Bringing Wally Back

I just looked up the top baby names of 2008. We’ve got Aiden, Jayden, Ethan, Jacob, Caden, Jackson, Noah, Jack, Logan, and Matthew coming in 1-10. Walter comes in at a whopping rank of 393.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 393? That actually seems low for a name that sounds like a little old man’s. A name that all teeny bopper TV shows designate for the nerdy friend (think Stephanie’s thick-glasses-clad chubby classmate with his pants pulled up just a little too high). A name that was most popular in the late 1800s. In fact, check out this graph that shows the number of names per million babies over time. Seems like Walter was the Aiden of the 1880s.


I love the name Walter. The 2 Walter Ben Ottenhoffs I’ve met are stellar human beings. And based on knowing those two Wals, Small Wal could turn out any number of ways.

We’ve said before that it’s no wonder 4 is even, and 3 is odd. Walter Ottenhoff III is a huge goofball, with a very odd, very funny sense of humor. On Facebook, when we described it the even/odd way, Walter III commented, “Hold on a minute while I take these arrows out of my huge, muscly back.” He’s the one who comments on my blog, when I show my big growing belly, “Mollie, are you pregnant?” When he shows up at the annual trip to Silver Lake, the kids (and anyone without physical ailments or white hair) know to watch their step! He’s been known to push tuxedoed men off of docks into lakes. To enjoy his share of Rob and Big. To have sand fights with kids we don’t know at their family cottage. He is just a riot.

He also is one of the friendliest, most outgoing people I know. He chats it up with most strangers he meets. And he loves to read. Loves it!

Walter IV is so different. Probably because of his dad’s antics, he does not want to do anything to attract attention to himself. He has a great sense of humor, and appreciates his dad, but would never do anything to cause a ruckus! He’s always getting embarrassed by me.

Walter IV stands out as serious, level-headed, and thoughtful. He’s very other-oriented, funny and entertaining in moments, and he makes sure the people around him are taken care of. (This morning, when I woke up, he had left a note that said he was going out to get himself cereal and a breakfast treat for me. He brought me back donuts. Mmmm.) The kind of guy any girl would want to marry and spend the rest of their lives with. (At least I did!) Oh, and he does not read. We’ll forgive him that flaw. As long as he doesn’t pass it on to Wally V.

So you see, Wally V could turn out any number of ways, but I know he will be a great person. Both his Grandpa Wally and dad Wally are great men. Both fun to be around, full of love, and both give Wally a great name.

I’m here to tell you folks, we’re bringing Wally back. To date, four generations of Walters have been making their mark, slowly working their way to becoming “the” name. You just watch. In 2100 this graph is going to start inclining.


3 Responses to “Bringing Wally Back”

  1. 1 Barb Ottenhoff July 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    And I can vouch for Walter II. He loved sports – golfing, skiing, and watching his kids and grandkids play basketball.
    He also played basketball, but it wasn’t such a great sport in those days. Keep up the Walter tradition and you won’t be disappointed. They are lots of fun and brilliant also! I am sure small Wal will be great!!

  2. 2 Coach July 5, 2009 at 7:52 am

    What a kind write-up about us geeky Walters. But i don’t think there is any doubt about the direction SmalWal’s personality will go. Remember he is the 5th and as my son so aptly pointed out about 3, that is an ODD number and much as twins and red hair and a lot of personality traits skip a generation, I know exactly what kind of personality SmalWal will have. Let’s just say “he will be a little off the Wal”.
    We can’t wait to meet him!
    Love Coach

  3. 3 mhb July 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Most of those top 10 names sound so… trendy. Walter is much more solid. A name for the ages.

    Can’t wait to see if Small Wal is more “even” or “odd”… I predict he’ll be an entertaining combination of silly and smart. 😀

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