Have you ever noticed how names that you didn't particularly care for can become pretty once you associate them with a sweet natured person and otherwise pretty names can lose their charm when attached to a chronically grumpy person?
I was introduced to the name Matilda when I was in forth or fifth grade and asked to memorize a poem about a little girl named Matilda. I can't remember all of it any longer but the first two lines have always stuck. Matilda told such dreadful lies, It made one gasp and stretch ones eyes, Because of her habit of telling lies something very horrible happened to her. The name Matilda became less than desirable to me then.
Several years later we had a van load of visitors drop by to see us. Among the guests was an older single girl. Her name happened to be Matilda. She was a sour person and always had something negative to add to the conversation that was flowing around her. The name was secured a little more firmly on the list of ones I didn't really care for.
Several weeks after we got married I was looking through one of my new cookbooks trying to find a recipe to bake a cake. Most of them were unfamiliar but when I came to one called Matilda cake I had to give it a try. I only ever made it once and it lived up to the name. It was a tough bland cake. Eating it was like chewing on a vanilla flavored shoe sole.
Lumping all of those experiences together when ever I heard the name Matilda it always made me think of unpleasant things.
Enter a very sweet elderly lady with snow white hair. Her hands and face lined with deep wrinkles but her eyes still held a happy sparkle, her smile lit up the room, and she had the sweetest voice. Her name I learned happened to be Matilda. With time I can now envision her when I hear that name and it makes me smile. And I think I have learned that it isn't the name, it is the person that bears it that makes it sweet or not.