What's in a Name?

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What’s in a Name?

When I was a boy of eight
At the orphanage gate
They said
Little Tindale Weaver
You look like Beaver Cleaver
And we know that you’ll do just great

Well, in the strongest voice I could muster, as an eight-year-old child at an orphanage gate, I spoke up right then and there to say:

But my name is NOT ‘Tindale!’

I fear, however, that it came out
more like a weak little squeak,
something on the order of:

But my name is not ‘Tindale’

At any rate, they paid me no heed, and instead…
They enrolled me in their school
Where I learned about the joule
I recited catechism
Many truisms
And I met the Golden Rule

And I told ‘em, But my name is not ‘Tindale!’

Well, I wondered about my ma
Wondered about my pa
‘Cause it was an orphan home
And I went there all alone
But I wasn’t an orphan at all

And my name is not ‘Tindale!'

So I lined up for the mail
Chewed my fingernails
And I waited to feel better
By getting the letter
That would come to post my bail

‘Cause you never know what’ll show
Any time you open that mailbox door
So I focus my brain on being misnamed
Think of Tora, Tora, Tora and my mother’s shame
Oh, who’s to bless and who’s to blame
Well, bless my soul, I can’t name no names
I’ll just read my mail and stay out of the rain

Well, the orphan life became
Ten years much the same
And the whole danged time
That I called the home mine
They misspelled my doggoned name

And that name, it ain’t ‘Tindale!’

It was embossed on Bibles black
And inscribed on many a plaque
I told them and I told them
And, once, I thought I’d sold them
But that name kept coming back

And that name still ain’t ‘Tindale!’

I said My  name is ‘TINDLE,’ Hey!
It hasn’t got an “a”
But every time
I think victory’s mine
That name survives the fray

And that name sure ain’t Tindale!

Well Tindale stuck like glue
And when my schooling was through
I went out in the world
I moved in with a girl
Then our mail said Tindale too

‘Cause you never know what’ll show
Any time you open that mailbox door
So I focus my brain on being misnamed
Think of Tora, Tora, Tora and my mother’s shame
Oh, who’s to bless and who’s to blame
Well, bless my soul, I can’t name no names
I’ll just read my mail and stay out of the rain

One fateful day, recently
I wrote the home to say

Please send my file –
Even if it’s thick as a mile -
Of my 10-year orphan stay

When that file arrived in the mail
Addressed, of course, to
Tindale
Well, shut my wide mouth
And send me way south
What I read there soon turned me pale

You see, such files were never seen by us
As kids, nope, not one teen of us
Now the IQ scores I held shouted
They bombastically touted
You’re a certified genius!

But that was nothing to what I read next
As I stared hollow-eyed at the text
Of the forms that Mom had submitted
To the orphanage before they fitted
The “a” to my name that had so vexed

Ah-h-h, it seems that I got chained
To that blasted Tindale name
Because Mom got so distraught
At losing me, the thought…

(spoken)….had made her unable to concentrate well enough to fill out the application for my admission to the orphanage, or to notice that the inattentive bureaucrat who completed the form in her stead repeatedly added that “a” to my name, page after page.  Mom had been so overwhelmed by it all that she had… signed at the bottom and sealed my fate

‘Cause you never know what’ll show
Any time you open that mailbox door
So I focus my brain on being misnamed
Think of Tora, Tora, Tora and my mother’s shame
Oh, who’s to bless and who’s to blame
Well, bless my soul, I can’t name no names
I’ll just read my mail and stay out of the rain

But wait, clutch your hat
I found much more than that
For next I read
The date my parents had wed
And it bombed me where I sat

December 7th, ’51?
Annie, get your gun
That’s the tenth anniversary
Of that day in infamy
When Pearl Harbor was undone

Oh, inauspicious date
How weird a twist of fate
But then - like a bigger bomb –
A new jolt came along
And gave me this to contemplate…

December 7th, ’51?…
Three months later I was born!
So in all my fuss to kill Tindale’s “
a”
I was barely legal, as they say,
And blessed to even have a last name

‘Cause you never know what’ll show
Any time you open that mailbox door
So I focus my brain on being misnamed
Think of Tora, Tora, Tora and my mother’s shame
Oh, who’s to bless and who’s to blame
Well, bless my soul, I can’t name no names
I’ll just read my mail and stay out of the rain

Oh, I’ll just read my mail and…
Change my name

 

Dusk:  Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
DeDe Vogt:  Electric Bass Guitar
Linda Bolley:  Drums
Lee Davis:  Electric Piano

Ya gotta love it, and I declare that it all actually happened as written.  What the song does not tell you, however, is how tightly bonded we orphanage brothers and sisters are, and how much the others mean to me.  In the 128-year history of Thornwell Orphanage, more than 40,000 of us have become siblings of the heart.

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This site was last updated 04/25/06