People sometimes ask me if my parents knew about the Author, Stephen King when they decided to name me Stephen. I’m certain they did, but I couldn’t quite figure out why they wanted to name me that. I mean, it’s such a well-known name throughout North Amerca (maybe further). Why did they name me after such a famous person that they have no relation to?
Well, we were sitting around one night a few years back and my dad told me this story. I’m filling in the blanks here but this is pretty much how it went;
Joe owned a successful funeral home in the small town where he lived. Business was good in town because there were many old people. The guaranteed thing that makes a funeral home successful is all old people will eventually die.
At times, the funeral home became very busy. Joe would find himself without enough help to keep up with all the demands of running a successful funeral home when he had too many “customers.” So sometimes, Joe would get the help of his son-in-law, Dave to give him a hand.
Shortly after Dave’s son was born, Dave was going to the hospital to bring him home for the first time. On his way out of the house, he was stopped by Joe.
“You mind doing me a favor?” Joe asked.
“Sure,” replied Dave.
“Would you mind picking up a body from the morgue at the hospital?” asked Joe. “You’re going to be up there anyway and it would just be a quick stop in to sign for it and load it in the truck.”
This wasn’t the first time Joe had asked Dave to do something like this. It was just a routine part of running a funeral home. Dave also worked at the hospital so they knew him there as well. He agreed to help out and headed off to the hospital in the SUV they used for transporting bodies.
After arriving at the hospital, Dave went to the morgue first to pick up the dead body. What they came out with was actually a surprise. It wasn’t an old person in a full-size coffin like Dave was expecting. It was actually a much smaller coffin with a young child inside. This threw Dave for a bit of a loop, but he was already committed. He signed for the body and wheeled it out and loaded it in the SUV.
Now that that was taken care of, he headed back inside the hospital to get his newborn son and wife. Everything went smoothly and Dave, his wife, and new baby were headed back home in no time.
On the way home, Dave couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that he had one dead and one live baby in the back of the car; almost close enough to be touching each other if not for the back of the seat separating them.
“Hey I’ve got an idea,” Dave said to his wife.
“What’s that?” Dave’s wife, Maureen asked.
“I’ve been thinking and I think we should name the baby Stephen,” replied Dave. He figured it must be a sign to have such a weird situation occurring like this and it seemed fitting. The scenario was almost straight out of a Stephen King novel. All that was left to happen was for the dead baby to come back to life and start crying from inside the coffin. Or even worse, if he mixed the two babies up and ended up raising some sort of living-dead baby.
“Oh, that’s a good name,” responded Maureen. She did not know of the situation in the car and wouldn’t know of it for another 20 years.
After Dave brought Maureen and the baby inside the house, he went back out and retrieved the coffin for Joe. He brought it in where Joe was waiting to preserve the body.
“Thanks, Dave,” Joe said as Dave started walking out of the room.
“No problem,” replied Dave. “Oh, and we thought of a good name for the baby. We’re going to name him Stephen.”
“Stephen. Stephen King. That’s a really good name, Dave,” Joe said, as he opened the coffin to begin his work. “What made you think of that?”
“I don’t know, Joe. It just came to me.”
I can’t say for sure how much of this is true but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me. And I certainly was a devil child right up into my 20’s so maybe I did get mixed up. What do you think? Does the name suit the story?