As for my sister, I am not sure where they got her name Miriam, except that it is Biblical in origin (Aaron’s and Moses’ complaining sister).

My next brother Ronnie was originally named Geronimo allegedly due to the intervention of my paternal grandmother (my father’s mother) who lived with us and ruled the house like a queen. Despite being sickly with tuberculosis and thus had special health and food needs, she got what she wanted, always voiced out her preferences, which were largely followed. When Ronnie was born and was immediately given up for adoption by my father’s youngest brother (my uncle) Felipe and his wife Arsenia, who were childless, it was allegedly my grandmother’s idea too. Out of superstitious fear about fourth children (they did the same thing with my cousin Delia, the fourth child of Anastacio and Emilia), Geronimo became an adopted child, while my grandmother got away with the violation of naming the baby Geronimo. Maybe Geronimo was the name of a childhood crush – who knows? But the R rule prevailed in the long run because the boy was named Ronnie for short in everyday life and up to this day.

My brother Rommel is like the love child of our parents. Based on nomenclature at least, he’s the runaway favorite because Rommel is a combination of my father’s and mother’s names: Rom-y + Mil-dred = Romm(e)l. Rommel was conceived at a time of  material prosperity in the family, when my father found a job in Saudi Arabia and earned big money. As a baby, Rommel was also the most beautiful child we have ever seen, so it was very easy to love him.

My brother Robert’s name has the most interesting history. Luckily, I was there are the time of naming, being old enough to be consulted for my opinion. The other 'consultants' present in the deliberations were, of course, my mother, plus my grandmother, and a visiting aunt, Ronnie’s adoptive mother Arsenia. While my mother was clueless, my grandmother was sure and insistent. No other name sounded more beautiful to her ears than Macario. I was so incredulous at what I was hearing that I couldn’t contain myself. I revolted against the old-fashioned name, so I consulted our calendar then which contained the names of the saints for the day for other ideas. However, listed under Robert’s birth date was a name I found equally unappetizing: Policarpio. As to my aunt’s suggestion, I can no longer remember it, but I am sure I dismissed it right away because it must have sounded equally awful, because it sounded like Porferio or Emerenciano. I remember her echoing my grandmother in upbraiding our own choices: “Oh, you have no idea what a nice name for a boy should be!”

The impasse ended when my father, returning home from abroad, had the last say. It was to be Ibrahim. As it turned out, he happened to have a close Pakistani friend with that name back in his work quarters in Jeddah. So that is that, despite it being a violation of his own rule. But, as expected, no one ever called the boy Ibrahim. Ever. He was only called that by peers in school but only in jest. Because he had a ready nickname of Boying, everyone called him Boying instead, which is after the name of one of his godfathers whom my mother carefully chose for the christening. The nickname, needless to say, was another open violation.

Too bad Boying was a sickly baby. He often ran high fevers and cried aloud well into the night, so in panic, my superstitious folks, perhaps listening to some neighbors’ advice, decided to have an emergency renaming. Ibrahim a.k.a. Boying had to go, so he was renamed Robert. The R rule for boys had to be restored for some reason. I’m not sure where they got the name (from Robert Redford?), however, but that’s how we call the guy up to this day.

When my second sister was born, her name was somewhat another violation: Salome, another biblical character, though unfortunately one of ill repute, and the family must have been ignorant of that. But someone (I am not sure who) gave this bright idea of adding Maria before Salome, so she became Maria Salome. But all of us in the family preferred to call her May or Mayong. The rule for M for girls was neatly restored.

I had another brother, who was named Johani, but he was born with hydrocephalus, and he died soon after seeing this world. He didn’t even survive long enough for me to see the poor thing in person, because I was away in Baguio City for college. I haven’t inquired yet into why he had that name. Maybe the rule is not meant to be violated, ever.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004   02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004   03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004   04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004   05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004   06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004   07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004   09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004   10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004   11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004   12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005   01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005   02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005   03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005   04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005   05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005   06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005   07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005   08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005   09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005   10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005   11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005   12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006   02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006   03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006   04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006   05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006   06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006   07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006   08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006   09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006   11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006   12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007   01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007   02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007   03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007   04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007   05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007   06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007   07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007   08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007   09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007   10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007   11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007   12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008   01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008   02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008   03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008   04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008   05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008   06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008   07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008   08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008   09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008   10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008   11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008   12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009   01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009   04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009   05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009   06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009   07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009   08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009   09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009   10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009   11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009   01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010   02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010   03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010   04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010   05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010   06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010   07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010   08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010   09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010   11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010   01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011   02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011   03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011   04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011   05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011   06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011   07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011   08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011   09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011   10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011   11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011   12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012   02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012   03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012   04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012   05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012   06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012   07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012   08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012   09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012   10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012   11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012   12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013   01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013   02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013   03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013   04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013   05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013   06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013   07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013   08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013   09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013   10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013   11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013   12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014   01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014   02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014   03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014   04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014   05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014   06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014   07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014   10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014   11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014   01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015   03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015   04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015   05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016   07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016   08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]