Tag Archives: when music history overlaps our personal history

Namesake

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia.

Julia, Julia, oceanchild, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
Julia, seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia.

Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering
In the sun

Julia, Julia, morning moon, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Julia.

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind, Julia.

Julia, sleeping sand, silent cloud, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Julia.

Hum hum hum hum, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia, Julia, Julia.

“Julia” by The Beatles

The only significant thing that my father ever gave me is also the best thing that my father ever gave me: my name. (“My dad he gave me a name/Then he walked away” ~Father Of Mine by Everclear.) Instead of being the little miss of another female, I am a namesake of a song. That part doesn’t bother me. Sure, it’s a little weird, but also a little cool.

Of course, it took quite a long time for me to have any appreciation for my name at all. In fact, I used to hate it, back when that strong word had too much bearing in my head and heart, and got entirely too much usage vocally, as I threw it around recklessly, the damaged youth that I was…

What did bother me is that in spite of simply siring me but not being a real and constant presence in my life, my father put a permanence on me in being the one to have thought of what to name me. This was a double-fold situation, as I also despised my maiden name (and still do), and even if I had never found real love, (I did, though, thankfully) I might have gotten married just to escape it. I guess I should count my lucky stars I wasn’t born male — would I have had an opportunity to change my surname then? I suppose I would have had it legally changed anyhow. I can only creatively pontificate on what reasons I would have produced for doing so.

In spite of very directly asking my mother the short story behind my name, I never connected to also question directly if she had any girls’ names in mind and what they were. In any case, while pregnant and after finding out that they were having a girl, my mother asked my father about names. He must have been giving it some thought. Although, the surer bet is that she asked him while he was listening to The Beatles, with a possibility that “Julia” was playing from the vinyl recording setup in our dining room.

Julia is one of those names that seems to go through a resurgence every now and again. Plenty of women share my name, a few of them quite well known, whether deceased or living: Julia Child, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, et cetera. (Then there is a particular fictional Julia, of the film The Wedding Singer, whose creation made high school oh, so much harder to deal with! Thanks for that, writer of said motion picture!)

In the congregation of the last church that I belonged to — not only before heading off to college, but forever since — was a family that looking back I don’t believe I knew very well, but all the same seemed sweet, kind, and loving to each other, as well as to everyone else. My hazy memory swears they were the Timlins. The Timlin family had several children — maybe four — when along came another babe, a girl, whom they named Julia Rose. Rose after her grandmother. Julia after me? Seems arrogant to stand by that as truth, but I think the parents did like my name. Really though, they had probably heard it before, as it seems a good chance that they could have also been Beatles fans at one point or another.

Then there are times that if I threw a stone, I could easily hit another Julia with it. Like last weekend. At our local Wegman’s, our cashier was a Julia. When I pointed this out, it became clear that I cared about it more than she did. Whatever. Was she named after The Beatles track, as well? Probably not. Yes, that is pride you are reading. Because not all Julia’s are Beatles Julia’s.

For any one that doesn’t know, the story behind the song is tragic. John Lennon wrote it about his mother, Julia, who was killed in 1958 after being struck by a car when John was an adolescent. (Wikipedia has what I found to be a very interesting write-up confirming this, which includes further detail about his family. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_(The_Beatles_song). Even so, I find both the song and the reasons it exists very beautiful.

The love he carried to his own grave for his mother — who directly influenced his interest in music with her own —  is apparent when you listen to the track. Heck, I think it’s even quite palpable just reading over the lyrics! But I feel that the tune acquires a haunting quality once you know the inspiration behind its composition.

The Beatles weren’t the only ones to pen a song about some lovely named Julia. I am hyper aware of several because a few years back — when I realized I had stopped despising my name and had transitioned into beginning to like it — I went internet hunting. Two of the best that I had found were “Julia” by The Eurythmics (which still tickles me as I have huge respect and love for Annie Lennox) for the soundtrack to the motion picture 1984, which they did the whole of , and “Julia” by Pavlov’s Dog, a 1970s progressive rock band that, even though I am fairly eclectic at times with my musical tastes, I might not have ever learned of their existence otherwise.

I guess you could say that this is one of those instances where positive has been drawn out of something originating from a bitter place.

can only speak my mind.

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