What’s in a Name

Today’s post comes from Steve Grooms.

Most people cheerfully accept the name their parents gave them. But not all. Some folks have strong emotions their given names . . . strongly positive or strongly negative emotions.

A Jewish friend had a teenaged daughter named Sarah. For some reason that chose not to share, Sarah came to despise her name. My guess was that she decided it was too Jewish and old fashioned. Sarah began identifying as “Daisy.” That put her in conflict with her teachers, for they knew her given name and felt compelled to use it. After months of moods and conflicts, Sarah proved she would only respond teachers called her Daisy. The teachers caved in.

Names can be difficult in several ways. My mother’s name—Charmion—was a problem all her life. The name sounded vaguely French and was a challenge to spell or pronounce. People assumed it should be pronounced with a hard “ch” sound, like the word “charm.” But my mother grew up thinking the only correct pronunciation began with a “sh” sound like the word “shard.” Later in her life my mother began spelling her name Sharm, hoping that would be less confusing. Then, in her seventies, she went back to the original spelling. She was Charmion, dammit, and if other people couldn’t deal with that it was not her problem.

I have had issues with my name, which is Stephen. While I always knew that was my name, nobody called me that. As a kid, I was “Stevie” until the day I demanded that my parents and friends call me Steve. I have been Steve almost all my life, although some people—like bankers, lawyers and doctors—insisted on calling me Stephen, for that is my name on official papers.

After I moved to Michigan about a year ago, I acquired a new team of doctors and nurses who call me Stephen. Sometimes I ask them to call me Steve, but they don’t always comply. It really shouldn’t matter if the phlebotomist about to draw my blood calls me by my formal name. And yet it does matter. When people call me Stephen a little voice in my head notes, “You don’t know me, do you?”

When I became a writer I had to choose the name I would use on published work. A writer friend who lived in Boston was Steve to friends and yet the author name on his books was Stephen. I’ve always been amused and slightly put off by that decision. And actually, he is a somewhat vain fellow who tries hard to impress others. But then, many writers present themselves in print as being more accomplished than they actually are.

I decided to publish under the name of Steve Grooms. It was an easy decision. I am a thoroughly Midwestern guy, and the core of being Midwestern is humility. My mother raised me to be modest, optimistic and unpretentious. The persona I used in print was that of a guy who was often amused by his own incompetence. For me, this Steve/Stephen thing is not trivial. I have feelings about it. In my heart, I am Steve, not Stephen.

I haven’t mentioned my middle name, and that was another easy choice. I hate my middle name. It was “given” to me by my father in a foolish attempt to flatter his father. But his father (my grandfather) was a bigot and misogynist who was disliked by most people in his family. I never mention my middle name.

Do you have any issues or thoughts about your name?

117 thoughts on “What’s in a Name”

  1. my mom was much older than her younger sisters and took the role of caretaker. she would take them for outings and tell them bedtime stories and when she told the stories she always told of michael timothy and ann elizabeth
    michael timothy went by his middle name and was called tim because michael was such a common name. i had an opportunity to proclaim my michaelness upon entering first grade but my teacher who was a 20 year old newbie to teaching told me if i didn’t know how to spell michael i should just be tim
    i was7 and let her win the argument and that was that. i was tim
    timmy was only when i was 2 except with jodie brown and mikie ploen. i am still timmy with them and it takes me back to being 13 when i see them and they call me timmy
    i has a crotchety 5th grade teacher named mrs peterson who was old old old and she was very stoic. the first day of 5th grade she called attendance and asked for michael jones. “here” i said and an hour later when the class lined up to go out to recess i waited a moment to inform her that michael is on the attendance chart but that i go by tim.
    ”well” she said
    “ it says michael here and michael is what i will call you”
    “you go ahead and call me michael all you want but tim is what i will answer to”
    and out to recess i went
    when i came back she called me by tim and that was the end of that
    when asked to leave a name at the restaurant i always leave mahoskowitz.it gets the same reaction by the person taking the name down and the one reading it off
    my uncle paul did this too but he chose joe barsocky as his alter ego. my cousins always knew it was them when barsocky it was called
    at my house i have two kids who are jones one schierbeck and two schierbeck jones members of the family
    i was told to watch out for people who sign their name with an initial before the name they use like o stanley pahmer or t gordon liddy and i have observed it to be an accurate warning
    they are a little strange
    in fact much of the world is a little strange. everyone except me and you and sometimes i have some doubts about you

