Naming names

My mother decided on calling me Laura. Something my paternal grandmother thoroughly disapproved of, saying it reminded her of  ‘the other woman’ in romance stories. I was thus perilously close to carrying the placard of the scarlet woman from birth.

As a late teen this rather intrigued me but throughout schooldays I disliked my name – it was unique then and frequently Lorna Or Nora was what many assumed on first introductions. Discovering that  it was derived from Latin for the laurel wreath crowns of Victory just put added pressure to succeed and my father would prod me out of self-satisfaction with grades, lest I, quite literally, rested on my laurels.

So what determined the assigning of my first name? Yes, it had something and everything to do with Preminger’s eponymous film noir – not so much the alluringly, mysterious heroine but Johnny Mercer’s lyrics. As a pianist and dyed-in-the-wool romantic, my mother loved to play this piece and she may have begun a beguine too many in the Caribbean when I was conceived. It was a far cry from austerity England and bombed out Coventry which may account for why I’m ‘Laura’ and not ‘Nora’.

Gene Tierney as Laura in Preminger's film

You know the feeling of something half remembered
Of something that never happened, yet you recall it well.
You know the feeling of recognizing someone
That you’ve never met as far as you could tell, well.
Laura is the face in the misty light,
Footsteps that you hear down the hall.
The laugh that floats on a summer night
That you can never quite recall.
And you see Laura on the train that is passing through.
Those eyes, how familiar they seem.
She gave your very first kiss to you.
That was Laura but she’s only a dream.

Written for the Daily Prompt: Say Your Name. Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?


4 thoughts on “Naming names

  1. My mother almost named me Mary Kathryn, but my father didn’t like it because he thought it was too old-fashioned. They settled on Kathryn, but my mother then insisted my nickname be Kate, not Kathy, as one of my father’s ex-girlfriend’s names was Kathy. Egad.


  2. my mother wanted the Cornish Drusilla. I could have lived with that, but my sisters vetoed the name.I became Diana of the Ephesians, Diana of the Uplands, and yesterday I discovered Diana monkeys.


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