We named the baby yesterday. And believe me, when I way "we", I mean the “Royal We.”
My mother-in-law Maria Rizzo, God bless her teeth, called a family meeting at her house in the afternoon. She instructed all of us that, since We had been blessed with this new issue after fifteen years in which We had despaired of ever seeing another grandchild, it was only fitting that selecting a name for this little miracle should be something We should do together. Then, she instructed everyone to think of three appropriately grand names and write them down and deposit them in Grandpa's hat. You know the hat, the fedora he wears to weddings and funerals. She even supplied little pieces of paper so the folded bits would be uniform in the hat and no one could cheat towards a certain name.
Don't ask me why I sat there and let her do this. I was flabbergasted, but then the woman always leaves me speechless. She never even asked me if I had a name picked out for the child. For that matter, Carmie never asked me if I had a name for his daughter, never suggested one himself. We just never talked about names. Actually, I had been thinking about naming her for my grandmother, Annunciata. She was a wiry old raisin. Picked currants right along with the young ones right up till the end. Died in her sleep at the age of one hundred and three. She was always nice to me. Not too many people were nice to me when I was growing up. Anyway, I kind of thought I'd name the baby for old Annunciata. Could call her Nancy. That's a nice American sounding name.
Anyway, there I sat, watching the proceedings as if they had nothing to do with me, absolutely astounded into silence. Well, maybe I was too scared to speak up; too scared the old lady would do something to me. What she could do to me isn't exactly clear. But, regardless of why, I kept quiet and let the lottery continue. Naturally, there was a lot of bickering about names and this and that, and my mother-in-law had to keep them everybody in line. Gradually, everybody threw their three names in the hat, even La Signora herself, although Joey had to write hers down for her because you know she never learned to read or write. Actually, now that I think of it, I probably could have sabotaged her plan by reading the names I wanted to be there instead of the names that were written. She would never have known the difference! Too bad I didn't think of that yesterday!
Finally, after everyone had thrown their three names in the hat, Grandma commands me, "Va bene, yua da mama, yua picka da names!" I was to pick three names from the hat and the family would vote on the best, majority rule. And, of course, like a perfect lamb, I complied. I tell you, Carmella, sometimes I wonder about myself.
Well, the three names I picked were Posey, Chloe, and Geraldine. Honestly, at that point, I saw my life pass before my eyes. These were the three worst names in the world. How was I ever going to explain to my sweet little baby why I saddled her with a name like Posey? I was near panic. Mercifully, the scene that followed my announcement of those three fancy monikers was lost to me in my shocked state. Apparently, after a lot of hollering, Geraldine emerged as the lesser of the three evils and it was decided this would be the name. Then, Grandma spoke the name, “Gia-ral-da-deen", or something close to that, and everyone decided that was not such a good idea. There was a lot of discussion about Posey and Chloe, but even the ones who threw those names in didn't admit to doing it, so those names got eliminated.
After that, there was a lot of arguing about whether to pick another three names from the hat. Even my mother-in-law couldn't get them to agree on that subject. So, finally, Florence made a suggestion and everyone thought it sounded like a good idea. She suggested we turn on the radio (it was afternoon soap opera time) and name the baby the first name that came on. That appealed to that crowd. They liked the element of chance. I was still too numb to speak.
Everyone gathered very solemnly around the console radio Grandma has in her living room. She gave me the assignment of turning it on and tuning it in. Listen, at least, in some way, she was acknowledging that I was a pivotal part of this process. As we waited for the radio to warm up, I held my breath. What fate awaited my innocent young babe, sleeping so innocently and so anonymously in her bassinet in the kitchen. The sound came out of the radio and I recognized the voice of "Just Plain Bill" speaking. I had visions of my daughter, Wilhemina, entering kindergarten and being made the laughing stock because of her name. But, just then, Bill's daughter entered the scene and he greeted her, “Hello, Nancy dear, I'm glad you got here early” and my baby was saved.
Right now, Nancy and I are sitting in the living room, writing this letter to you. Nancy is asleep, but she asked me to ask you if you would be her Godmother. She said she couldn't imagine a better person to hold that special place in her life than her mother's best friend. She hopes you'll say yes.
She feels very blessed to be named for her great grandmother who lived to be one hundred and three. She says she'll be doubly blessed if you'll be her Godmother.
Let us know soon.
Love always,Eleanor and Nancy