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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Century or Centuries (02/17/11)

TITLE: Whats In A Name?
By sandra hoolihan


Laying weak and naked on the bed, Janet was able to nudge the nurse away with a look of exhaustion, but as the day wore on she was unable to keep avoiding her question. The baby born after groans and tears was now swaddled in a blue blanket sleeping with the others in a dark nursery surrounded by Michaels, Jacks and Johns. His card was labeled with an X as no name was yet given.

The angry black eyed nurse kept insisting a name be picked throughout the night and into the next day, but the fact was that when her water broke two weeks early, Janet and her husband Al had still not resolved the debate about the little ones name. Al’s father Frank had been pressuring them to keep with the centuries old family tradition of naming the first born son Aloysius. It started with Aloysius Anthony Clovis who then named his son Aloysius Bertram. The ancestors that followed chose Aloysius as the first name and then a middle name with the subsequent letter in the alphabet. Frank was legally Aloysius Franklin and named his son Aloysius Garrison.

It had always been a novelty; a funny story to tell over a drink, but now that the day had arrived for Al to name his own son, he wrestled with the idea of forcing this antiquated name on his child and leaving him the burden to either continue this tradition or get out of the rut this family had put itself into. On days the name could not be hidden: graduation days, signing legal documents, the first day of school roll call, Al remembered the humiliation the name brought. He remembered wishing to be known under a different name. His wife, Janet, had loved so many other names, biblical names, family names of loved ones now gone, and names that simply made her smile. She was willing to go along with the Clovis tradition, but Al knew she was making a sacrifice.

Frank, on the other hand had been so excited to hear they would have a son. Would he be Aloysius Harrison, Henderson or Herman? Frank’s wife, not a fan of the tradition herself, begged them not to keep the tradition going. She knew the pain her son felt and didn’t want a pointless tradition to affect her grandson. Throughout the pregnancy, the debate raged and tempers flared.

At ten o’clock sharp on the day Janet was scheduled to leave, the black eyed nurse appeared like the grim reaper haunting his prey.

“Well, my dear, times up,” she said triumphantly “It is time to check you out of here, but before we let you leave, we need you to put a name on the little guy’s birth certificate. So, what is his name going to be?”

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Leola Ogle 02/24/11
Ah...loved this story. As a shy kid, I hated having a different name and wanted to be just a Mary or Debbie or Linda. So this story made me smile. Great writing.
Mildred Sheldon02/25/11
A very enjoyable read. If parents only knew what impact names had on their children I wonder if they would give the child another name or not. Thank you and God bless.
diana kay02/25/11
gosh what a dragon that midwife was.... i found myself getting quite angry with her. names are so important and many people wait a few days before deciding on the childs name .. The Cheek of her.. see i got really engaged with your story.
Robert Johnson02/25/11
Good story telling! I was hoping for an ending though. I hope the parents were inspired to break from a tradition they no longer wished to follow and blazed a new trail!!!
Amanda Brogan02/28/11
How I do feel sorry for that child if they choose to keep the "Aloysius" tradition going! I've always thought it was kinda silly how people do that. But maybe this family will break the century-old tradition. :) Great story for the topic! I liked the description of the nurse being like the grim reaper.