Story Weekend: What's in a Name? did you get your name? How did you choose your kids’ names? Your pet’s? What’s the story behind the names in your life?

Names are on my mind, since I have a new cast of characters to christen. I often pick a name, then audition it by writing a few scenes using it to see how it feels. I sometimes have to run through two or three names for my most important characters. Hopefully you didn’t have to do that with your kids!

So what’s your ‘name’ story?

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.



  1. Allison on March 15, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    When my husband and I saw “our rescue dog” on PetFinder (in Wilmington, NC), we planned to name him Finn for Odafin Tutuola (Law & Order: SVU). But when we first met him, he was very proper and had his paws crossed. Being a rescue who had a rough past (presumably on the streets), we named him Oliver, as in Oliver Twist.(Our second rescue we named Penny, but we can’t agree on whether it was because I love JC Penney, the brown patch over her eye, or because we were watching the Big Bang Theory….)

    P.S. Oliver still crosses his paws!

  2. Kristen Wruck on March 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    My parents were had the name Kirsten picked out for me. On the day I was born I was very sick and they didn’t think I was going to make it. But my parents had to name me before I was transferred to to another hospital in case I died on the way. My mom had mixed up the name Kirsten with Kristen. So Kristen became my name!

  3. Kimberly Champion Allen on March 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I was born in the 60’s and named after the actress Kim Novak. I don’t know that my mom was a big fan of hers, but she liked the name. At the time, they thought I was twins, so one of us was to be Kimberly and the other Stephanie. In the end, it was just me and my parents decided on Kimberly, with Lonsdale as my middle name (my great grandmother’s last name). Growing up I knew I was in trouble when I heard “Kimberly Lonsdale Champion!!!”. With the initials KLC, I nicknamed myself Kelsey when I was growing up, but to my dismay, nobody would call me Kelsey. Now I answer to Kim, Kimber or Kimberz 🙂

  4. Debb on March 15, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I named my son after my favorite singer, Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues,it was an easy decision. He knows who he was named after but has never seen his namesake in person.

  5. SueAnn Beer on March 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    “Sue” came from my 2nd oldest brother..he was in love with a little girl in 2 nd grade!!
    “Ann”, is my mothers’ name.
    Dogs……Ralph-named for my favorite Uncle….Buttons..she was a mini poo-and was cute as a button….called her butt-butt for short….Sam…..he got my initials…he was MY dog!! Brandy-was a mini long haired poo…he looked like apricot brandy.Molly-reminded me of the fish-black molly….Abby-she was named from her mom “Prissy.s Baby Abagail”. Curry was a rescue dog…she was a red headed golden…Maggie Mae….another rescue…blinded in one eye-she just LOOKED liked Maggie.And now…Bella, our son named her…says it is Italian for light-Bella will light up our lives…if she ever settles down and stops eating everything in the house!!!!LOL!! She goes by Beast…muscles…..on any given day…depends on what she has destroyed that day!!!

  6. SueAnn Beer on March 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Kids’ names..Jennifer Suzanne-always loved the name Jennifer and Suzanne is a combo of my name.
    Timothy Roy-there were too many Tom’s in the family, and Tim was a baby name used when those Toms’ were little…so Timothy he became,,,a Tom of a different color! the middle name of his Dad. Jonathan Leo….Leo is an old old family name….so I wanted that for the middle..asked hubby;s granny to name the first name..she loved Jonathan…from Highway to Heaven Jonathan he became…like the angel! Lawrence (hubby) was his parent;s best friend and David….was his moms’ brother and hubby’s god-father.
    So…Jennifer Suzanne, Timothy Roy, Jonathan Leo, and Lawrence David……all family derivdes-except Jonathan an angel!! LOL!!!

  7. Christina Wible on March 16, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Christina wasn’t my parents’ first choice. It was Linda. But I had a cousin born just a few months before and she was named Linda so I was blessed with Christina. My Grandfather’s name was Christian, my father’s name was Christian, my mother had a favorite aunt named Christina (Stina for short) and I had a cousin several years older named Christina. Why wasn’t that the first choice, you ask. Beats me. Beats me also where my middle name, Karen came from. Also my mother’s middle name, Walborg. Not a family name as far as I can tell. No finding out now. There are answers we will never know.

