I once met a man at a meeting whose mother’s name was Beverly. Before my brain could stop my mouth I blurted out the story of my name Beverley – from the Beaver Meadows. Apparently not mortified enough at my impromptu disclosure and the man’s obvious embarrassment, I babbled on explaining that my Dad’s nickname growing up was Billy Beaver (I’ve never asked…) so my parents thought it would be cool to name me after him…… I know right?
I have actually fact checked my parents on this one however, and Beverley does in fact hale from a place in East Yorkshire where in Old English beofor ‘beaver’ + lēac ‘stream’ and you get Beverley. Thank goodness they didn’t get really literal and call me Beoforley.
As of February 2011 there are 10,553 other Beverley’s in the US, the name reached the height of its popularity in 1938 (15 years before I was born – just sayin’), 88% of us are over 55 (not surprising given its 1938 height of popularity), Virginia boasts the highest per capita of Beverley’s, and 99% of us are women.
When you go to this website http://names.whitepages.com/first/Beverley, you can even find out how to properly pronounce the name! I highly recommend this site – it is entertaining and informative should you be so inclined to trace the origins of your name.
So, sexual connotations aside, I like being associated with beavers. Beavers are hard ass working moms. You’ve heard the term “busy as a beaver”?
According to wikinut.com “Anthropomorphisms: When we Say Animals are Like Us”, beavers spend a good part of their waking lives on task. Building their home is an all consuming, life-long endeavor and they are considered busy, industrious, hard-working and they give a dam – pun intended I believe.
I once saw a Beaver Imax where you follow a group of beavers as they build their dams made largely from wood they cut with their two front teeth. The resulting underwater fortresses serve as elaborate and protective shelters for their young.
Beavers are also known for their alarm signal. When they are startled or frightened they dive while forcefully slapping the water with their broad tail to warn other beavers in the area. They can then dive and stay under water for up to 15 minutes.
Who is better than beavers? Teeth, tail, holding their breath and they got it covered.
So, as of now I proudly reclaim the origins of my name embracing my beaver-ness completely disregarding the ways in which our culture has slandered this hard-working animal’s name. And I salute my working mom friends who build and maintain their homes, protect their children, safeguard those they love and work hard every day to make the world a better place.