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Friday, July 24, 2015

Luke, I Am Your Father, Atticus. A First Family Changes Their Kid's Name

Okay. The first one has happened. Disturbed by the publication of Harper Lee's new/old novel, Go Set a Watchman, where the heroic, saintly Atticus Finch of To Kill A Mockingbird  joins the Klan, (briefly) and foments rebellion against integration and the NAACP, a couple from Colorado, David and Christen Epstein have changed their baby, Atticus' name to Lucas, Luke for short.

David and Christen Epstein figure little Atticus--er--Luke--won't notice that his name went from three to two syllables. Big sister, Ayala, is already pretty confused, but they're hoping that will wash out with time.

I get this. I totally do. We adopted a dog once who we thought was named Tonto. That was going to have to change. (Turned out he wasn't named Tonto, but Rover, so we were okay, and Rover remains unconfused to this day.)

Harpo Marx was born Adolf, but changed his name to Arthur. And when one of my great-grandparents got super sick, her parents changed her name--so as to confuse the angel of death. (Angel flies down, looking for "Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary. . . Oh, that's Jane. Nope." And flies away.) It worked.

Still, really? Because there are two versions of a fictional character?

I used to wonder at all the little Atticus' running around. If the model for Atticus was really Amasa Coleman Lee, (Harper Lee's real father) why not name these kids Amasa?

Still, best of luck to little Lucas and his big sister, Ayala. Someday, I hope he meets both of his honorary fathers, from both Harper Lee books. And at least he's not named like the kids we met at the pool the other day, siblings named River, Ocean and Stream. 

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