  8. Katt Olsen on March 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

    My daughter is called Leorah-Jai. I first heard the name Leorah when I spent a year in Jerusalem, it was the name of my Israeli boyfriend’s ex!! It means “I have light” and I thought it was beautiful, as soon as I knew I was having a girl I knew that was the name, there were no others to consider. I named her Jai because her two adoring uncles are called Lee and Jamie so she is also named after them! Her name suits her so much, because Jai means warrior in Indian and she really does bring light to the worldbut she is also a feisty little girl too 🙂

  9. Amy Dudfield on March 16, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I was 9 months pregnant before my partner and I finally decided on a name for a baby boy, of we had one. Our girls name was sorted very early on but naming a prospective boy was just so hard!! I started off liking Harry when I guessed a friend might name her baby Harry (I was very wrong, they went with Dash!) then I moved to Jack, my partner not even remotely liking these names. We went through Aidan, Tyler & Tristan, our serious contenders, plus a myriad of other names. Standing in our kitchen late one night, partner all of a sudden decides he likes Jack for a middle name. I still adored Harry but wanted a strong name so we combined ‘Harrison’ & ‘Jack’ who is today often nicknamed Harry. I have to say I really love the name you used in “The Forgotten Son” – “Joelle”…..should I ever be lucky enough to have a girl, it’s high up there on my list of names!

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Love this story, Amy. I thought I’d better add a note about The Forgotten Son in case it confuses anyone. The Forgotten Son is the Australian title of The Shadow Wife, which had an earlier title of Cypress Point. They are all the same book! I’m working to be sure we don’t have multiple titles in the future.

  10. Betty Bard on March 16, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Just a chuckle…My mother and her sister both named their daughters after their two grandmothers, but they did not appear to know their own mother’s name. She was called Kate. Well, my middle name is Kathleen, but my cousin is named Katherine after the same grandmother. There was always amused disagreement on which is correct – until finally they found out that her name was actually just “Kate”.

  11. Francine Orlando on March 16, 2013 at 7:49 am

    My mother saw the name Francine on a dress shop. My father’s name is Francis (now the name for our new Pope) so I am also named for him. (He always hated his name and had the nickname Bud). I never liked my name but now that I am older I like it. One of my aunts called me Ceenee when I was little. I like that nickname. But my nickname now is Fran. I am also called Flo and Fay. Funny to have so many names. Thanks mom for my name.

  12. Donna Brewer on March 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

    My parents couldn’t decide between Virginia and Barbara until my father saw Donna in a magazine article and they chose it. We couldn’t decide on a name for our daughter until I saw Aprile on a record of Pavarotti arias – she was born in April so April it is. I named my son Richard after my father.

  13. Heather Cathrall on March 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

    My mother liked the name Heather since she was in high school, and my father was very happy to let her name the children. She named me Heather Marie. Luckily her next child was born a boy because her second choice for girl names was Crystal Joy (my mother’s name is Joyce so she thought “Joy” would be a good middle name) and it might have been a good middle name if the baby wouldn’t have sounded like dish detergent. Instead she named him Joseph Oscar (Oscar after my great grandfather) but as the bigger sister, I dubbed him “Oscar the grouch”. 🙂

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 16, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Heather, just wanted to mention that, as of right now, Heather is the name of the main character in my work-in-progress. Pretty name!

  14. Joni on March 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    My Grandma had a set of dishes that the designer signed her name Joni- my Mom always said if she had a daughter her name would be Joni, So Joni it is ! There is 1 plate left so I have my keepsake !

  15. Diane Chamberlain on March 16, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I love these naming stories! I love all the thought and love that goes into the names.

  16. Amy on March 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I had a wonderful cat I named Little One, only to learn that my vet’s tech had a cat of the same name. I wanted my unique baby cats to have equally one-of-a-kind names. I’ve had a Puppy, Birdie, Monkey, Skunky, Mousy, and Ladybuggy since.

