The Name Game


Springboro's Guy Pasvogel, published author, shares his thoughts

SPRINGBORO, OH -- Ever since birth, or even before birth, we are given a name by our parents that will live with us throughout life. In the past many names had been taken from our relatives who have passed in life. It is done in the hope that the name will live on and honor the memory of those relatives who have influenced the child’s parents. Sometimes the nomenclature “Jr.” or the Roman numeral “III” will follow the same name as dear old Dad.

Many names are taken from the Bible to honor the Christian faith of their parents. Names like John, Peter, Paul on the male side or Ruth, Esther, Mary, or Sarah on the female side used to be common among the older generation. In the Muslim faith, the name Mohommed is a common first name. To the Mexican and Spanish, the name Jesus is another common name.

In the 1990’s the female name Amber became a common last name, as did Brittany, Amanda, Samantha, and Sarah. On the male side, the names Mathew, Joshua, Christopher, Jacob and Michael were the most common. 

Nowadays the name game has really changed. Parents wanting their little baby to be unique have come up with some names that will shake one’s head as to how in the world did they think that one up. For example, these names are taken from some of my closest friends’ kids… Lincoln (honest kid), Oakley (shades?), Harley (female biker?) and Waylan (favorite country singer?). 

Others like Madison (Avenue, as advertised) and Brooklyn (wrong side of the East River) are being overused. The most common baby names of 2023 are as follows: top three names for girls are Olivia, Emma, and Ameilia. The top three names for boys are Noah, Liam, and Oliver.

Baby name books are on the market to help confused parents come up with a nomenclature that will be just as unique as they would like their newborn to be. I, for one, would like to think that my name would have come from a thoughtful and loving idea from my parents and not from a Simon and Shuster or Random House paperback.

My parents had three kids born between 1945 and 1948. The oldest was named Glenn Jr. to honor my dad who was serving in World War II. He was conceived in 1944, just before deployment to the South Pacific. At the time, my mom and dad did not know if he would return from war or be a casualty. Glenn Jr. was chosen to carry on the family name in case the unforeseen happened. I totally get it.

My sister Donna was born in 1947, and was named to honor my mom’s brother Don, who as a pilot was shot down over Egypt in World War II. I obviously never met Don, but through pictures I could see that he resembled me. He was tall, lanky and had many of my facial features. His name will live on.

Then in 1948, I came along. My full first name is Guy William. I totally understand the William middle name. My Great Grandfather William (Bill for short) was the family patriarch in founding a very successful wholesale carnation greenhouse in a Northwest suburb of Chicago during depression times. 

It was the Guy part had me puzzled for the longest time, and my parents are not around now to explain their reasoning for my name choice. I did, however, come up with a theory one day while attending a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in the year 2003. 

One inning a Cubs player hit a foul ball in my direction and it conveniently landed in my grubby little mitts after hitting the guy wire, which extended from home plate to left field to secure the mesh screen. After this freak incident, I got home and looked up the definition of what a guy wire was, and read this…a guy wire is a tensioned cable designed to add stability to a free-standing structure. They were commonly used on ships to stabilize the masts (what a coincidence, I spent two years in the Navy on a ship). The last part of the definition reads, “Guy Wires have been around a long long time.”

Let’s see, guy wires are long and thin (my high school nickname was Noodle because I had long arms and a skinny body), they add stability (highly debatable on my end, but I’ll take it), they are used by Navy ships (both my dad and I were in the Navy), and my mom, like me was an avid Cub fan.

Maybe this explanation is Spock-like and highly illogical, but lacking any other concrete evidence, I think I will run with this one. Sure beats pulling a name out of one’s behind in a Random House book.

More News from Springboro
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified