Alexander, Alexandra, Alex, Ale & AndongSunday, July 28, 2019
Often asked is, “What’s in a name?” I have a particular fondness for this question when it is concerned around my middle name Alejandro.
When I was born my father’s older sister Aunt Ines wanted to be my godmother as she adored my mother. But in a then very Roman Catholic Argentina the idea that a divorced and then remarried woman could be a surrogate mother was unacceptable. So her daughter Inesita O’Reilly Kuker became my godmother and first cousin at the same time. And she was an excellent surrogate.
Aunt Ines’s second husband was a very Argentine man from the Province of Mendoza. His name was Alejandro Ariosa. This is why my middle name is Alejandro.
My father was George but by 1942 there was a strict prohibition in giving new-born children names that could not be translated into Spanish.
And so my birth certificate has me a Jorge Alejandro Waterhouse-Hayward (and in Mexico my mother’s name de Irureta Goyena was added to all my Mexican documents.
When our first born saw the light at the British-American Hospital in the Tacubaya neighbourhood of Mexico City Rosemary suggested we call her Alexandra Elizabeth (Rosemary is Rosemary Elizabeth).
By the time Alexandra was 6 or 7 her friends and neighbours called her Ale (pronounced Aleh) and she has been just that since.
When we moved to our new Kerrisdale house with a large corner garden in 1986 there were a few roses in a centre bed. One was an orange/red Hybrid Tea Rose called Alexander. I found out it had been named after Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, KG, GCB, OM, GCMG, CSI, DSO, MC, CD, PC, who had been a brilliant general in Africa during WWII. And, interesting to me, too is that he was the 17th Governor General of Canada.
Recently my Rosemary purchased an English Rose, Rosa ‘The Alexandra Rose’. In a previous blog here I have written about Rosa “Princess Alexandra of Kent’ here, here and here. Rosemary wants to give the rose to Ale who lives in Lillooet. I became curious about the name of this rose. In a site I did not know until now that it existed called Wikimedia Commons I found out that the rose is called for what must be an English charity, Alexandra Rose Day charity.
Not very romantic use of a name. But the rose in its five petals and in rose parlance is a lovely single.
In my mother’s Manila anybody called Alex or Alexander is given the nick name Andong.