I am the third child in a family that ultimately grew to seven children. My grandfather’s name is Martin Joseph. My father’s Martin Joseph Jr. I don’t know how many times I heard the story of just how close I came to be named Martin Joseph the Third. My parents said that they could not quite get themselves to do it, as the III looked and seemed pretentious to them, that it implied wealth (to them who were from an immigrant, working-class background). So I got the name Gary Martin – they were OK with that. Years later I was reading some website that chronicled the more popular names given to children by year. Low and behold my parents were very much a part of those statistics. Gary was popular because of the actor Gary Cooper. I feel that I am in good company!

-Gary, Boone, NC