Saturday, March 29, 2008

What's in a Name.

I like a lot of different kinds of music, but when I'm in the car and can pick my own station with no protest from the minions, I listen to a local classic rock station. I like to listen to music from my teen years, those years when I was isolated, and quiet, hidden away in my books, and full of dreams about the life that was waiting for me when I escaped my angry home. Now, 35 years later, I have the kind of life I hoped for. Sometimes I'll hear a song that drags my heart right back to myself when I was 15, and I wish that I could have had a glimpse of what my life was going to be at 50. I'd have been very comforted.
The station has had a 'station identification' blurb that they've used for years, when all the kids were still at home.
It goes something like
"Rock 103.1! We're not your mother's radio station!"
This never failed to have the kids rolling around in the car.
They were the ones always pleading with me to turn the station.
They hated Rock 103.1. It WAS their mother's radio station.
But I digress. After the boys went off to college, a strange thing happened. Dylan began to listen to classic rock. And it wasn't long before his laptop was filled with downloaded classic rock tunes. He called me one time.
"Mom, did you name me Dylan because you liked Bob Dylan?"
Now there's a loaded question. If he asks me, I'll say yes, he was indeed named after Bob Dylan, that eccentric charactor who could not sing a lick, but wrote wonderful poetry. I'm a big fan of words. 'Tangled up in Blue' remains one of my favorite songs of all times. However, if Dylan was to ask his father about his name, his father would tell him he was named after Dylan Thomas, the drunken Welsh poet. His father was well educated in Ivy League schools, and very proud of this fact. I decided that since he was talking to me, I'd tell him my version of the story.
"Yes, Dylan, you were named after Bob Dylan."
I could hear that Dylan was pleased with this fact.
He had some facts of his own though.
"Mom, did you know that Bob Dylan was a real druggie?"
He acted as if, now that I knew this, I'd be trying to re-name him.
I said, "Yes. I knew this."
It was a strange time in our history. Drug use was pretty rampant in that era. Seemed like everyone was smoking dope. I've always been pretty open about my own experimentation. I was a pot head for 6 months, and then got over it. I didn't like feeling stupid. I'd gone from 1st in my class to third from the bottom. I quit smoking dope, and graduated 3rd.
Dylan says thoughtfully, "So where did 'Christopher ' come from? We don't have any relatives named Christopher." He's hoping that his middle name can be ascribed to something equally as 'cool'. I said, "You were named after Christopher Robin in 'Winnie the Pooh' ". And I recited the line: 'But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.' I get teary eyed every time that I read this perfect description of a mother's memories of her grown up children's childhoods.
Long pause as Dylan digests this news. He's not nearly as pleased with the middle name as he was with the first name. "Um. Mom? We'll just make this our little secret, okay?"
And I've never told a soul.


Hal Johnson said...

I loved this post.

Our Dylan's middle name is Montgomery. And, he also seems to feel that his first name is cooler than the middle.

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Beautifully, beautifully written Debby. You have been smokin' lately, and not in a Bob Dylan kinda way! I could feel Dylan's earnest need to know the story of his name... I just hope he can sing better than the original. BD was slightly before my time, but I have also grown to appreciate his lyrics. A magician with words. And that is a powerful skill to have.

Alison said...

That's so kewl. I can just imagine a young man, oh so pleases with his Bob Dylan association, only to be knocked over with Winnie the Pooh.

jeanie said...

ha ha ha ha! My SIL was going to call her son Dylan all through her pregnancy, only to suddenly realise that Dillon associations these days might not make it so cool! (That and the thought of screeching "Dyl-an" many times had made her fall out of love).

debby said...

Oh,I wish I had thought of the screeching. He was a boy that often caused his mother to screech. Our mountains rang with the sound of 'dyyyyyyl-aaaaaan!'


I enjoyed your post a lot, Debbie.

And since you are clearly a fan of Dylan (reasons obvious), I thought I'd introduce you to my new novel, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, which I think you'd enjoy.

It's a murder-mystery. But not just any rock superstar is knocking on heaven's door. The murdered rock legend is none other than Bob Dorian, an enigmatic, obtuse, inscrutable, well, you get the picture...

Suspects? Tons of them. The only problem is they're all characters in Bob's songs.

You can get a copy on or go "behind the tracks" at to learn more about the book.