The Story of My Name

Kevin is an Irish name, but, while I do have Irish ancestry, the reason I have that name has more to do with my parents' names. Keith and Kathleen had three children: Kyle, Kevin, and Kelly. So it was a foregone conclusion that I would have a K name, but which K name? Both Kevin and Kristopher had been discussed. When the nurse came into the room to record my name, my father was out of the room, and my mother gave the name Kevin.

According to my father, Kevin had been discussed and discarded. The main reason was that Kevin is similar to Keith, and my father had been called Kevin by people after introducing himself as Keith. I have had the converse of this happen to me, so I understand it.

However, according to my mother, the name Kevin had never been discarded. She tells me that another objection that my father had to the name was that is sounds like a rough-and-tumble name, someone who was going to be a hellion, high-energy and inquisitive, always getting into trouble. My mother agreed about the feel of the name, and thats what she liked about it. She also didn't like the name Kristopher. She thought that it was too long, and that I would have a hard time writing it when I got to kindergarten.

When I was born, my mother just knew I wasn't a Kristopher. I was a Kevin. She gave the nurse the name, sat back, and felt good about the name. When my father came back to the room, she said "Well, I chose the baby's name, and guess what?"

One of the other things my parents liked about Kevin as a first name was how it went with the middle name they had chosen for me. They had decided to give middle names to their children after their parents. My parents had settled on Kyle as a first name for my older brother. In choosing between my grandfathers, Edward won out, since it would be a one-syllable first name with a two-syllable middle name. That left me with James, so Kevin worked for having a two-syllable first name with a one-syllable middle name.

(It has nothing to do with my name, but it is interesting to note that my sister's middle name is Ruth, not Zelda, having been given one of my paternal grandmother's middle names, which she went by, rather than her first name, which no one ever used.)

My last name is a hybrid. Jackson from me, Mead from my wife. We had both though of combining our names, but I was the one who first suggested it, which pleased my mother-in-law immensely. My wife and I both felt we wanted to have the same last name, and neither of us felt that one of us keeping our name and one of us losing our name was the right thing to do. Jackson-Mead has the stressed-unstressed-stressed pattern, so it was preferred to Mead-Jackson. Now that we're (almost) divorced, I'm keeping the name. It's the only name I've known as an adult, and it just feels right. I also like having a unique name, having spent the beginning of my life without one. My mother recently told me that the reason she kept the name Jackson after her divorce was because she wanted to have the same last name as her kids, so she was glad that I at least kept the name as part of my name. And with my brother having died and my sister having changed her name after getting married, I'm the last of this branch to keep the name alive.

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Last modified: 01 August 2003