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If I had to give advice to parents about to name a child, it would be to pick a middle name that seems totally uncontroversial. Middle names give kids a second shot at having a name they can live with. If you feel compelled to call your kid Aloysius, let the middle name be John or Mike.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i think aloud is is the perfect middle name
        jarod heath or trea seem to be the rage
        my grandson will be either denver or arion as american adaptations of kosovo names
        with a last name gashi which i am told is like jones in kosovo i think you would like to hear a new world twist. i like denver i don’t particularly like arion
        they said it would be ari which i am not crazy about either.
        please let it be enver do i don’t havectocfeelcdorry for my poor grandson being branded by his ignorant parents
        ari gashi???
        welcome to the new millennium
        maybe it’s just me

        Liked by 2 people

        1. “please let it be enver do i don’t havectocfeelcdorry for my poor grandson.” This had me spurting coffee out my nose. How many typos can you fit into one sentence? Must be close to a new record.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. The bar name thing. I’m pretty sure it was talk of Carlos on here many years ago that Kelly and I adopted that as my alter ego.
      It’s my code to the college mailroom, if it’s to Carlos, it’s for me personally and not theater related. The people at the theater supply house ask if an item is for me or Carlos.
      Kelly had some minor medical procedure done; who’s waiting for you? Carlos.

      The movie ‘Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’, he wears a name tag that says “Not Steve” (because someone inexplicably called him Steve once upon a time). I hate having to wear a name tag so I often write “Not Steve” on it. It’s made for some really funny look from other people. And knowing nods from the few people that catch the reference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Westie we had be for our current Piper, was Higgins. A friend of ours cannot remember Piper’s name, so to Dave, he is “Not Higgins.”

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice article and true to its core. My son has same kind of issue with his name so every now and then he asks me to change his name officially and if I don’t cave in he will take a name oh his choice and ask everyone to call him by that name. The reason is he thinks his name is too girlish. But actually it’s based on my hubby’ faith in the mother nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Morning —
    Snow day here for daughter and I. Kelly had to go to work. But there’s only an inch at the moment.

    I have probably told this before. My Great-Grandmother on Dad’s side was Ernestina. Dad’s middle name was ‘Erneststeven’. So my brother, the first son, became Ernest Steven. I think it’s kinda cool, but I’m glad I missed out on that. My middle name is Paul and doesn’t seem to be related to anyone.

    I have a nephew named Jeremiah Scot. He’s always gone by Scot. We liked that idea so named our son Benjamin Preston and always called him Preston. Along about middle school he started going by Ben (I think because it was easier to write on school papers) and now he’s Ben to everyone. Course we still call him Preston just out of habit. And he’s OK with that.

    We had a really tough time coming up with a middle name for daughter. Finally settled on one but it still just doesn’t feel like it fits and we rarely use it.

    I do use the formal ‘Benjamin’ in theater programs. Yeah, as Steve says, just to sound fancier than I really am. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve sometimes wondered how we acquire prejudices and likes about names. Apparently a lot of parents name kids after movie or TV stars they like. So the sitcom Friends is responsible for a lot of girls named Rachel. When I was a kid there was a slightly older boy in the neighborhood who was our local bully. Because he had been held back a year or two in school, he hit puberty before other kids in the class. That wasn’t good, for he had a sniggering obsession with sex that spooked a lot of kids, including me. I grew up hating his name, which was Benny. Our beloved xdfben is the first Ben Ben I’ve met (and one of my favorite people!). I was relieved to learn my revulsion for Benny hasn’t transferred to Ben. 🙂


      1. I’m glad too! Thank you Steve.
        There’s a few people that call me Benny. It’s not my favorite nickname. But how much I dislike it depends on the person doing it. Sometimes you can tell, they’re doing that because they think they’re being “funny”.


    2. One workplace from my past had three Scotts in the same department. They were all using their middle names. They were actually William Scott, Michael Scott, and Arthur Scott. It was just coincidence that they had all grown up using their middle names.

      Your brother would be a natural casting selection for a production of The Importance of Being Ernest.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d have to agree that Clydela is pretty awful. I don’t mind Clyde, though. Just seems like an old fashioned name to me.


