Sunday, July 1, 2007

Beware the Ides of June

Ever since I was a little girl, I've had an old lady name.

Family lore has it that my father wanted to name me Joan. My mother, having a twin sister named Joan, was perfectly horrified by the idea, and pulled out of her backside the first old-timey name should thought would pacify him. "Uh, how about June?"

And thus was born a June that blustery March day. Sure, with just a little more effort they might have been able to come up with a more appropriate name for a baby born on St. Patrick's Day. But on the other hand, with just a little less effort, I could have ended up with the name Moremorphineplease. So I'm not complaining about having an old lady name.

Yet since about the thousandth time I heard someone say, "Oh, I have a great aunt named June!" I've been waiting for my name to come back into vogue.

Recent name trends have given me hope: Emma, Isabelle, Jane, Kate -- they were all old lady names, too. Now they're the starting lineup for every AYSO team in America. Then, the year before last, I dared to let my hope bubble to the surface as I sat in a movie theater listening to a whole auditorium full of actors chant, "June! June! June! June!" in the hit movie "Walk the Line."

So I finally decided to look into it. Landing at a Social Security Administration website that compiles the top 1,000 baby names for each year, I finally faced the unpleasant reality.

Yes, June was a very popular girls' name, ranking number 39 -- in 1925. It's been plunging like Oleo sales ever since, ultimately falling out of the top 1,000 in 1987. No sudden resurrection in 2005 or 2006. No chance that I'll one day be as hip as an 80-year-old who today is named Brittany or Jenna or Amber.

Last week I was in the cell phone store, where the twentyish young woman looking up my account asked me my name.

"Oh, I've never heard that name before," she said.

I'd hoped she was talking about my last name. But no, she meant my first.

"Yeah, it used to be really popular," I told her. "But those Junes are all dead now."

1 comment:

Emily Mathews said...

Dear June,
Enjoy it while it lasts. My name is Emily. My parents named me this back in the Dark Ages when all the other little girls were getting named Jennifer. I don't particularly like my name, but for a while, I could at least find solace in the fact that it was different. Unfortunately, that party is over.


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