Friday, November 30, 2007

How the Flea Got her Name (stop me if you've heard this one)

Memory is a dangerous thing. Especially when it doesn't work correctly. I am going to tell the story of how the Flea got her name, but part of it is my childhood memories, the other part stories as they were told me by third parties, years later. Only my mother really knows the truth - if her memory is accurate.

Growing up I remember being told that my little brother (we're a year apart) couldn't say Felicia, that he called me Flea. The name stuck. It was cute for a little red head with freckles (see picture). Aww. When I started first grade I remember my mom telling me that I had the choice to be called Flea or Felicia at the new school. She said that the one I chose would probably be the one that stuck with me for life (I always thought of this when I watched Tootsie, with Dustin Hoffman, and the romantic interest told the story about picking the wallpaper for her room as a child). I chose Flea. It got me lots of attention - duh.

Fast forward 23 years. I'm 29 and have just had my third child, Nathaniel. He's beautiful, and we've chosen his name because it sounds masculine and strong. It really does suit him (Thanny does not, though that's what we call him. It's a soft nickname for a boy). One of my mom's family (yes, I'm protecting the guilty by not naming ... and ... I can't ... remember ...) called and asked why on earth I named my boy Nathaniel, like I should know better. So I explain the strong masculine thing, so proud of myself for coming up with a good, non-family name (my daughter is Era Mae, after a grandmother, and the second child is Harry Oliver, V). It's not an archaic, wussy or made up name. Yay me!

It turns out (this is what I've HEARD), that my mom's first in-laws (no longer in-laws, but outlaws, after I turned four) nicknamed me Flea very early on. Which explains why there are baby pictures of me, months before my brother was born, labeled "Flea". It had nothing to do with my brother (who shall remain nameless - again to protect the guilty - he knows what he did). When he came along a year after me, the in-laws wanted to name him Nathaniel. They wanted a Flea and a Nat. My mom refused. Yay mom!

So my family was a little concerned that I was playing some kind of evil joke on either my child or my mother. Honestly, up to that phone call, it never even crossed my mind that my son could be called Nat. Had I not named him such, I would never know the REAL story behind my name. If that is the real story ...

And yes, I still prefer to be called Flea, for the same reason. It gets me more attention - duh. But you can call me Felicia if you want to. I just won't answer. :)

Until I write again ...

Flea

15 comments:

Sue @ Praise and Coffee said...

Flea, I think it's great!!!

It sure got my attention!

Sue

Dianne said...

Great story, Flea! Yeah for you for being you!

Marguerite said...

I've never heard that story before. I like having a "Flea" for a sister, and I'm glad I don't have a "gnat" for a brother. Just imagine if they decided to keep it up. :O

Flea said...

Let's see ... you be ... hmmm ... well Matthew might have been Skeeter (for mosquito). And you'd be ... ooo! Lady Bug! Nooo ... Mite? Maybe they'd have named you Kathleen, after mom, and you would be the Kat hosting the Flea. Er, no. I give up. What would you be?

Marguerite said...

Dad told me once that they thought of naming me Rachel, so rat or roach maybe? Ew.

Flea said...

Ewww! We had a rabbit named Rachel. You could be Bunny. Rat and Roach do't really work with Rachel. Margo - Escargo?

kendalswife said...

That is a very interesting story. My best friend in grade school was, and probably still is, named Felicia. I called her Flea too, but just because I was too lazy to always call her by her entire name.

Karate Mom said...

Can I call you Cordelia? (OK, ignore that if you've not seen Anne of Green Gables a million times!)

It makes me giggle, thinking of having a Flea and a Nat! That would have been so funny! I dated a guy in high school whose last name was Loden. I think his parents really missed the mark by not naming him Over!

Lisa said...

Oops, that was me that left that last comment!

Flea said...

I know who Karate Mom is! And no, you can't call me Cordelia. I prefer Ophelia (another long story). :) But I love Anne.

Loden makes me think of Thor and his mighty hammer.

Candace said...

Although I have heard it before, I love the Flea and Nat story.

Damsel said...

Flea and Nat! Bwahahaha!!!

Jan Parrish said...

LOL. So funny. I could tell you my real name but then I'd have to kill you. Seriously, my sis and sales calls are the only ones who get away with it. :)

mumple said...

I love this! Now, I don't feel so weird in naming our family the mumples. Or having the Howler & Toad for spawnlings.

Jan Parrish said...

They could call you licia, too. Anyway, my grand baby was named Kamryn and we've been calling her Kamy. My daughter asked us not to call her than any more. I also can't call her Baby K. Being Gramma is tough sometimes.