What’s in a name? Several literary references.

It’s a boy! In case you haven’t heard, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy yesterday named Charles Wallace Dicks.

Charlie was born at 3:09 PM. He is 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 18 inches long.

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We chose Charlie’s name for a number of reasons.

To start, we liked the name Charles a lot. We liked the old feel of the name and the way it seems to match well with his big sister’s name (Clara). I’m also an enormous fan of Charles Dickens (I have three plants in my classroom named Pip, Philip and Pirrip), so the connection to this literary giant didn’t hurt.

We also love the nickname Charlie. My favorite moment during Charlie’s delivery happened just seconds after Charlie was born. With The Byrd’s Turn Turn Turn playing in the background, a nurse asked us what his name was, and Elysha called out, “Charlie!” When I heard her say his name aloud, in what I can only characterize as the most beautiful singsong voice I have ever heard, I knew we had chosen the right one.

It was one of those moments I will never forget.

As for the Wallace, a couple literary thoughts guided our decision.

First, Charles Wallace is the protagonist in Madeleine L’Engle’s WRINKLE IN TIME series, which are books that Elysha and I both adored as children. In fact, I had recently expressed hesitancy in re-reading the books as an adult, in fear that they won’t hold up to my fond memoires of them, but I guess I have no choice now.

Elysha and I are also fans of the poet Wallace Stevens, who lived and worked in Hartford, the city where Charlie was born. We especially love the poem 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird and have taught it to our students every year. Every year, I discover new depth hidden within the poem, and I hope I can say the same about my son someday.

Our perfect little boy, Charles “Charlie” Wallace Dicks!

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