Savannah Morning News
Nov. 19, 2017
Is it just me or does it seem as if there are an inordinate number of babies around these days, slung on a daddy’s back, snug against a mama’s chest, tucked in a walker? They’re everywhere. At the Saturday Forsyth Farmer’s Market, in Daffin park, on the streets. More fathers with babies too (fathers without jobs? Perhaps).
With all the mishigas (that would be craziness) in the world, people – smart people – still have enough faith in the future to introduce another soul into the mix. Imagine putting down on a form “2017” as the year you were born. And they’re having more than one child, too. Two, three. They just keep popping them out.
The most popular names for girls this year? Emma, Ava, Olivia, Sophia. Must be something about words ending in an “a”. Just to prove a point the next three are Isabella, Mia and Amelia. Three more “a”s on the end. Boys? Liam, Noah, Logan, Lucas. Three out of four starting with an “l,” followed by Mason, Ethan, Oliver.
No one-syllable names. No Bob, John, Ted or Jim. No Jane either, until you get down to number 288. Boo-hoo. No Nancy, Suzy, Marcy or Judy, either – the names of my four high school friends from the sixties. Paisley, however, is ranked number 43, after Skylar, Aurora and Savannah and before Lillian, Brooklyn (not to be confused with Brooklynn, who comes in at 170) and Hazel. For the record I don’t know anyone with those names (well, maybe Savannah but she changed it).
No Rose either (that was my mother’s name) or any of the names of my aunts: Betty, Dorothy, Mildred, Trudy. No Celia or Eva (my grandmothers’ names). No Beverly (my mother’s best friend) or Dolly, Jeanette or Loris (her bridge partners).
Certainly, on the boys’ side, no Mannie (that was my father’s name) or Herman, Mickey or Ben (his brothers) or Harry, Saul or Lou (my uncles). No Lou-from-Windsor, either. He was another uncle, not to be confused with Lou (from Detroit). Even those names speak to another generation.
I could worry about these babies. How will they learn to tie their shoes with Velcro around? What about telling time non-electronically, with just a second hand and a minute hand? Will they still do cartwheels? Will the almighty dollar hold the same allure?
But I’m not worried about them. I look at them and I’m hopeful. I’m betting they’ll be against conspicuous consumption. We already know the happiest people are those making $75,000 a year. Any more than that introduces stress and the need for more.
I’m thinking these babies when all grown up will live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars and live in smaller towns. They may share houses. Money will not be such an issue. They’ll call storage units stupid and wasteful. They’ll wonder why we don’t have more and wider bike paths, more buses. They’ll look at the bottle neck in Pooler and say, “What’s the matter with you people?”
They’ll think it’s ridiculous we don’t teach music and art in school. Every day. “What were you thinking?”
They’ll wonder why there are so few statues of women, why out of 6,900 outdoor statues, 555 – nine percent – are women. In the National Park system there are 152 monuments dedicated to women; three (two percent) are historic women figures.
I hate to be around when they see how we bungled health care. By the time they’re adults it will be “Medicare for all.” It’s the only logical way to go. People not on Medicare don’t understand how easily it works. All the other options will seem wasteful, discriminating and thick-headed. Get ready. They’ll be saying, “You mean you let the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance mavens run the show? Shame on you, mom. Bad, dad.”
They’ll look at our prison systems and say, “Don’t you see it’s just money-makers for those in small towns? That all those petty miscreants you incarcerated with a joint or two will come out practiced, hard-core criminals? Is that what you meant to do? You mean you didn’t teach them anything when you had them there, a captured audience? They just watched television all day and worked out? Then when they got out they could never vote again? Ludicrous.”
They’re not mine, these babies, but seeing them gives me hope and this from someone who wavers somewhere between joy and despair. Maybe it’s the blue sky today or the cooler temperatures or the thought of Thanksgiving but somehow I’m feeling a light at the end of the Trumpian tunnel. You watch. These babies will have our backs. They’ll be eating more garbanzo beans than meat. They’ll be turning front yards into vegetable gardens and side yards into orchards. They’ll be growing more lemons, more oranges, more fuyu persimmon than they know what to do with. They’ll be sporting bumper stickers that say, “I’m already against the next war.” They’ll be sharing.
A girl can hope.