Monday, October 31, 2011

What's in a name?

Quick story for Halloween, and it’s true.

My name is Jeanie.

My mom passed awhile ago, but long before she died I had asked how I came to have this name, since no other relative held this particular moniker. The first born was named after her mother. The second after her father. Then, there was me.

She explained there was no special reason other than she liked the name, but the biggest problem was how they were going to spell it. I was told they argued for a few days. The dispute was settled and the name officially proclaimed on my birth certificate in 1960.

Flash forward fifty-one years.

I’m working on my laptop when a ‘human interest’ news story catches my eye. It’s titled “Creepy Country: 10 Scary Songs Haunting the Radio”, and it was accompanied with a picture of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. Well, these were two of my mother’s all-time favorite artists, behind the indomitable Lorreta Lynn. So, I had to listen. It was an obligation.

In this little video (no other videos of the ten were listed, just theirs) they performed a song I had never heard, which was very surprising. I thought I had been subjected to every song they had even thought to record! But, here was a song entitled “Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark”. Gulp.

So, I clicked.

In case you don’t know the song, let me share. A small child, we don’t know exactly how old but I’m going to guess four or five, tells her parents that she’s afraid of the dark. Using the third person POV. Dolly Parton lilts, "Mommy and Daddy, can I sleep here with you? 'Cause Jeannie's afraid of the dark."

They go on to sing the sad song about how a few years later, Jeannie died and they put an eternal flame on the grave site, “'Cause Jeannie's afraid of the dark.”


I sat at my keyboard, staring at the credit dialog box at the close of the song. My heart raced and mind scrambled. What year was this song popular? Please, Please, Please tell me it was not the reason I was named Jeanie with a different spelling! Did my mother and father harbor hope of my demise before I could reach adolescence?

A quick check through the almighty Google informed me the song was popular in 1968.

That was enough of a Halloween scare for me. And the best kind, too. It ended with a chuckle.

Happy Halloween Everybody.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I learn something everyday. I love learning about my family. Things I didn't know before, I appreciate when I do learn about them.