Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Lois Club

During lunch today, I read an interesting and amusing article in today's edition of the Arizona Republic. It was about a group of women, mostly in their 70s, who meet four times each year and call themselves the Lois Club. There are at least 60 such groups around the country, including one here in Phoenix. There is only one requirement for membership, namely, that the member's name must be Lois.

During my lifetime, and to the best of my knowledge after giving the matter some thought, I have known only two individuals named Lois. One was Lois Lane, who, in spite of being Superman's girlfriend, was never able to figure out that the Man of Steel and Clark Kent were one and the same person. My acquaintance with that Lois began when I was a kid, watching reruns of the old Superman TV series in which George Reeves played the main role. I knew the second Lois in the 1980s; she was a member of a singles ward I attended for a time in Utah, and happened also to be a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I accompanied her to Salt Lake once for the Sunday-morning "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast, which of course has been a regular part of the American radio landscape since 1929.

The club's principal raison d'etre is the mere fact that the name has become so uncommon. According to census records, or whomever else keeps track of such information, Lois was the 21st most popular girl's name in the decade of the 1930s, but it dropped to the number 983 slot in 1983 and has never been in the top 1000 since then. Which, of course, leads me to wonder if in a few decades, names such as Tiffany, Jennifer, Nicole, or Cindy might be so rare as to become similar curiosities. Not surprisingly, given the ages of most members of the club, its ranks are gradually declining as members pass on, with fewer and fewer Loises available to replace them.

The club's members have no agenda, other than to meet those four times a year, when they just chat and socialize over lunch. They share war stories too, of course, which often center around the difficulties other people have in trying to spell the name, which is simple enough, but nevertheless often rendered as Lewis, Louis, Lowis, or some such thing. One member was born in 1942, when extensive hospital stays after childbirth were commonplace. Three weeks into the stay, this baby had still not been named because her mother was unable to think of an appropriate name. Finally, the doctor suggested that she name the baby Lois, and of course the rest is history. (Later, it was learned that this particular doctor happened to have a sister named Lois.)

Meanwhile, come what may, I hope Lois Lane will always be the name of Superman's girlfriend, and that she is never replaced by, say, Tiffany Lane -- although, come to think of it, that name projects a rather glamorous aura, and thus might be perfectly appropriate for someone else. Or perhaps we could learn in some future issue of DC Comics that Lois has a younger sister named Tiffany, who could be Lex Luthor's girlfriend and make the whole situation that much more interesting. And maybe we could put some blinders on her as well, so that she never figures out that Mr. Luthor is in fact a villain.

(Update: Barney has asked me to provide a link to the original article, which you may now find here. However, I did not provide such a link yesterday because the online edition of the Arizona Republic removes its articles at regular intervals, so I cannot guarantee how long it will be available.)


Blogger Barney said...

Garry, can you link to the AZ Republic story (is it online)?

11:57 AM  
Blogger Garry Wilmore said...

Yes, I'll try to do that a bit later. The only reason I didn't provide a link in the post was that the online edition of the AZ Republic usually removes its articles at regular intervals, so the link would not be permanent in any case.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

I hadn't thought of Lois as being that uncommon, though I have great empathy for their feelings on the failed spelling attempts. My name has proved to have some interesting variations. :\

6:27 PM  

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