Childhood Memories Friday: An Abundance of Susans

Childhood Memories Friday

It’s happening more and more frequently. I’ll be at a fast-food place, and when they ask for my name, and I say, “Susan,” I get a confused look.

“Can you spell that?”


Really, I find this hard to believe. But, I’ll admit it’s been quite some time since I’ve heard of a baby named Susan.

When I was a child, there were often multiple Susans in classes. At some places, there were so many that I couldn’t even just be “Susan B.” I had to be “Susan Ba” to differentiate me from “Susan Bl.” It was quite identity-destroying 🙂

But really, has it been so long ago that today’s teens and 20-somethings aren’t even aware of the name? Yesterday I got, “Is that Suzanne?” I thought a moment and then just nodded. It wasn’t worth the discussion.

It’s interesting the way names, like fashions, cycle. I have named my own three girls charmingly “retro” names, which are in style now. However, some names don’t seem to make quite the comeback. I haven’t seen too many Hildas, Arnolds, or Bernieces out there on preschool rosters. One of these days, I assume that Susan, Nancy, Debbie, and Barbara will pop back into style, to be followed by another generation of Jennifers and Kims. Not just yet, though — it hasn’t been long enough for the names to become nouveau-chic. Now, they’re just … old.

popular baby names 1959

Today’s names seem to be made up of a little bit of everything. There are certainly many names of classmates of my kids that I can’t pronounce, so I suppose I should cut some slack to all those out there who are baffled by Susan.

What about you? Was your name common at the time you were given it? Is it common now? Names are always a fun topic, so sound off in the comments.


5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: An Abundance of Susans

  1. I enjoyed reading about your name, a very popular one among the friends of my era. I have several close friends, including both my oldest friend from middle school to present day and also my college roommate, named Susan. My name, “Laurie,” was also quite popular. There were four people with my same first AND last name in my high school. “Lauren” has replaced “Laurie,” and even that name is fading. Perhaps my sixth grade teacher could see into the future. She insisted on calling me “Laura” all year because “Laurie” wasn’t a proper name. How annoying was that?

  2. I am amazed still that a very young girl at church is named Leona. That was Mother’s name and I did not expect it to make another appearance in this time. It seems some old names are coming back.

  3. When I was growing up in California, I was the only “Kristin”! There was a short moment in 6th grade, I believe, when we had another Kristin, but she didn’t last more than a year, and I was back to being the only one. However, I was surrounded by immigrants from China, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, Guatemala, etc.

    Then, I went to college in the Mid-west, and I realized EVERYONE was named Kristin. I had felt so unique growing up! It was weird meeting a bunch of Kristins and hearing my name called and having to realize it wasn’t always someone calling ME.

    Names are funny things. They cycle around and come back in fashion. Never would’ve guessed “Hazel” and “Eleanor” would be ‘cool’ again.

  4. I taught a Hilda in kindergarten a few years ago…..I am trying to convince some of my expecting friends to name their baby Jill…..with no success!

  5. Yes, the name cycle thing is very strange! Names that I hated as a young girl are now back in style. It was fun to read the comments above! My name is Leona, which was not even very popular way back then. My mother named me after her older sister’s best friend, so I had to be satisfied with it since the other Leona was such a nice person. 🙂 Wouldn’t you know there was actually another Leona in my first grade class! Hard to believe, huh?

    I think that I know why Laurie’s one teacher insisted on calling her Laura. It was probably due to the old song called LAURA, which was very beautiful and quite melancholy as well. It might have been popular as long ago as the 1940’s or longer ago???

    The name Kristin is a real favorite of mine, especially spelled your way. Many times I have seen Kristin spelled Kristen, and I much prefer the former spelling. Names are a funny thing, because at church when I was a young girl the really old members had names like Lillian (now gaining popularity again), Levi, Oscar, Margarite, and Hildreth. There was also a Ilo Jane and Ilo Faye. My best friend from first grade on through high school was named Judith, but everyone called her Judy. Judy reminds me that Judy Garland played Dorothy in Wizard of Oz in 1939, which was the year that we were born.

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