"Today is a double celebration for my family; it is the birthday of my 30-year-old son, William and my younger brother Peter who is approaching retirement age. My brother Peter will always command my respect for having always held fast to his principles in his field of work as an educational psychologist instead of taking the easier road towards job promotion.
My son William, who earned my respect many years ago, needed to establish his own distinctive identity when he reached manhood. Gradually, he encouraged himself to be known as 'Will'. Today, son, as well as your Uncle Peter, you also share your birthday with the American writer Alex Haley, a favourite writer of mine. I remember his blockbuster book entitled, 'Roots' which followed an enslaved family through generations of serfdom and servitude until they were declared 'free men.'
For your 30th birthday present son, I rename you 'William.' It is a good name, a name of kings, conquerors, playwrights, kaisers, princes etc.etc. It was the name of your great, great grandfather who gave it to his eldest son,(Grandfather William Fanning),who gave it to his eldest son,(Uncle William Fanning). When I was born the eldest of seven siblings, I was given the name of my mother's father and brother, William. When you were born, you were given my name as the oldest child to my second marriage. Hopefully, I shall live to see your first male child. I wonder what name he shall be given? Happy birthday brother Peter and son, William. I love you both.
As Alex Haley 'might' have said, had he thought of it first, 'Remain true to self and never forget your roots, for when the rest of the ground beneath your feet becomes too unsettled and threatens to erupt, it is your values, your name and your family roots that will sustain you and keep you anchored to all that is good.' xxx" William Forde: August 11th, 2013.