On namedropping…

Apr 25, 2010 | 3 comments

Willard R. Espy (1910-1999)

       My uncle, author/wordsmith Willard Espy, was often called upon to give speeches and keynote addresses.  In a recent look at some of the family files, I ran across this opening gambit which is one of my favorites:
       “I am especially eager to establish my authority over an audience, as I surely am this morning.  I seek to connect myself as closely as possible with famous names.  I have been known to point out, for instance, that my brother Edwin, who has spent his adult life in ecumenical religion, once received promptly a letter addressed simply “God, New York City.”  As the brother of God, I feel I am owed a respectful hearing.
     “But I must admit there is such a thing as dropping names too freely.  During a recent address, the Honorable Cecil Seymour, Minister of Culture under the Labour Government in England, referred in passing to his acquaintance with an extraordinary number of notables.  Suddenly, however, he stopped in mid-sentence, clapped his forehead, and exclaimed, “But no!  One must not become a name dropper… as our dear queen remarked to me at lunch only yesterday.”
     When my own friends or acquaintances get into the name dropping game, those words often flash through my mind.  They seem to provide a little perspective.


  1. Marilyn Watts

    Enjoyed the article and checked out your website while I was at it – good stuff!

  2. Meagan

    I feel so blessed to have met Willard when I was younger. 🙂 I have 2 autographed books that he gave me personally! Thank you for sharing your family’s stories.

  3. John W Adams

    Just visited your website and enjoyed it very much. It has a great look. I also enjoyed several of the entries in the day book. I’ll go back again!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *