My name is Nesdon Foye Booth Jr. Of course, it was also my father’s name, although, born in 1918, the craze in crazy names had not yet emerged, and so he went by Ned, a suitable entry in the long list of his siblings: Ralph, Bud, Marvin, Delbert, Elaine andBernice, His mother, Florence, whom I never had the chance to meet, was claimed to have said, a little defensively, “It’s a common name in France.” It is not. In fact since his death, I seem to be the only Nesdon left.
In this digital age, having a unique name is wonderful. My email is nesdon@gmail, this blog: nesdon.wordpress. If I am informed that my selected username is not available, it usually means that I have already registered, and just need to remember my password. I once came upon a nesdon.dot.whatever, that actually had already been taken, and so I sent an email to inquire. He replied that Nesdon was his middle name, and that his mother, searching for a special name for her son, had noticed the name in the TV Guide, in a list of credits of the actors in a TV show, liked the name, and so gave it to him.
It so happens that my father was in fact a TV actor, prolific in the early days of the medium when the TV guide still published credit lists, so it turned out that this distant Nesdon, off in far Ohio, had also been named after my father, he another data point in the mystery of my grandmother’s motives. But now, all of those who might have had the solution to the puzzle of this name – so odd, so cherished and so seminal in my own treasured but sometimes difficult individuality – are muted by death, leaving me only to muse about its origins.
I did know however that our middle name, “Foye”, was after Eddie Foy, of Eddie and the Seven Little Foys. Foye/Foy, clearly poor grandma Florence was not a careful speller, and I began to wonder if Nesdon might also be some sort of typo. One day, when writing my name in cursive, I realized that an “st” , when uncrossed, surprisingly resembled a “d”, and that in cursive, “r” and “n” were likewise surprisingly similar. I wrote the name Nestor (indeed a relatively common name in France, or at least in Spain) in cursive, intentionally forgetting to cross the “t”, and was easily able to read it as Nesdon.
I have no idea if this analysis is correct, and I likely never will. Many things are buried, forever irretrievable, in the sands of time. I don’t even know what sort of musings the first holder of this name may have entertained about it, we never really discussed it. I am cast now as an aged orphan adrift in history. But how wonderful that some great great grandchild of mine, who hopefully carries this wonderful name forward, will be able to travel back here to find my hypothesis of its origin. Who knows, maybe some great aunt had heard her sister’s confession of some affair with some Frenchman, and passed that tale along to someone who passed it to someone who might unearth this little note and finally pass it back to my progeny and be able to put this mystery to rest.