Monday, October 12, 2015

Blast from the Past: Mili

Illustration by Maurice Sendak

I've said before that I have trouble remembering the names I loved as a child. But after I wrote the post for Kiyomi, I remembered another name that I'm surprised I forgot: Mili.

My youthful obsession with this name came from the underrated Maurice Sendak classic Dear Mili. The story is a retelling of an obscure Brothers Grimm tale. Mili is a young girl who is forced to separate from her mother and flee into the woods. She stays in the forest for three days, befriending all sorts of characters. But when she gets home...well, I won't give away the ending because this is not a well known fairy tale. Sendak's illustrations are gorgeous, of course. It also has some Holocaust imagery in it, which totally flew over my head as a child. I don't think this book is still in print, but if you can find a copy I definitely recommend it. It was my favorite book as a child.

Unlike Kiyomi, I can see this name catching on. For one thing it's incredibly multicultural: it's Hindu, it's Hebrew, it's Japanese, it's Nordic, it's a nickname for Wilhelmina and Millicent, the list goes on. Mili also has a very current sound, similar to Maddie and Hattie. So if this name popped on the charts it would not surprise me. It's probably going to be spelled Millie, though.

As for me, this name is no longer amongst my favorites. It's a little too nickname-y for me. But Mili is probably the name that kicked off my name obsession, so it's still important to me.