Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: My Name

Once again I'm participating in the almost, in her fantasties anyway famous Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. 

One of the prompts this week is, "What is your name?  How did your parents give you that name? Sounds pretty boring, no?  Well, I'm here to tell you that my name is not quite that boring.  In fact, it just may be the most interesting thing about me.  How pathetic.

As a child I really kind of hated my name.  Back then I wanted to be like all the other kids with common names like Amy and Stephanie and Erica.  But no, I had this name that everyone pronounced as "Justin".  But then my Mom told me the story of how I came to be Justine and I slowly but surely came to appreciate it.  I even got upset the few times in my life I met another Justine.  I'm just glad my name isn't very common, especially because all creativity went out the window, first with my brother, Jeff, then with my sister, Jill.  Blah!

So here's how I came to be named Justine.

My mom was born in 1945, so, many hours of her teenage life were spent in front of the TV watching American Bandstand.  She once told me that she would rush home from school so she wouldn't miss watching her favorite show, and most especially, her favorite regular dance couple on Dick Clark's American Bandstand,  Bob Clayton and Justine Carelli.

There she is, in 1957, my namesake, Justine.

Here's a little bit I found about them on the web:

Justine Carelli and Bob Clayton were the dream couple of the show, the star struck lovers. Justine started dancing on Bandstand in 1956, when she was still in junior high school. She spent almost an hour, five days a week, on the fifteen-mile bus ride from her  school to the WFIL studios just to dance. Meanwhile, in Wilmington, Delaware, a young high school school student, Bob Clayton, was watching the show and falling in love with Justine. He made his way to the show in 1957 and asked Justine to dance. Letters poured  in, and Justine and Bob became the most popular and best known couple on the show. The couple was on magazine covers, in newspaper articles, and appeared at scores of dances and shows. In 1960, they added singing to their partnership, cutting two records.

Mom told me that she decided as a young girl that her first baby girl would be named Justine, after her favorite AB dancer, and 13 years later I was born.

I look just like her, right?

Okay, not.

Anyway, I've often wished that I'd been a child of the 50s.  What an incredible time it must have been, with so many changes happening in the world and such a sense of innocence for teenagers.  Yes, that innocence was probably just an illusion of the time, but I still wish I could have experienced it.

As it was, I feel lucky that I was born at a time when American Bandstand would also become a part of my childhood, just as it was for my mother.  The styles changed and that sense of propriety was a thing of the past, but at least I can say I shared a mutual love of something my mother enjoyed as a child.

Thank you Dick Clark.  Both for my name and for the enjoyment you've always brought to my family.

Btw... people still pronounce it Justin!!!

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

21 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • blueviolet

    Now that's cool that there's a story behind your name! Probably most people can't say that!

  • Anonymous

    What a great story. Jill, blah? I think not.


  • Shannon


    I have a boring story about my name:

    They were pretty sure I was going to be a boy... and picked out the name "Michael Shawn".

    When I popped out a girl, my mom just took the feminine forms of the names they had already chosen. And I guess "Shannon Michelle" sounded a lot better than "Michelle Shannon".

    Yeah, real original...

  • bj

    i think Justine is a cute name...
    living as a teen in the 50's wasn't an illusion of the was downright wonderful..
    I said coffee OR tea in my blog...
    I STILL like canned chinese food..
    I have never, even once tasted canned corn beef...
    Google Franklin stove and see that it is also called a FIREPLACE...
    **'s things?
    Come over and I'll make ya a sugar free cinnamon puff !

  • 9405018--Pat

    what a great post today..thanks for sharing...Pat H

  • Amy

    You know when I was growing up, and through high school, I only knew two Amy's. I've never known a Justine until I found your blog. Come to think of it.. I have no idea how I got my name. Funny how that has never come up. I think I'll call my mom today and get to the bottom of that one. I'm thinking it won't be quite as interesting as yours though.

  • Life with Kaishon

    I think that is SO so SO cool! I love it Justin. I mean Justine! : ) I love your picture too! So pretty! : )

  • Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy

    That's definitely a great story - way better than mine! I wonder whatever happened to your namesake and her sweetheart...

    Stopping by from Mama Kat's Writers Workshop!

  • Lolli

    Really? People pronounce it Justin?! Silly people. I loved hearing where your name came from. It's funny how we all end up with our particular names.

  • Lolli

    PS--you're much cuter.

  • Ashley @ The Happy Little Home

    I love your story and totally agree about being a child of the 50's :)

  • Jenn

    That is a really neat story! It's nice that you share that with your Mom.

  • Anonymous

    OMG, you were named after "THE" Justine. I loved her. I rushed home from school every day so I could see what she was wearing that day. Now, I'm going to go stab myself cause I'm even older than your MOM. WAAAAAAAAAAAA.

    Love Ya,

  • Grand Pooba

    I like the name Justine! My parents were not creative with our names. My dad saw a street named called "Chad Street" So my brother was named Chad. When I was little my mom lied to me and said that they named me after a wonderful person they knew who's name was Kally. Yeah, totally not true.

  • Ginger

    Your mom and I were born in the same year. I was a huge fan of bandstand too. And of course, Justine and Bob. Thats also where I fell in love with Fabian and Frankie Avalon.
    How cool to be named after someone from bandstand. How did you get her email address? I hope she writes you back. I am betting she does.
    Yep, growing up in the 50's and 60's was a special time, especially the 60's. Wish I could go back and live it all over again.
    What month was your mom born?

  • Rachelle

    Wow! How cool to have such a great, inspiring story behind your name! Thanks for sharing Justine!

  • Sassy Pants Freckle Face

    Amazing and breathtaking <3

  • elzimmy

    I'm kind of blown away that people pronounce it as "Justin." Clearly the 'E' is not there for looks alone.

  • Resh Rene`

    Such similarities!! I always wanted a "normal" name, and personalized pencils...try finding RECIA on anything is impossible!! There is a back story to my name too, which I have always had to explain to everyone because that is the most common question..."So where did your parents get your name, I've never heard it?" LOL maybe I'll link up with Mama Kat's writers workshop...sounds like fun!

  • Four in Costa Rica

    I went to high school with a girl named Justine. I'm surprised so many people mess your name up--remember Justine Bateman from Family Ties? She was relatively well-known in the '80s.

    Anyway, love your name and hey, it kind of rhymes with mine, so how can you lose? ;)

    Queen Christine

  • Sue

    People call Justine, Justin? That is ridiculous! I love your name and I don't know anyone else with it. So that means you are special (in a good way)!