Your Name is Your Brand...

 

Anyone who has named a child  -- or even a pet -- has probably done so with thoughtful deliberation, perhaps decisively and without argument, or perhaps after much soul-searching. Who are you? we ask of our unborn babies, knowing fully that the answer would reveal itself once we laid eyes upon our newborn. Ah, but of course, it is you! we think at that moment, as if the child -- and his name -- had been there all along.

 

Our names say a lot about us, many times setting expectations we can live up to -- or not -- so we have to choose carefully. The characters in  House Key are no exception.

 

Feel free to draw your own conclusions about the ways in which the names fit their respective bearers below:

 

Jordan -- Hebrew for "the descending" also brings to mind the symbolic crossing of the river Jordan to freedom

 

Santiago -- Spanish derived from Hebrew for "Jacob", combining "santo" for saint and "Yago" for James to form Saint James, the patron Saint of Spain

 

Jenn -- the English diminutive for "Jennifer" from the Welsh or Cornish form of Guinevere/Gwenhwyfar, best known from Arthurian legend

 

Stephen -- Esteban in Spanish, Stephen comes from the Greek, meaning "crown" or "victorious", but is more closely associated with St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr

 

Deirdre -- Irish from from the older Gaelic mythological name, Derdriu, has come to mean "sorrow" or "lament" for the heroine of the pre-Christian Irish tragedy, The Ulster Cycle

 

Emaline -- Latin or Germanic for "peaceful home; rival; laborious; eager"

 

King -- a noun used as a name invokes the qualities expected of a king; that he be a leader of others, that his character be immutable, that he be one who exhibits fortitude in the face of adversity,  whose mindset is to prevail and protect

 

Glenfinch -- From the Scottish "glen", and "finch", a seed-eating passerine songbird, the combination of which suggests the bearer has the qualities of a bountiful safe haven

 

Tobias -- Greek version of the Hebrew biblical name "Toviyah" (טוביה), meaning "The goodness of God"

 

Evangeline -- Greek for "bearer of good news"

 

Gaston -- French for "stranger"

 

Abooksigun -- Algonquin for "wildcat"

 

Kitchi -- Algonquin for "brave"

 

Morrigan -- Celtic for "war goddess" who could take the form of a crow

 

Leif -- Scandinavian for "heir", "descendant", or "beloved one"; whereas, Leith in Scottish is "broad, wide river"

 

Dekanawida -- Algonquin for "two rivers running together"

 

Nadie -- Algonquin for "wise"

 

Mika -- Algonquin for "the knowing raccoon"

 

Rosslyn -- Celtic, in which the word "ross" means promontory or moor, and "celyn" holly; hence, Rosslyn means "the waterfall over the edge" or "moor where holly grows"

 

Daniel -- Hebrew for "God is my judge", Daniel is the Biblical prophet of 600 B.C. who was held captive in Babylon and interpreted the king's dreams

 

Crowley -- Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Cruadhlaoich "descendant of Cruadhlaoch", a personal name composed of the elements cruadh "hardy" and laoch "hero", also the family name of the English welder who made a fortune manufacturing iron shackles for the American slave trade

 

Philip -- Greek for "lover of horses", King Philip of Macedon also happened to be the father of Alexander the Great

 

Louise -- Germanic for "fame, loud, fighter"

 

Paloma -- Spanish for "dove" from the Latin "palumbus", a symbol of peace

 

Blake -- English from the surname, "Blakeley", or "one from the dark meadow"

 

Kelly -- Irish for "warrior"

 

Travis --  English for "crossing", "crossroads", or "traverser", as in one who collects tolls at a bridge or a crossing

 

Jolene -- Hebrew for "she will increase"

 

Ruby -- Latin for "precious jewel"

 

 

Watkins Glen Rainbow Waterfalls, photograph by Mark Papke

Watkins Glen in upstate New York is one of those serene spots on earth where the magic permeating the air is almost palpable. It's a glen with a crossing, with promontories and waterfalls. A place where rivers come together, it is surely a safe haven for songbirds that dwell in the holly. Whether Celtic, Native American or otherwise, its ancient beauty speaks to the soul in its own sacred language.