What’s in a Name?

01 May

When I was writing the last posting (about my 1966 Suffolk Music Festival certificate) my thoughts were turned to other aspects of my schooldays.

For no apparent reason a strange little fact popped into my memory concerning the names of the boys in my class.

And it was this….

Our third year (Year 9 by the current reckoning) at Copleston was the last one before we in the top “stream” were whittled down from thirty to the nineteen who would take the GCE “O” level examinations in two years time. And in that group of thirty were no less than SEVEN boys called David.

I can even recall the surnames (by which the whole class was known to the teachers and, indeed, each other in those days) from the class register; they were Butcher, Cooke, Cooper, Potter, Ramsey, Searle and Wright.

When pondering this I considered that seven out of thirty was a fairly remarkable proportion for a single name but it improved very slightly when the eleven who left us to do the newer and less well known CSE exams included Messrs Cooke and Cooper thus bringing it down to five out of nineteen.

Another oddity was that apart from the five Davids there was only one other incidence of a duplicated first name in the remaining fourteen – we had two Colins.

That recollection would probably have passed into my consciousness, rattled about a bit and then passed out again had I not, shortly afterwards, had occasion to look at both my hotmail contacts list and the names of my friends on Facebook.

Now I don’t have all THAT big a circle of friends (as you can tell by the amount of time I’m able to devote to all this!) or even mere acquaintances and so I was slightly surprised to find a similar occurrence of a repeated first name there too.

Not David this time but I have at the moment no less than five friends called MIKE. Oh, and a cousin called Mick – so I guess I can claim six “Michael derivatives”!

You may have noticed (as my wife has) when reading the follow up comments on some of these posts that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two Mikes who most regularly write stuff there.

That, of course, assumes that you DO bother to read the comments. If you don’t then I suggest you try it – they are, regrettably, often more entertaining than what I write!

For the record then they are as follows:

Mick S – my cousin and I put him first because I’ve known him longest. I can remember him being born to my Auntie in 1960.

Mike V – my friend through five years of school, nearly forty years of silence and then over a year of intensive on-line contact. This Mike lives in Thailand and his blog output is responsible for inspiring me to start to write this stuff! So now you know who to blame.

Mike J – we first met on a Barclays Bank Trust Co. training course in 1975 and for the last twenty-something years have been attending the annual Barclays fishing match (which you can read about by clicking on the “Gone Fishing” link in the sidebar of this blog).

Mike T – I first met Mike at the centralised Barclays Trust Co office here in Peterborough in late 1993 or early 1994. I was wandering around outside one lunchtime with headphones on listening to a tape (remember them?) on my walkman and he asked me what I was listening to. We were friends from then on and he was recruited to the Sea Fishing team for a couple of years. Mike T, who is the only Welsh friend I have, now lives in Herefordshire – to be near home – and frequently expresses approval of my work here! That’s why he gets the biggest paragraph.

Mike H and Mike A – put together because I don’t see either of them any more since the company we all worked for went into administration. From January 2007 to February 2009 the three of us comprised the entire IT Department but then part of the company was sold off to a competitor and Mike A went with it. Mike H (or “Mike the Manager”) appears several times in these postings, notably in “Wow!” on 3rd April 2009, and was removed from the company on “Black Friday” in July – four weeks before I left/was pushed.

And while I’m sure you’ve all been utterly underwhelmed by those introductions, I should mention that such duplications of names are unlikely to occur in the classrooms of any children to be born to my youngest daughter.

She solemnly assures me that any boy-child of which she might one day be delivered will be named “Geoffrey-of-Anjou” (just one name spelled EXACTLY like that) and any girl “Eleanor-of-Aquitaine”!

It’s something to do with her having a Masters degree in History!

I don’t want to try to calculate the odds of getting even TWO of those names in one class but I DO know it’s going to make writing my hypothetical grandchildren’s birthday cards a bit of a chore!


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Posted by on May 1, 2010 in Schooldays


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