  17. Leslie Landauer Howlett on March 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    My mother loved Elizabeth Taylor and named me ‘Leslie’ after her role in the move “Giant”. I now live on a horse ranch and love riding my horses! As a child growing up in the city I would of never imagined my life looking like it does now. After a hard day of working the land, it’s always a treat to spend the evening watching that classic movie.

  18. Virginia Pierce on March 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    My oldest son is named Quinten Joseph, and he got his name because he is the 5th Joseph in my husband’s family name. Originally we were going to do it Joseph Quinten, but we both liked how unique Quinten is, and my husband wanted to add a twist to it by changing it from the -on ending to an -en ending, since his name is Bryen (spelled with an -en instead of -an).

    My name is Virginia and I was named after my grandmothers, but because i live in the state of the same name, I often get asked if my mother named me after the state! So, it’s been interesting!

  19. rRob Lopresti on March 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    My daughter Susan was named after my grandmother, also Diane’s. One helpful hint: if you announce you are naming your child after a deceased grandparent it seems to cut off alternTive suggestions.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Susan remains one of my favorite names, Rob.

  20. Cindy Mathes on March 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I was named Cindy, not Cynthia. My middle name was going to be Jane, but my cousin 3months older than me got that middle name. I then received my granny’ s name Lorene. So Cindy Lorene is what I was called by everyone but my Aunt…She called me Cindy Jane. I was the only Cindy I knew from school my whole life. Then my brother married a Cynthia Cyndi for short.I now work in a classroom with a teacher named Cynthia (Cindy) a student’s nurse is also a Cynthia (Cindy) a principal Cindy and attendance Secretary is also a Cynthia(Cyndi) This is my story about CINDY.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Yes, there are Cindy’s aplenty in my life. Pretty name.

  21. Gene Douglas on March 18, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I adore my four nieces and nephews. My eldest brother brought us Cam. It’s not short for Cameron; it is what it is. Next was sister Kayln, a spelling the parents invented. The second brother gave us Jessa; short and sweet she is. Last came her brother Kevin, toe-headed and cute to the point he could get away with most any mischief.

    In our family, true expression of feelings is a potion, rarely uncorked for fear of the consequences. But when Kevin arrived, Mom remarked, to me and certainly not to the parents, “Finally, a grandchild with a ‘normal’ name!”

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm


  22. Marguerite Witten on March 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I am named after my Aunt Marguerite. My cousins teased me by saying, “Marguerite, Marguerite, I smell your feet, clear across the street.” That did not go over well with my Aunt “Margy” and she quickly set them straight. The name is a blessing as well as a trial. Everone wants to shorten the name, and I have so many “nicknames” it’s hard to keep them straight – Mary, Margie, Peggy, Peg, Margaret, Peggins. Frankly, I answer to most anything as long as it’s not preceded by an expletive…

  23. Beverley Gage on March 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    My mam wanted to call me tracey but the day i was born which was My anut wedding day My grandmother asked My mam (lorraine) to call me Beverley so now everyone calls me Bev unless when i was Young i was in trouble or now when me and My hubby ron are having a tiff lol.

    My sons are called Charlie Ronald (Ronald after My husband ),Daniel John (John after My granddad) ,Harry James(jamesbeing My hubby middle nane) and My daughter is called Elizabeth rose Elizabeth for My grandmother and rose for My husbands grandmother .i live in the north East of england and everyone thinks i mad on the royal family as most of My Kids James are the same lol (what ppl dont know is that im really bad at spelling and wanted something i aready knew i could spell and Liked lol)

  24. Vivien Kruger on April 3, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Working in childcare for many years, I had heard the same names many times over, so I wanted something unique for my child. While watching the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, there was an Australian triathlete named Michellie Jones. My husband and I knew immediately that was it. We waited 8 more years to finally welcome our daughter Michellie Erin (pronounced Ma-keely). We think it is a pretty name and definitely suits our girl.

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