Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in a name?

First of all, THANKS for all the comments. I know all you advanced Bloggers out there can remember the day, way back when, when you felt like you were on a remote island somewhere and nobody cared about your stories. I think you probably felt this way – DID YOU?

Are you beginning to pick up on my insecurities of my new blogging life?

I’ve truly enjoyed reading all the comments – I can see how Blogs can take on a whole new life as a result of the comments. I was so excited to start seeing them roll in; however, there was one specific comment that came in that COMPLETELY blew my cover. Well, it’s not like I ever really had a cover being that you can click right on to our web site and read ‘about us’. But, sometimes I like to think there is still SOME sort of mystery about me. However, all was blown when I read Paige’s comment.

Paige is one of my BFF’s that has known me since I was, umm – probably 8 or 9. A long time. She’s one of my friends, along with 3 or 4 others, that still calls me by my given first and middle name - that darn name I can’t escape.

Believe it or not, when I started 1st grade, there were about 6 or 7 Debbie’s in my class. Having 6 or 7 Debbie’s in one class of 25 can be a bit confusing. To alleviate this confusion, our teacher called each Debbie by her first and middle name. So my 1st grade teacher appointed me Debbie Dawn. By the time I graduated high school, there were only 2 Debbie’s left, the others had all moved away, but Debbie Dawn lingered.

Nothing keeps you more grounded than to answer the phone and the voice on the other end says, “Well, hi Debbie Dawn.” I just can’t escape it.

I can’t remember the exact number of students in my 1st grade class, but I’m sure I would be pretty safe to say around 25. If you think about it, having that many Debbie’s is kind of odd ya’ll. Let me expand this a bit to put it into perspective here. I also grew up in a diverse town with a large Hispanic population. In fact, the majority of the population there is Hispanic – around 60 or 70%. Let’s break this down a bit, using simple statistics. Assume my class had 25 students, 13 girls and 12 boys. You can now assume that of the 13 girls, less than half were White, probably about 6. This means, statistically speaking, that 100% of the White girls in my 1st grade class in 1971 were named Debbie. Que paso???

I bet I can place a bet RIGHT HERE that not one of you knows of a child that has been born in the last 15 years that has been named Debbie. Heck, I bet you don’t know of one in the last 20 years. But, in 1965 this was a popular name.

Why? I have it all figured out. The mothers of the 60’s were young girls of the 50’s and they all grew up wanting to be Debbie Reynolds. In 1965 when these mother’s were washing and folding piles and piles of diapers – yes, young mothers of today, disposable diapers DID NOT exist in 1965 - these poor mothers of the 60’s were dreaming about what life would have been like for ‘Tammy’. If you’re not following me when I mention ‘Tammy’, well, you’re just too darn young so I’ll give you little whipper snappers some background. Tammy, as in Debbie Reynolds, as in ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’, was who every young girl of the 50’s aspired to be. As a result, our mother’s endearingly named us all Debbie. How sweet.

So that’s your history lesson of the day, and why there is a generation of Debbie’s born in the 60’s. A wonderful and extinct generation of Debbie’s. Come on, I dare you – do you know a Debbie born before 1955 or after 1970? My theory is proven.

Although the decade of Debbie’s ended in 1969, my grandfather whom I called Pappy, brought it all back to life again in 1973 with the song, “Delta Dawn”. I would spend my summers with him on his cotton farm and we would drive around every afternoon in his pick-up truck to “check cotton” and he would sing, “Debra-uh Dawn, what’s that flower you have on….” I think I was probably 18 before I realized the song was Delta Dawn, not Debra Dawn. My Pappy had me convinced that it was my song.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned years later when I finally learned the words to the song. The fact that I was a late bloomer in the marriage department did cause come concern for me a time or two: Was I destined to fulfill the life of Delta Dawn, waiting for that mysterious dark-haired man?

Okay, I rambled a bit tonight. But, I’ll just do like I always did when I was 8 and 9 – blame it on Paige.


Theresa said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom to comment about "Debbie". My BFF Marsha, has a daughter named Debbie who is 28. The name is still in use! But, I would bet you are right about why there were so many named Debbie in the 60's! The star-struckedness of parents probably is the reason I have so many cousins named Bobby, too. (Bobby Darrin)

Kathy said...

I understand! There were so many girls named "Kathy" that I had to answer to "Kathy Ann" all through elementary school. Sometimes I wasn't the only "Kathy Ann" in the class.

Anonymous said...

from another debbie

I was born in 1961. I just discovered you from big mama. While my mom was in labor my dad was in the waiting room looking at a magazine and Debbie Reynolds was on the cover. So I was Debbie. In my first grade class I was one of 3, so the teacher used first and middle names. I was Debbie Lou. Until I changed schools!!!

Kelli said...

When our kids were born, we purposely went through the names we loved and looked for everything that could be done wrong with them- to help them avoid things like "Kelli belly smells like jelly" on the playground.

My folks are both from the south, so we carefully avoided the first/middle name cobo trap as well, we thought.

When our first was born, we named her Katherine Suzanne. A beautiful, flowing aristocratic name, don't you think?

The first thing out of my mom's mouth when she heard the name? Ahhh! we got us a Katie Sue!

I could have died.

Lavender Chick said...

Debbie Lou confirms my theory, but Theresa may have uncovered another one. What's up with mother's named Marsha naming their daughters Debbie? That's my mother's name!

So my new theory is: The decade of Debbie's is still on the endangered species list, but like other endangered species, sometimes a new one is spotted, although rare, unless you're mother's name is Marsha. When this is the case, the statistical odds of a new Debbie siting then increases.

One last thing: Although Kathy Ann wasn't the only Kathy Ann in her class, I'm curious if Katie Sue had to share her name with anyone?

Anonymous said...

I'm a Debbie born in 1951 and I know one who was born in the early 70's, both just a little outside of your window. You're right, though, there were a lot of Debbies in the 50's and 60's but not so many since then. Here's a site where you can look at the popularity of many names from the 1880's through 2006. http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html

Anonymous said...

This is the Debbie born in 1951 again. I noticed that the link I gave in my other comment didn't fully post due to lack of space, so here's an alternate link to get to the same site. It's been very interesting to look at the different names throughout the previous decades.