We have heard from a wide range of Tenleys!
From Tenley Clemente:
Dear Tenley (not the first time I have ever written that),
I love my (your) name. For years I was under the innocent illusion that besides my namesake, Tenley Albright, I was the only Tenley in the world. I am the youngest of four. I have all older brothers as siblings so it wasn’t always easy being the youngest or the only girl. I might have gotten lost in the scuffle at times and certainly had to fight for my share at the dinner table. My dolls were used as footballs and barbies suffered 3rd degree burns from firecrackers. I was often surrounded by their friends and other neighborhood boys and wished that I was as big, old or as boyish as my brothers so I could hold my own. Not being like them wasn’t the good side of individuality. Yet, I liked having a name that was all mine and showed me the better side of individuality that I often lost in a brood of boys.
My mother, who majored in art, was quite a bold and artistic individual herself and she liked unusual names. However she is a conservative catholic and knew that we all had to be given saints names. However she did want us to have something unusual tossed into the mix. Afraid to put the bolder name in first, she tucked something special in between each first and last name. Our names are, John Thayne Parham, Thomas Grady Parham, David Quinn Parham and Mary Tenley Parham. So John, Tom, David and Mary. It read like the bible.
Each one of us was called by our first names at birth. Now we lived in the South, Louisville Kentucky, where double names are a norm. My mother loved the name Tenley so much that she just couldn’t let it fall through the cracks and began my life by calling me Mary Tenley. It was somewhat of a mouthful for a 9yr old, an 8yr old and a 4yr old. So the boys eventually shortened it to just Tenley and I have gone by my middle name ever since.
Here it is in my mothers own words:
“In 1956 I was pregnant with my first born, who was due in mid February 1957. It was the winter and Tenley Albright was in the winter Olympics. My husband, Grady, and I were big fans of all the Olympic games and were fascinated with lovely little Tenley Albright and her performance in the winter olympics. I said’ “I think if I have a girl I’ll name her Tenley.” On Febuary 1957 had a boy whom we named John Thayne Parham (Choosing Thayne as his middle name because it was another Olympiad from the same year). The following year, 1958 I was pregnant again and made the same declaration again that if it was a girl she would bear the name Tenley. I had a boy whom we named Thomas Grady Parham. Four years later in 1962 we were expecting again and thought for sure we would be writing the name Tenley on a birth certificate! We had a boy whom we named David Quinn Parham. Another four years passed and we expected another baby in 1966. This time we had a girl and we named her Mary Tenley Parham. We started out calling her Mary Tenley. In the South double name usage was very common but the boys soon shortened it to Tenley and we have fondly used just Tenley ever since.”
Joyce Marie Wiseman Parham
I can’t wait to meet the original Tenley and cross this off my bucket list.
(Mary) Tenley Clemente (née Parham)
From Tenley du Ramel:
My mother, Gail Beals Lofquist, is a skating champion from Canada. She competed in the late 50’s & early 60’s with a medal in the Ontario Provincial Championships. She trained alongside Otto & Maria Jelinek (World Pair Champions) at the Oakville Skating Club all under Marg & Bruce Hyland who are inducted into Canada’s Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
At age 6, I told her that I already knew all of skating’s skills. That was the end of my skating career, but she still teaches skating in Portland, Maine, and has taught competitive skaters (from Maine) that went on to train at the Skating Club of Boston.
Gymnastics soon followed for me, training with Olympians; and then tennis, ranking in the top five in New England. Off the ice, my mother and I ski raced and played regional tennis tournaments together. I also played violin and danced in the Talent America competition, winning a scholarship to the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts. I think my name is rather fitting.
While I thought I would be a doctor, I went on to practice law, now for the DuPont Company. Prior to law school, I was a software engineer, and while working for AT&T, I found Dr. Tenley Albright’s phone number in our systems. I called her directly from work one day, around 1993-94, and we had a lovely conversation.
I’m known to use aliases. After failed introductions to strangers, or to quickly order food, I’m “Jenny.” This worked well in fast-paced (and loud) New York City, where I previously lived. I am also Ten, Tens and Tenners. I have been called “Henry” many times on the phone. So they say the sweetest sound to anyone’s ear is his/her name, perhaps that’s why I (subconsciously) named my son Henri (pronounced Henry).
My lucky number is 10; I make a wish at 10:10; and a special day is 10/10! I have other great stories about my name, but I will save those for Boston! I look forward to meeting many wonderful Tenleys during the special month of July this year when I will turn 42 (born July 30, 1972).
From Tenley (Ledgett) Nelson:
My name is also Tenley. My parents had heard your name previous to their pregnancy with me and had noted it. When I was born at the Portsmouth Regional Hospital in 1978 the nurses all said “Oh, like Tenley Albright” and that was how my parents learned you had gone into the medical profession after skating. My parents claim I am not named after you, that they just liked the name. But regardless of the lost truth of those details, your name has accompanied mine throughout my life. Stories of you have come up in other ways as well. I have met only one other Tenley, who was in the Seacost minirays swimming in Portsmouth NH when I was quite young. When I was 18 and 19 I worked as an agricultural laborer for the Tuttles at Tuttles Red Barn in Dover NH, what used to be the oldest family farm in America until they sold it sometime over the past few years. One day I worked in the home of Mrs Joan Tuttle (I think her maiden name was DeCamp) who told me she had babysat Tenley Albright way back when. I remember seeing the TenleyTown Library in Washington DC when looking at universities in my senior year and could not believe my parents did not remember a Tenley reference considering they met in DC and my brother Chadwick was named after Chadwick’s Pub in DC. A good friend of my mother’s Lorna Perry (orginally Martin) has told me stories about skating with you in her youth. She also has a skating skirt you gave her. I clearly remember being delighted the one time I saw you on television during the Nagano Olympics, a face to go with the name. So…getting a completely random email from a stranger about this page has been delightful since I have occasionally thought about penning a letter but did not want to impose on an already public figure.
