Other People’s Postcards: Europe (and Unacceptable Names)

I am pretty sure I acquired the following postcards from one of the estate sales my mother found one weekend. Even after having lived in Jacksonville for over 10 years, I have no idea where Triumph Lane or North Hanson Drive are located. It seems the Griffins, who lived on both streets sometime in the 1970s and 1990s, received a few postcards over the decades from their daughter and some well-traveled friends.

Sharon, the Griffins’ daughter, shares no explanation for her travels to Paris and London in the summer of 1971. I can only assume she is on a class trip, maybe a part of an exchange student program. Or honeymooning, perhaps.



Brenda is Ms. Griffin’s friend who met up with another group of mutual friends in the summer of 1999 while visiting Munich, Germany. They all signed the postcard before sending it off to their stateside friend, Ginny, back in Jacksonville. However, there is one signature that sticks out like a sore thumb, not because of the inconsistent color of ink used or because there is no mention of this person in the postcard text, but because the person signing is named…Adolf?



I’m no historian (I’m working on it!), but I sincerely hope this was just a poor attempt at humor (or Adolf is 45+ years old). I researched a little bit and found that Germany is not much different from other European countries when it comes to the approval of baby names. All names need to be legally cleared through a government office, which also takes the time to work with foreign offices, before a baby name is deemed acceptable. In Germany, a name must clearly indicate a baby’s gender and (most importantly) not affect the child in a negative way.

What does this mean? Generally speaking, it means the name Adolf is no longer on the list of acceptable baby names. In Germany, anyway. Here in America, however  you are still free to give your child any stupid name you want!

Some examples:

Apple (the fruit)

Apple (the person)

ignore the girl’s mother (it’s what I try to do)

Northwest (the region)

North West (the person)

See what I mean?

4 thoughts on “Other People’s Postcards: Europe (and Unacceptable Names)

  1. I’m with you on stupid baby names. Why didn’t we institute an approval process for baby names in this country? It’s a really good idea. Maybe the German mailman signed off on the card. I checked those addresses for you. Both are on the Westside. North Hanson Drive is between Old Middleburg and Lane Avenue South; Triumph Lane is very near me — off 103rd Street.

    • That would explain why I am not familiar with them – I lived on the Northside and worked on Amelia Island/Yulee/UNF.

      There are times when I worry that our American freedoms to be individuals cause more harm than good. I’m not too smart with politics, though, so it’s a difficult argument to fight.

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