Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

I was long overdue for a get-together with one of my best friends from college, Julia. But instead of one of us shlepping her brood to the other's house, Jules suggested that we meet in the middle—at her parents' beautiful house, a stone's throw from that kiddo mecca, Hershey Park. And that was just like the whipped cream and cherries on top of the whole thing. Because Julia's parents, Joe and Muriel, are two of my favorite people ever.

Muriel is one of those amazing moms who should teach everyone else how to do it, because she raised some really amazing people—and she made it all look so easy. She's the cool mom who would shlep for hours to see our drama group's plays (even if Jules didn't get a part), and bring some sort of awesome homemade dessert that was like manna from heaven after weeks of dorm food. She would welcome hordes of Julia's friends to her house for reunions, mothering us all (in the best way possible)—and put up with us staying up until all hours making tons of noise. In fact, in all of those visits, I never once heard her raise her voice or yell. Unlike so many other moms I know (like, um, me...).

So it didn't surprise me in the least that Muriel would want to have us at her house—because that's just the kind of lady that she is.

Muriel is an Irish name (perfect given her family's heritage), and means "of the sea." It hasn't been widely used since the 1960s, when it dropped out of the top 1000 American names. And I think it's high time that the name made its comeback.

It's apparently slightly more popular in some other parts of the world, as evidenced by the 1994 Australian movie, Muriel's Wedding, and author Muriel Spark, whose claim to fame is the book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. But here in the U.S., it's not as popular.

I'm not sure what my favorite Muriel's middle name is, but I'd probably go with something with a nature vibe, like Skye or Blue. But if you wanted to stick with something traditional, Elizabeth would be my pick.

Would you give a little girl the name Muriel? What do you think of the name?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/