    2. I’ve always felt a little sorry for women saddled with what is an obvious feminization of a masculine name, likely their father’s. That’s going too far. I confess to a certain disdain for fathers naming their sons after themselves as well. I feels to me like an expression of ego and a denial of individual identity.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. My mother chose my name after seeing it in an ad for foundation garments. “Corsets by Renee”. I didn’t think they still made corsets in 1958! Our son was named after an archangel, a Metis warrior, and one of the first martyrs in Canada. (Gabriel). He needed a strong name after being born 10 weeks early. Daughter was named after an irascible great aunt. Our son tells us his soon to be born son will have German first name . It is a secret. I am betting on Christoph or Gustav.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was in high school, the grocery store manager was a large, teddy bear-like guy who the carry out boys nicknamed “Dancing Silo” after Dancing Bear on Captain Kangaroo. I always thought that was clever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Stubbekøbing, Alf Kjørup was the owner of the town’s only deli. The name Alf brings to mind a fairy, but Alf Kjørup was no fairy. He was a giant of a man, a pretty rotund one, with huge hands. He had a boisterous laugh and seemed always to be in good spirits. To this day I have a hard time reconciling Alf’s physical presence to his name. His oldest son, a classmate of mine, was named Steen, which means stone. That seemed a lot more fitting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My names deriove from my grandmothers and so I guess I have always just taken them as a given.

    A first name like Catherine comes with a fair amount to work with.:

    A veritable smorgasbord of spellings, guaranteeing you devleop early the habit of spelling out your name the minute you give it to someone who is going to have to look it up or write it down.

    An equally abundant source of derviatives, which can more than adequately see you through all the identities you may wish to adopt through your life (with the unfortune side-effect that you will invariably run into people who are sure you would rather be called “Cathy”).

    I’m not sure if the actual name has anything to do with it, but my child has never wanted or accepted being called by anything but his given name.

    He seems to have a pretty strong sense of himself.

    It is an interesting process, shifting into a relationship with a fellow adult.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Nice job, Steve. Names are interesting, and I think you’re right that a lot of people have strong feelings about them. I find that when I have a strong negative reaction to a name, it’s usually because I associate it with a person I dislike. But not always.

    My middle name, for instance, is Lorna. I’ve never known as person by that name, but I can’t stand it. It didn’t help that when I came to the US, a lot of people I met associated it with a cookie! (Sugar and spice, and everything nice, and all that. Ugh! Not me.) My dislike for Lorna is so intense that I can’t bring myself to read any of Lorna Landvik’s books. I know that’s carrying it a bit far, but there you have it. I have no idea what I’m missing out on.

    I’m OK with my first name; no strong feelings either way. Despite the fact that it’s an English name, and one that many of my Danish friends and relatives found difficult to pronounce correctly, no one ever tried to change or shorten it until I came to the US. After arriving in America, I would often be asked if I went by Marge, Maggie or Peggy; people seemed uncomfortable with Margaret. Now that I’m old, no one seems to object; perhaps Margaret is an old person’s name?

    The Danish version of it is Margrethe, and some of my Danish friends in the US make the assumption that since I’m Danish, my given name must be Margrethe, so that’s what they call me. They are surprised when I tell them that, no, my name is actually Margaret. Some of them persist in calling me Margrethe, and I really don’t mind. Had I been given the choice, I would have probably preferred Margrethe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My erstwife’s given name is Kathe, pronounced “Cathy.” She was proud of that name, as she shared it with Kathe Kollwitz, the artist. When she moved to Belgium she was jolted to learn that Kollwitz’s name was pronounced “Katie” (except the final syllable sounded like “eh”). Everyone in Belgium called her by that name, which was initially disconcerting. And then she decided she liked it. So a Cathy became a Katie.


    2. There was Lorna in my family, a distant cousin on my mother’s side. She was born with disabilities and couldn’t speak more than a few words. I think her hearing was impaired, and she was learning disabled. But I rather liked her. When I was little she liked to brush my hair.

      If anyone wants to choose a name for their child that no one else in the child’s school or workplace will have, Lorna would probably be a good choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As far as I’m concerned, not a good enough reason to name anyone Lorna. But I’ll admit, that if someone named Lorna had brushed my hair as a child, I may have differently about it, although I might have enjoyed it more, if she had let me brush her hair.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The mother of one of my grad school friends was named Lorna Doone Adkins. I think she named after the literary heroine, not the cookie.


