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  • Writer's pictureDiana McDaniel Hampo

What's My Name

Updated: Mar 18

Names, first names, are funny. They mean so much to us, they often establish our identiy and linage.

In the mid 1960s Muhammad Ali, (I believe is/was a saint or angle),beat Ernie Terrell mersisaraly because in pre-fight interviews and during the early rounds of their fight in the Houston Astrodome, Terrell wouldn't call Ali by his chosen name. Instead he kept calling him Cassius Clay. Maybe Ernie thought this would mess with Ali's head and help in in the fight. He was mistaken.

Ali was pissed and beat Terrell round after round. Critics were upset: it was obvious Ali could have finished easly at any point. But the Champ wanted to punish Ernie Terrell, and that's what he did, round after round after round., all the while, yelling or whispering to Ernie, "What's my name?"

In my family in Hot Springs, Arkansas names were a big deal in the 1960s. Everyone in my family circle, all my brothers and cousins, my parents and grandparents were named after family members. That's just how it was done. My oldest brother Granger was named after my dad and grand father on my dad's side. My other brother, Jack was named after our grandfather, Jack Stell, on my mom's side. He was a surgeon.

And I did exactly the same thing, naming all four of our kids after family members, Alex's or mine.. It was important to us.

My name, Diana, was inexplicable. Nobdoy had ever been named Diana in the family. I should have been Ann, Ruth, Edith or Camille. Where the hell did Diana come from?

Growing up, I was always told they wanted to name me Suzanne. But my parents dear friend, Ray Smith's daughter was born first and she got Suzanne. If I'd been a boy I would have been Beauregard Lee or Irven Granger Gertrudeo, both tracable in our family tree.

But Diana, where did that come from? My middle name is Ross, my grandmother's maiden name. so that made sense. Although my parents never anticipated the rise of the brilliant Diana Ross and the Supremes.. But that was just fine with me.

It wasn't until I was in my 50s a wonderful young Architectual Historian for the State of Arkansas uncoverd a fascinating story.

In WWII my father, I Granger McDaniel, was an RAF Captian of a Short Stirling bomber and was shot down by the Germans over the North Sea. After three miserable and desperate days, my dad and his two remaining crewmembers were picked up by a Dutch fishing boat....... named "The Dania".

In a post from the 218 Gold Coast RAF, a historian wrote " After three days afloat the Danish fishing boat E 28 “Dania” out of Esbjerg chanced upon the crew at around 15:30 hours position 21 miles to the north west of Gasbøjen (the entrance to Esbjerg harbour). The Dania’s Skipper Marinus Christensen pulled alongside the dinghy and took aboard the three bedraggled airman who were by now starting to show signs of exposure, safely aboard the Dania headed to her home port."

So, it seems, maybe that's where my name came from. I'll never know 100 percent, But I feel the chances are pretty good.

Bottom line, take time to tell your children about their names. It does mean something, Infact it means a great deal. I would give just about anything if my dad, who died when I was 16, ever took time to tell me the story of my name. But he didn't.

My folks didn't leave me much, but that would have been a magnificent gift. So take time to talk, take time to tell. It will mean so much


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