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Hey, What Happened to Clarence and Marvin and Henrietta and Johanna?


It’s all I need. Something else to make sure I realize how old I am. It’s not enough that I get out of bed and it sounds like someone pouring cold milk into a bowl of Rice Crispies.

Snap…Crackle…Pop…and then Crackle again.

I don’t need another reason to realize I’ve become of, ah, a certain age. AARP reminds me of it about 3 times a month when I walk to the mailbox (there’s that lovely crackling again…quiet joints!) I’m reminded of it when I hold the choppers in one hand and the toothbrush in the other. I’m cognizant of the age fact when I look into the mirror and see my forehead now runs over my skull to the back of my neck. And when I pull on the long sleeved shirt, look down and wonder how in the world I got my dad’s hands.

But that’s all good, that’s all fine. Better to be old than not. Besides, there’s probably 20% of the population that see’s someone my age in their rear view mirror.

So with that being said, just the other day I was reminded that I’m a (not crotchety old man) seasoned human. A young couple I know had a baby, bless their hearts. And when they told me the name of the young ‘un, it was one of those that, not only had I never heard of it, I had no idea how to even spell it!

Now, I’m all for Mom’s and Dad’s to name their little ankle biters anything they want. I understand there’s folks in Hollywood that name kids things like Apple and North. Yep, used to be a fruit and a direction, but now they’re monikers. And that’s fine, if you want to name your young ‘un Turnip, have at it.

But it made me wonder where the good ‘ol names went. I was shootin’ the breeze here at work one day with a co-worker and somehow we got to talkin’ about my growin’ up years and I mentioned my folks and some Uncle’s and Aunts’. There wasn’t an Apple or North in the bunch. Nope, what we had was Marvin and Henrietta, Clarence and Johanna and Arthur and Bertha and Florence. Heck, I grew up with a bunch…a bunch..of Cornie’s.

Oh, some of them good ‘ol names are still popular. There’s Jacob’s all over the place. You’ll hear a Momma admonish a little Abigail or Olivia at the grocery store every now and then. Mike, Dan and John still populate elementary schools.

But I’ll bet you can spend a whole day at the Mall and never hear a young mother say ‘Coochie Coo, Marvin’. You could stop into a daycare 10 times and never have the owner tell you ‘That’s Clarence in the crib, isn’t he a cutie’? And I’d love to sit in a restaurant booth and watch the young dad pat his little baby girl on the back and say ‘C’mon now, give daddy a big burp Johanna’.

Ah well, they tell me names like Sebastian (Bach), Noah (Can’t get much older than that…oh wait, sorry Adam) and Victoria (some old time Queen, right?) have all made a comeback. So the day may be near when I hear ‘Bertha, you let your little sister Florence on that Merry-Go-Round, too!’

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