      2. I have known three Lorna’s. Lorna Doone is also a romance novel heroine, romance more in literary sense than bodice ripper sense. How did it get to be a cookie? Scots novel and shortbread!

        Liked by 3 people

    3. I love Lorna Landvik’s books. Quirky, local, and mostly light and fun. There is one that’s not up to her usual standard, but all in all, love ‘em. The most recent is a sequel, 20 years later, of her first, Patty Jane’s House of Curl. Aside from those they each stand alone. You might want to give her a try, PJ.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mette or Meta is a common woman’s name in my family. We have Margarets, too. Aunt Greta was a Margaret. The Ostfriesland names in my dad’s family are too weird for words. Heike and Wiard are two popular ones.


  9. I feel the same as you do, Steve. I don’t care much for Christopher, mainly because it often doesn’t even fit in those damn forms with the little boxes in which to print each letter of your name. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve filled out one of those forms and immediately received mail addressed to “Christophe” Norbury.

    The decision on what name to put on my books was a no-brainer too. I’ve always seen myself more as a Chris than a Christopher (midwest unpretentiousness again) so on my books I will always be “Chris Norbury.” My mom would only call me Christopher if I had misbehaved.

    The only time I use Christopher is when I sign legal or financial documents.

    BTW, I used to hate my middle name too–Owen. It was an easy tease from all my friends who had “normal” middle names. Then I realized my dad had insisted on that name to honor his best friend, Bob Owen, who just happened to be a member of the 1960 Gold-Medal-winning Olympic hockey team. Dad never made a big deal out of it when I was a kid, but when I hit my later teens, I realized it’s a damn fine middle name.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I have a cousin named Bart, which much of the family thought was odd at the time. It was never explained, but I will say he was born in Minnesota before the Vikings were really well-established as Minnesota’s team.


  10. Great topic today Steve. The name on my birth certificate is Sherri Lee. When I was in the 8th grade I decided I wanted to combine them and be called by both my first and middle name which was something I had an aunt and a grandmother who had done before me. But of course nobody wanted to comply with that except my mother, who bless her heart tried desperately to remember to call me Sherri Lee at all times. That backfired a little because as a kid you know when your mother uses your first and your middle name you’re in trouble? For the first year every time she said Sherri Lee. my initial response was “uh oh”. Then in 9th grade we moved and I changed school districts. This was perfect. Instead of spelling my name as 2 words, I combined it and everybody got onboard easily. I had one Aunt who took about 10 years to finally cave but even she now calls me Sherrilee, one word. I had it changed legally in 1985.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Yesterday I did a little research on Charmion, my mother’s name. The name is actually from the classical era of Greece. There are two Charmions in history, and I can’t figure how my grandmother ever heard of either. The more famous Charmion is the woman who was a servant to Cleopatra. She took her life when Cleopatra died. I can guarantee that my grandmother never saw or read a Shakespearean play.

    The more modern famous Charmion was Laverie Vallee, a strongwoman and stripper who performed under the name of Charmion. There is a bizarre film of this woman at work. It was shot in 1901, and the photographer was Thomas Edison! The film is evidence that tastes in erotica have evolved since 1901, although the geezers in the balcony sure seem to enjoy the show.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is an amazing piece of film. Thomas A. Edison, trapeze strip artist, The two guys in the balcony! A whole host of topics all rolled into 2:22! Thanks for sharing Steve!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My grandfather on my father’s side was named Carl, and his brother was Paul. My father and his brother were Paul and Carl. My grandfather’s brother had a son named Paul Jr., but no Carl. The name Paul is still in use in my family several generations later. Carl sort of faded away.

    My grandmother felt that my father’s children should be named Paul and Carl if they were boys, Paula and Carla if girls. My parents didn’t go for that, nor did my father’s first two wives.

    My grandfather’s middle name was August. If you do a search in genealogy records, there are many records in Germany of people with similar or identical names. No way of determining whether we are related except if some does DNA testing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My middle name–the one I hate–is Paul. And I came by it in a way I also dislike. Many kids are saddled with names meant to buy favor with family members. My dad had a testy relationship with his father, so he gave me the name of the one guy in our family that nobody liked.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My great grandfather was named Jake. He was a successful farmer and died fairly young, but not before he had acquired 3 sections of prime farm land in northwest Iowa. He had 12 children, and almost each of them named one of their sons Jake just to get on the good side of their mother, his widow. That made for a lot of Jake Boomgaardens in a fairly small area of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, that reminds me. My German Great Grandfather was Gustav Paulus. I just learned his middle name a few months ago. But evidently that’s where my Paul came from. At least they didn’t go with Paulus.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. OT – Here’s to neighborliness. Our neighbor to the west, the one with the Virgin Mary in the bathtub, and with whom we have a rather tenuous relationship, has just cleared all our snow! Even cleared a path for the mail carrier so they can walk across the lawn, and blew a path to my car. Isn’t that nice?

