A Rose by any other name might be Myrtle…

The name Susan is derived from the Hebrew word for Lily. The root for Lily in Hebrew means “to be joyful, bright and cheerful.” My dad wanted to name me Sylvia Kay. Sylvia comes from Latin and means “from the forest.” My mom wanted to name me Susan Lee. My baby book actually says Susan Lee. My birth certificate says Susan Kay.  There were, obviously, spirited conversations over my name.

My mom’s name was Betty Ann. My grandmother told me that she named my mother Betty and my aunt Mary because she really did not like nicknames. She thought people should be called by their given names. The name Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth. Elizabeth is derived from the Greek Elisabet which is a form of the Hebrew name Elisheva, meaning “My God is an oath.” Interesting.

Dorothy, Betty, Myrtle, Susan

My maternal grandmother’s name was Dorothy May. She did not like Dot or Dottie. She would say “Call me Dorothy.” She did have one long time friend she allowed to call her Dot. I remember thinking she must be a really good friend. Dorothy comes from the Greek Dorothea meaning “gift of the gods.” My grandmother was a “gift of the gods” to me.

My mother’s maternal grandmother’s name was Virginia Myrtle. She was called Myrtle because there were already cousins and aunts and great-aunts using the names Virginia and Ginny.  She never liked the name Myrtle at all. When her granddaughter was named Janet Virginia, GGMA tried to pay her grandson to call her Virginia. According to the website www.behindthename.com MYRTLE is “simply from the English word myrtle for the evergreen shrub, ultimately from Greek μυρτος (myrtos). It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.” GGGMA, Arbelia Harriet, named her daughter after her own sister Virginia and a flower……..

 ©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

About Lily

Born in Topeka, Kansas in the middle of the 20th Century, daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, reader, spiritual, writer, cook, crafter, junker...... twice-married, former non-profit executive in retread mode... currently living a bucket list life in a remodeled schoolhouse.....
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