John and Mary
Just in case you were wondering, John was the most popular male baby’s name 100 years ago, in 1914.
Also in the top 10 were William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank and Walter.
One hundred years ago, Mary topped the list as the top female baby name followed by Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Anna, Mildred, Elizabeth, Frances and Marie.
As expected, that has changed a lot during the past 100 years. While most of those names are still around, only two remain among the most popular boys’ names.
The most popular names for baby boys 100 years later are Liam, Noah, Ethan, Mason, Arden, Elijah, David, Jacob, Jackson and Lucas. During the past 100 years, John has slipped from first to 39th, and William is now the 11th most popular boys’ name.
The most popular girls’ names in 2014 are Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia, Mae, Isabella, Amelia, Charlotte, Lily and Ella. The only female baby name from 1914s top 10 included among the 2014 top 40 names is Anna at 36.
I was curious to see what names may have been popular when I was going to elementary school in the 40s. According to the Social Security website, the most popular boys’ names during that period were James, Robert and John – not too different from 1914 when those names were third, fourth and first.
Other familiar 40’s names were William, Richard, David, Charles, Thomas, Michael and Ronald.
Mary was still the most favored baby girls’ name during the 1940s, followed by Linda, Barbara, Patricia, Carol, Sandra, Nancy, Sharon, Judith and Susan.
Come to think of it, I did have girlfriends named Barbara and Patricia, and two of my girl cousins were Carol and Sandra.
My own name, LeRoy, was further down on the 40s list at number 89. It was spelled with a small r and most likely pronounced differently than my mother’s preference. The nickname I have always preferred, Roy, was at number 43.
As for the lowest of the low during the 40s: For the boys, Fredrick, Jonathan, Kent, Wendell and Bennie were at the bottom – and on the girls’ side, Stella, Rosie, Patty, Veronica and Michele.
I discovered that some of my canine friends during those years had made the popular human names list – Jake, Fritz and Rudy. I haven’t found Bruno yet.
Or Is It a Sit-down?
I found this among a collection of columns I have written: Hodgepodge, March 4, 1980:
America has a hang-up . . . or is it a sit-down?
We seem to be hung up with, as the sophisticated French say – la derriere; or in crude Americanese – the fanny.
Let’s get to the bottom of this.
Television is full of rearview action. Charlie’s Angels probably started it; Underalls commercials followed close behind, and how about those jeans with their famous back pocket?
Baby’s bottoms are not exempt with another popular commercial constantly pointing out which is the driest.
The rear-end exposure syndrome, known to those in the know as “mooning,” reared its behind close to home last fall as some Hannibal cheerleaders were caught in the act. A similar problem with a busload of Buffalo area soccer players was reported recently.
Last week, a Moline, Ill. secretary sought posterity for her posterior as she attempted to take a photograph while sitting on her company’s new copying equipment. Appropriately enough, she was canned.
Sports figures are guilty, too. A great football or basketball play is often acknowledged by a teammate with a friendly pat – and not on the back.
It’s time for a change. We must all get behind the revolution. No more waiting for the bottom to drop out of the market; no more come from behind wins in sports, or betting your bottom dollar; no more rear admirals or rump roasts, and Fanny Farmer will just have to change her name.
That’s the bottom line.
February, as the second month of the year, is the shortest – it has 28 days – 29 in leap year.
There are two accepted pronunciations of the month, which are considered standard and correct. February may be more often pronounced Febuary, as in January and Febuary, but the seemingly preferred pronunciation is Feb-ru-ary.
There are several important days worth observing, in some cases celebrating, in February.
Candlemas Day, on Feb. 2, is a feast day commemorating the presentation of Christ in the temple. Feb. 2 is also observed as Groundhog Day.
The accepted belief is that if a groundhog emerges from his burrow on this day and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.
Feb. 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 22 is George Washington’s birthday, and Presidents Day (officially observed as Washington’s birthday, on the third Monday of the month since 1971) is popularly recognized as honoring Washington and Lincoln. The day is also sometimes observed as a celebration of the lives of all U.S. presidents.
Feb. 14 is St. Valentine’s Day – a day for the exchange of tokens of affection.
Well-known persons born in February include Lisa Marie Presley, Farrah Fawcett, Tom Smothers, Hank Aaron, Natalie Cole, Garth Brooks, Robert Griffin III, Bill Russell, Florence Henderson, Michael Jordan, Vanna White, Sidney Poitier, Charles Barkley, Steven Jobs, Elizabeth Taylor and celebrating every four years on Feb. 29 – Dinah Shore and Jimmy Dorsey.
When I was in elementary school, students thought February was a great month and that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were our greatest presidents because we had both of their birthdays off from school during the short month of February.
. . . Roy Hodge