D. Randall Faro
What’s in a name? Lots!
Take Ding Dong, Texas . . . do people there vie to be the Hostess with the mostest? Then there is What Cheer, Iowa and Happy Corner, New Hampshire . . . no sad faces allowed. The Pillsbury Doughboy might happily live in Bread Loaf, Vermont or Fluffy Landing, Florida. Those who lean toward the dark side can reside in Hell for Certain, Kentucky or Satans Kingdom, Massachusetts or Funk, Nebraska.
Place names can be fun. Personal names carry a heavier load of significance. Names are identifiers. They are important to people because of the heritage attached to them which is implicitly part of the persona of the bearers. This is why parents pass on their first names to progeny. Native Americans often bestow a descriptive name to a child based on demeanor or circumstances. A First Nations given name can change as a child grows and changes, such as non-Indian people analogously taking on a nickname later in life.
Surnames or clan names are markers that bind groups of people together, often spanning generations upon generations, some of them centuries old. Be it a Kennedy from Massachusetts or a Gates from Washington or a Jones from Indiana, the history and import of family names are something to appreciate and live up to.
My family name is Faro, which is the anglicized spelling of the small island on which my paternal grandfather was born and spent his early life. My father and I also have the same first name. One of the most significant things ever said to me was on the afternoon of my dad’s memorial service. Just the two of us on the front porch of her home in Sedona, Arizona, my mother looked at me with wet eyes and said, “You’re so much like him.” I really, really hope so.