HOLLENBECK: And the baby's name shall be Mary, John, Susan, Henry, Ralph, Helen...
The Social Security Administration recently announced that the most popular baby names for 2011 were Sophia and Jacob.
This is the 13th year in a row that Jacob topped the list for boys and the first year for Sophia, who knocked Isabella to No. 2 after a two-year stint at the top of the female list.
Only one new name made the top 10 on either list this year. Mason rocketed to No. 2 from outside the top 10 to replace Anthony on the boys’ side.
It was also reported that Elvis has returned to the top 1,000, coming in at No. 904 on the rankings. That's good. Elvis needs to be there.
Naming a baby is second in excitement only to the fact that you're having the baby itself.
After all, it's not something you can change like a pair of shoes. Once you sign that name on the birth certificate, there it is from then on without a legal proceeding.
I've heard family accounts about the dilemma my parents went through in deciding on what I was to be called. For some reason, a number of relatives felt obliged to make that decision for them, but my mother rejected all suggestions.
Mamma said, "Thanks, but no, thanks. I'll name her."
This was to be the only child she and my father would ever have and she would be making that decision. She made that crystal clear.
First off, this was long before the days of ultrasounds and such, so there was no official way of determining that I would be a girl.
I say no official way, but Mamma was convinced she knew.
"I'm going to have a redheaded little girl," she told anyone who would listen, with the kind of conviction no one dared question. When Mamma spoke, people took notice.
They did have a boy's name in reserve — Sterling, to honor a family friend and business associate of my father— just in case Mamma's forecast was wrong, but, of course, she wasn't. She never was.
Also, with the same degree of conviction she had for most things, she let the relatives know their help wasn't needed in choosing a name for her daughter. But squelching a team of well-intentioned Parnells was the equivalent to stopping a herd of wild stallions. They couldn't be silenced.
One aunt insisted that my name be Paulette. This was to honor my father, whose name was Paul.
"It's such a pretty name," lobbied my Aunt Bessie, who had already named a daughter Paula. "It would be so nice to name her after her daddy."
Mamma said "no, thank you." She adored my father, but didn't like the name Paulette. That one was out.
Another aunt, in an effort to be diplomatic, suggested Lillie Paul. This was a combination of my parents' names — Lillie and Paul.
Aunt Lena insisted this was the "right choice."
Again, Mamma said "huh-uh."
Although she was rejecting others' nominations, at this point Mamma didn't have a top preference. That was to come later. Ironically, she received her inspiration musically.
I say ironically since music has been such a big part of my life, as it was for Mamma and other members of our family.
According to the account Mamma shared with me, she was sweeping the front porch while listening to the radio when the name came to her.
It happened when she heard the Lily Strickland song, "Mah Little Lindy Lou."
The moment Mamma heard it, she knew she had the name. "That's it!" she said. "We'll call her Lynda Lou."
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I am grateful that Lindy became Lynda, and I have to say I'm especially grateful I don't write Lillie Paul in my signature. I love both names and I loved my parents who were known by such, but I'm proud they don't form my moniker.
Just an aside regarding the song that became my namesake:
As a 17-year-old vocal student, I sang "Mah Little Lindy Lou" in a state vocal competition sponsored by the Arkansas Federation of Women's Clubs.
I sang it, and I won. The top prize was a two-week scholarship to a music camp in Illinois.
Mamma probably knew it would happen all along.
Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.