Today's Myles Standish Is Not Giving Thanks for Bearing a Famed Name
But for a 23-year-old assistant sports editor on Vermont's Rutland Daily Herald, the name of Standish has become a burden to bear. The reason: He is Myles Standish, an 11th generation descendant of the doughty captain. And no one, from his school teachers to total strangers, will let him forget it.
As a schoolboy in Concord, Mass. he recalls, "Teachers would bring up Myles Standish and turn to me, and I'd say, 'Yeah, I'm a direct descendant. But it doesn't mean that much to me.' " Then Boston University, from which he graduated last year, had a Myles Standish Hall. So when the hall ordered $81 worth of pies, Myles got the bill. "I taped it to my wall," he says.
And still the jokers will not let up. "I'm always worrying whether I'll get a plane reservation or will the agent hang up the telephone instead and say, 'That was some fruitcake who says he's Myles Standish.' " Even telephone messages themselves are a problem. "When I say it's Myles Standish calling," he reports, "there's loud laughter, and they say, 'Oh, sure.' "
In fact Myles would just as soon bag the whole subject. "If I met another descendant of someone who came over on the Mayflower," he points out, "I wouldn't say, 'Let's go out to the bar and talk about old times.' " So, would he name a son Myles? Still a bachelor, Myles reluctantly allows that he would. And a grandson? "I'm not superstitious," he says, "but my son would have to deal with the idea of naming a Myles the 13th."