Chocolate-Espresso Dacquoise. German buttercream. Chocolate ganache. Meringue . . . Oh wait, I forgot where I was.
We’re supposed to be talking about funny names, that’s it, funny names. How about Washington Irving. First name? Last name? Both?
Imagine if you will, your dad, William, saying to your mom, Sarah, “I don’t care how many kids we have, Sarah, the first one to live is named after me.” Apparently setting the standard for George Foreman.
Eleven children: William, Jr. the first, passed away, William, Jr. the second, passed away, William, Jr, the third, survived. John, solid name, but he passed away. Ann, she’s a keeper, Peter, now that’s a good name, Catherine, we’re going strong now, Ebenezer, okay maybe I shouldn’t have shared that one with Dickens, John Treat, treat—like Trick or Treat, Sarah, finally one named after mom, and Washington, named after you guessed it, George Washington.
Little Washington was born in Manhattan, New York, shortly after the end of the American Revolution (1783).
With the help of a nanny, he got to meet his namesake in 1789. It helped President Washington lived in New York at the time.
His older brothers became successful merchants and supported their baby brother as he pursued his early writing career. An outbreak of yellow fever caused his family to send him up the Hudson River to a healthier climate. A town called Tarrytown. The next closest town—a Dutch settlement—Sleepy Hollow. You know where I’m going with this one. Just remember to look before you leap . . . conclusions optional.
After several other trips as a teenager traveling up the Hudson, he visited the Catskill Mountain region, of which he later wrote, “[O]f all the scenery of the Hudson, the Kaatskill Mountains had the most witching effect on my boyish imagination“. Giving birth to Rip Van Winkle. And other short stories showcased in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent..
Geoffrey Crayon, the first of many outstanding, funny pen names. He used Jonathan Oldstyle, Launcelot Langstaff, Will Wizard and my personal favorite, Diedrich Knickerbocker. Now you know who the New York Knicks are named after. And here I thought Ben Franklin’s pen name, Silence Dogood, was a corker . . . .
He became America’s first internationally best-selling author. He pushed for laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement. And he popularized the nickname “Gotham” for New York City.
*Batman waves at Irving.*
While living in England, he found out Mary Shelley (yes, Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley) had the hots for him. Nothing ever came of it.
For our Jane Austen fans in the audience, “. . . that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.”
The one woman he tried to marry allegedly took a year telling him no.
The man who coined the term, “the almighty dollar,” died on November 28, 1859. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.