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clare dunn

What's in a Name?

Mine's plain enough, two words, two syllables. I've been using it for nearly thirty-seven years with no complaints. But that's not all there is…

My birth certificate - the very first document ever recorded about me - says “Baby Girl Martineau.” And on that day in August, 19something, it was the perfect descriptor.

A day later, my name was Clare Anne Martineau, chosen for me by my French Father and Italian Mother. I was born on Saint Clare's Day, hence my first name was cast in stone for all eternity. My middle name is a tribute to my sweet Auntie Ann, whom I loved dearly, and whose memory I shall cherish forever. And “Martineau” is a fine family name of Canadian origins that has only a few past indiscretions attached to it. This moniker brought me through my school years with just a few “Bare Clare's” and “Hey, Fartineau's”. I hated it. All my friends had ‘cute’ names like Julie, Angela, and Debbie, and the only ‘Claire’ I ever knew was my friend's mother.

Then it came time to make a Catholic rite of passage, and to choose a “Confirmation Name.” A Saint's name is preferable. What I chose had no Saintly connotations, which was good because I was hardly Saintly. I left the church as “Clare Anne Arlene Martineau.” I was happy because it was the first time I had a say in how I was titled. No one ever used it at all, however, and I think even the people in my family will be surprised to learn about it.

The next change was also my choice. I married a wonderful young man, Jerry Dunn, and took his name with pride. Then we gave it to our two sons, Michael and Robert, who have since passed it on to their children, Nicholas, Julia and Madison.

Clare Dunn. How well does this describe a French/Italian from Rhode Island? Let's put it this way…people constantly quip “Gee, you don't LOOK Irish!”

Yet, this is the name the government, my co-workers and my bank knows me by. And it serves well. But the names that DESCRIBE me come from my family and friends…‘Sweetheart’, ‘Mom’, ‘Nanny’, ‘Sis’…‘Crystal’, ‘Precious’, and my all time favorite “Dum-dee-dum Dunn.”  Now THAT'S a NAME!!!

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