A Saturday stroll through a Pioneer cemetery on the Secret Coast that doubled as a museum of old American names provoked some ruminations:
First, they poured a lot of concrete and laid a lot of marble to mark the dead. It seems like such a waste of time and materials.
How does a first name come into general use and then pass away into oblivion? What changes in our culture for a name to fall into disuse or one to skyrocket in popularity so that a teacher has five Ashleys in one classroom?
Who knows? Perhaps a new movie or reality show star takes off. A sports star or a cartoon character. A doll or rap mogul. Someone who dies for a good cause.
Perhaps Americans were duller a century ago. Perhaps less pretentious. Perhaps everything connected into our current destructive vainglory as a nation is somehow connected to these new names.
Something else to ponder: Certain Old Testament names have vanished while others remain. (e.g. Aaron versus Moses, Rachel versus Ruth). Why? Why? Why?
Let us consider the names etched into quasi permanence into the concrete and marble in a tiny disheveled cemetery that evinced no charm nor morbidity. Even the crows seemed indifferent.
Effie and Elvin (married)
Why did these names fade away? Don’t we need a return to Elmer and Estelle? Yes, it seems we do.