Thank you and take care!
From Tenley Becker:
Growing up, I had never appreciated my name. I always used to complain to my mom that my name was never personalized on those pencil sets you got at the craft store. It wasn’t until I had a pregnant substitute in elementary school say that after hearing my name she wanted to consider it for her own child. Now I feel lucky having such a unique name.
My mom named me after Tenley Albright when she heard the name as a little girl. As she got older she fell more in love with the name and my grandma even encouraged her to name one of her daughters Tenley.
When my mom told me about who Tenley Albright was and my second grade teacher showed me a book where she was mentioned in, I felt honored. Honored to be named after someone who really shows what you can make of yourself if you are willing to work for it.
From Katherine Myers, mother of a young Tenley:
Tenley Smith’s name originates with the subway stop/traffic circle in DC which is near where I (her mom) grew up. I had heard of Tenley Albright’s figure skating feats but after we hit upon the name I did some research and was delighted to learn of Tenley Albrights’s story of how she entered figure skating and her education and career path after winning the medal. We only hope our Tenley will be half as impressive as she grows up!
From Tenley Callaghan:
I was named after Tenley Albright. Funny, my maiden name was Tenley Phillips and I see there is another Tenley Phillips who has posted on this site.
I grew up in New York City, but my sister’s godparents lived in Waban, Mass and brought me to meet Tenley Albright when I was a little girl. She gave me her autograph and I treasured it. Sadly, I was so proud of it that I brought it to school to show and tell and left it in my pocket when I got home. It went through the laundry and was ruined. I’m almost 50 and I can still feel that pain of losing such a treasure.
When I was a bit older and wiser, I sat next to a man on my first day of classes in law school. He asked me my name and I told him, but I was quite used to people not remembering it or getting it wrong. The next he showed up to class and in his lovely voice he said, “Hi Tenley.” Needless to say, I married him. That was 25 years ago!!
From Tenley Kiger:
The story is pretty simple. My mom is a huge figure skating fan. My parents wanted something unique. Tenley just stood out to them and they couldn’t picture me with anything else. In a time where everyone was being named Ashley, Emma, or Rachel (no offense to those, they are beautiful names!) my parents just wanted something that was beautiful and not like everyone else. She combined her love for Tenley Albright and figure skating, and voila I got my name!
From Tenley Wilson:
My mom went to Wheaton College with a classmate named Tenley and just absolutely loved her name. Despite having to spell it to everyone I speak to on the phone and fielding lots of questions about it, I am so happy to have this name. I feel like it is just unique enough to be memorable without being too bizarre 🙂
Looking forward to July; I’ll likely bring my Mom along as well since she is the reason I have this name.
From Tenley Phillips:
I was directly named after you! My mom was at Madison Square Garden in 1974 (???) and saw you skate, with one of your daughters. It was a benefit for the US Olympic Skating Team. My mom had the honor of meeting you both and, at that moment, said to herself…”If I ever have a little girl, she will be named Tenley.” Fast forward to 1976 and voila…I am Tenley!
I was looking at colleges, in Boston, in 1993 and was at dinner. We were at dinner with our friend, Dean Lord. She recognized you (may have even known you somehow). She introduced me to you. We had a brief conversation and carried on with our dinners. It was a night that I’ll never forget. I’ve always admired you, not only for your skating but how you went on to be a doctor and present yourself as such an incredible role model for women. You are simply stunning and, I hope, I will get the opportunity to meet you again soon.
I think it’s so amazing that you’ve put together this website. My son, who is 5, actually has a Tenley in his class. I’ve forwarded your website to her. And oddly enough, my sister’s name is Hollace and I realized you have a Hollis. Very coincidental!
Honestly, this is such a thrill for me, I can’t tell you. It’s truly an honor. I have always looked up to you and been so proud to be named after you. When people ask me who I’m named after, it is my absolute joy to tell them the story.
On a side note, I did take up skating when I was little. Let’s just say…it wasn’t my sport. I can laugh at the video now! 🙂 However, I always had Olympic aspirations and found swimming to be my sport. Although I didn’t pursue it the way I should have (I stopped after my first Nationals), it was because of you that I felt like I was capable of doing anything. I just always felt like a “rock star” to be named after someone so wonderful!!
Thank you so much for putting this together. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I can not wait to participate in the “Tenley Event” in July. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Thank you Tenley, for putting this together. This is SO much fun!
From Tenley Shai:
I’m from Massachusetts too! A couple years ago, I did a school report and got to speak to Tenley on the phone; it was such an amazing experience. I’m 13 and I play piano, write songs, and sing. I hope to attain success, although different type, the same level as Tenley. Thanks so much for creating this website it’s so cool! I love it!