DEAR ABBY: I read with amusement the letter from "In a Bind," who wants to name her baby, if it's a boy, after her Uncle Frank. Her cousin, 2,000 miles away, also wants to name her baby after Uncle Frank, but she's not even pregnant yet. It's quite possible neither of them will have a boy, or one of them may not even get pregnant -- which would leave Uncle Frank with no namesake.
I was named "Margaret" after my mother's beloved Aunt Madge. I have a first cousin who is a year older than me who was also named Margaret, but has always been "Madge." (Her father was my mother's brother.) My mother and my uncle were neglected by their widowed, alcoholic father. It was Aunt Madge who gave my uncle a loving home after my mother left home to attend college and later marry. For this reason she was very special to my uncle. There may have been some resentment toward my mother for giving me the same name, but if so, I never heard about it. We were called by variations of the same name, and there is no animosity.
I prefer this reason, though: Aunt Madge was so special and worthy that they decided there was enough honor to go around. -- MARGARET JOHNSTON, CINCINNATI
DEAR MARGARET: That letter struck a chord with many people. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I share my name with a first cousin. It doesn't bother me, and to my knowledge, she doesn't care either.
When I gave birth to my daughter, I discovered that I had chosen the same popular first and middle names that my supervisor had named his daughter. When I told him, he smiled and replied, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Abby, I think both cousins should lighten up and view it the way my supervisor did. -- B.B. IN SLIDELL, LA.
DEAR B.B.: Your supervisor is a wise man. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: In Italian families, it is customary to name the first-born male after the paternal grandfather, the first-born female after the paternal grandmother -- then follow suit with the maternal grandparents.
My dad came from a family of nine; consequently the family consisted of many "Rosies" and "Bens." At all family gatherings, someone would call "Rosie" or "Ben," and many heads would turn in response. We considered it a privilege to have been named for our grandparents.
Those cousins can live with at least two Franks in the family. Honor your uncle! -- ONE OF A DOZEN ROSES (MY MOTHER'S TERM FOR ME)
DEAR ROSE: I'll resist the temptation to add, "... with mustard and relish." Italians are not the only ethnic group who honor relatives by naming their children after them. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When my Danish immigrant forebears scattered from Minnesota throughout the West, many wished to remember a beloved relative, William Hansen. Children and grandchildren were named after him.
In the late 1950s, we had a family reunion at Uncle Bill's farm near Brainerd, Minn. After a big midday farm dinner, my Great-Aunt Jessie called from the back porch, "Bill Hansen come here now!"
Abby, six males aged 5 to 65 came running. It was a hoot -- and I'll never forget it. To "In a Bind," I say, "It's a family name -- share." -- KATHRYN HANSEN, WILLIAMSBURG, VA.
DEAR KATHRYN: There's wisdom in those words. I second the motion.