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Jules Joseph Merholz

Among the challenging decisions new parents must make is the name of their child. It’s a lifetime commitment, and not something to be taken lightly.

We very quickly settled on his middle name, Joseph. It’s my dad and brothers’ middle name, and Stacy’s grandfather’s first name and brother’s middle name. So, a family name on both sides. Done.

The first name was trickier. Early on I proposed David, my middle name. I’ve always liked the name David (and when I was a little kid, wished it had been my first name). But I was concerned that giving him my middle name might be narcissistic, so we kept our eyes open for alternatives.

In July, I posted about The Naked City. It’s directed by Jules Dassin, and I turned to Stacy at some point, and said, “How about Jules?” Jules works for us on many levels. Most important: my mom’s name is Julie, so it’s a kind of family name. Also, well, I sincerely appreciate the director’s work, and, frankly, his left-leaning politics. The Beatles’ song “Hey Jude” was originally titled “Hey Jules,” and that makes for a good lullaby. And, of course, there’s the pun on “jewels”.

24 hours after his birth, we still hadn’t settled on a name. We like both David and Jules quite a lot, and I found myself vacillating between the two. Earlier I made a comment that “David Joseph,” while a good name, sounds like the name of somebody else’s child. “Jules Joseph” sounds like the name of our child (It helped that Jules is an anachronistic name, which both plays into our love of history, and allows us to own it more.”. As we’re staring at the birth certificate form, Stacy said, “It’s Jules,” and we were done.

So, there you have it. Jules Joseph Merholz.

  1. Congratulations on the birthday of your son! We called our first son Jules eleven years ago, and haven’t regretted it for a moment 🙂

  2. Congrats, Peter & Stacy… and welcome to Jules.

    Dassin is a great reference, a brilliant American of international scope, whose achievements first marked America–and when the US was short-sighted enough to prevent him from working here, then continued to impact and be recognized in France, England, and Greece… and occasionally our own again, when we got glimpses. May Jules have as long and rich a life–and may his native country prove worthy of him!

  3. How odd that you should say that David Joseph sounds like the name of somebody else’s child. When Stacy mentioned some time ago that David might be Baby’s name and how you wished it had been your first name, I tried the name in my mind. I tried “My grandson, David” in my brain, I said it out loud, I muttered it to myself on my walks home at day’s end – and I just couldn’t make it work!!! Oh, it is a good name – but I couldn’t imagine for a minute you and Stacy having a child named DAVID!!! Jules is definitely a Stacy/Peter name. And I am thrilled to be able to say “My grandson, Jules”.

  4. I don’t know if I ever told Peter about the day I once spent with Dassin. He was directing UP TIGHT, an all-Black remake of THE INFORMER. One of his actors, knowing I was a published fan of Dassin”s work, arranged for me to visit the set, with Dassin’s pre-approval. Action on studio sets is pretty slow-going so Dassin and I sat in high-legged canvas chairs and chatted throughout most of the morning. I was a very self-satisfied authority on all of his films and my complimentary comments met with his ready approval.

    The set-ups of the morning led to some interesting action after lunch. Dassin hopped around in high energy, directing the lighting, the cinematographer, the prop handlers and the actors with great elan.

    My actor friend came over to me at one point and said that Dassin was in a rare mood; he had never directled so actively before on this film. He was amused and felt that Julie was showing off to me. Frankly, I was flattered.

    A dozen years later I was developing a project focusing on Greeks in early 20th Century America. I called Dassin in Greece, fishing for some open-ended suggestions. We resumed our agreeable connection, and he gave me some useful research leads to pursue in the U.S. and Canada.

    This project resulted on two film dramas which were presented on PBS Americn Playhouse in the early 1980s. Peter would not watch the shows at that time, dismissing them as mere documentaries. I tried to convince him that they were dramatic fictions, featuring such actors as Telly Savalas and Olympis Dukakis, but he was nonetheless convinced that they were boring documentaries and not worthy of his attention.

    Hey, Pal, I’ve still got the tapes if you’re interested.

  5. With all the attention on the name Jules, I feel you give short shrift to Joseph. There is a reason that Joseph resonates through our genealogies. It is a great name; in sound and history. I agreed to let your Mother name our First Born a Jr. if we referred to him only as Joe from the birth announcement on.

    Of course, having been raised a heathen, you may not relate directly to the adoptive father of the son of god. But even as a young Catholic, I much admired Joseph for his generosity to his unfaithful wife and his willingness to rear her bastard son as his own. March 19 is his Feast Day, which I always seem to remember. I don’t know St. Bernard’s.

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