We have a couple of old Shirley Temple movies that the kids love to watch.
Since some of our youngest children have a way of pronouncing L's and W's and R's so that there really is no distinguishing one from another, "Temple" sounds more like "Tempww", which is exactly what "temper" sounds like.
(You should hear the "Who's On First" type discussions we have when one of them is trying to convey that they don't have any more clean "shwwts". "You don't have any clean shirts or shorts?" I'll ask. "Shwwts" will come the impatient reply. "Shirts?" I take a shot in the dark. "NO! Shwwts! SHWWTS!")
So, naturally they think it is pretty funny that such a cute little girl has "Temper" for a last name. No amount of explaining that it isn't "Temper", but "Temple" will convince them, because "tempww" is "tempww" and that settles it.
All of the discussions about her name have prompted them to create a story about how she came to have the name Surely Temper.
It did not, as one would suppose, happen the day she was born, for her parents were at a loss as to an appropriate name for their baby.
No, they did not, as most parents do, name their baby the day, or the week, or even the year she was born. They wanted to wait and see what their darling baby girl would be like, so as to bestow upon her a name that would wholly capture her personality.
This caused them to call their daughter "Girl" for the first few years of her life as they searched for the perfect name.
As time went on, they began to see that their precious "Girl" had a fearsome disposition.
If she was asked to do something as simple as pick up her toys, she would shriek and fall limp to the floor where she would kick her chubby legs (for she was often overindulgent in demanding two desserts) and pound her fists .
Her parents were often heard to remark (in a southern drawl), "My! But she has a surely awful temper!"
Upon mutual agreement, then, her name was decided upon.
Surely Awful Temper.
To this day you can watch movies starring a sweet little girl with ringlets adorning her hair, but don't think for a minute that sweetness is real. She is an actor, after all, and an act it is.
She is called Surely Temper for a reason, you know.
*Post script: I was just reminded that there is much more to this legend, which includes Surely's propensity for biting the fingers and toes off of her playmates, but I shall spare you, Dear Reader, from the details, lest you become shocked at the violent tendencies of The Smockity Children's story telling habits.