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I’m wondering what you might have thought PJ was short for? Plain Jane? I have to admit, I rather like PJ. Has a youthful perkiness to it that I don’t posses in person. A kind of disguise.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    This topic is the jackpot of interest. I like my name just fine. I found I did not like changing my surname to a married name, so I have stayed attached to the family name.

    While doing genealogy I discovered and family named Hammacher in Pennsylvania. Two brothers emigrated from Germany in 1740–Johannes and Adamus. Johannes went on to have many children. The boys all served over an 8year time period, in the Revolutionary War from a militia unit out of Lancaster Pennsylvania. Their parents named all 8 sons Johannes then referred to them by their middle names. But all 8 men were recorded as Johannes Hammacher/Hamaker/Hamacker/Hamacher in the military records.

    This was a genealogical knot—trying to sort out which son was my direct ancestor was confusing. My 4 times Great grandfather was Johannes Christian Hammacher whose descendants eventually moved to Illinois then Iowa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Something I’m following with avid interest, Jacque, is the sharp rise of interest in genealogy. The reason for this seems to be the sudden availability of affordable dna testing. Suddenly young people are doing these dna tests, and quite a few of them go on to make YouTube videos of themselves reading the results. A common story is that dna results are proving that people lie a lot about these matters.

      There is so much ugliness in the world right now that I am perhaps too quick to seize on what seems to be good news. But I have been surprised and pleased to see how many young people react positively to the news that their ethnic background is WAY different than what they have been told.

      I just saw a video where a young “Lebanese” found out she has a lot of Jewish and Italian ancestry. She weeps a bit because of the shock but is actually delighted to learn how varied her background is. And that is a common reaction. “White” kids find out they have genes from Africa. Many young people are learning they have Jews in the family tree. I’ve been surprised at how many videos shock the poster with news that have Native American genes.

      I sure hope this is a positive thing. Race is such a dangerous, misunderstood thing. What I’m seeing is that the truth about ethnicity, time after time, is how mixed up and varied we all are. Knowing that has got to be a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The daughter of some close Danish friends received a DNA test kit as a Christmas present from her father-in-law. Maria was surprised to discover that she’s 24% Eastern European Ashkenazi. Her parents, too, were surprised and decided to check their DNA, too. Turns out Jytte is 99.9% Northern European, and her husband is 50% Ashkenazi.

        They then decided to give a DNA test kit to Erik’s brother who still lives in Denmark. His test results show no Ashkenazi blood at all. They knew Erik’s mother had been married twice, and that he and his brother didn’t have the same father, but the Ashkenazi blood was a total surprise. It does help explain why Erik is much darker skinned than your average Scandihoovian. Unfortunately, Erik is 80 years old and has no living relatives who can shed any light on the mystery.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is also the very real possibility that these tests are not as accurate as people wish they were. I’ve always had an interest in genetics (which bears no relation to my interest in genealogy), so have been reading up on this a bit.

          Bottom line is that right now, the database they are using to make these determinations is very skewed toward, you guessed it, people who have decided they want this test done, and have submitted their genetic matieral.


        2. I read recently that there are three major players in the DNA market, and that they each have a different emphasis. Depending on what you’re looking for in terms of results, it makes difference which test you get. The test that Maria was given as a gift was 23ndMe, and for that reason that’s what Erik and Jytte chose as well because it would enable them to better compare results. It was also the kit they sent to Erik’s brother. Erik views the testing as a bit of a parlor game, and doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in the results, but does find it intriguing that both he and his daughter scored on the Ashkenazi lineage and that his brother didn’t. There’s room for further exploration for sure, but knowing Erik, I doubt that he’ll pursue it.


  15. Nice topic. I was named my father’s Air Force best buddies. That’s not too unusual until consideration is given to those men being black and serving together in Selma, Alabama with a very white Scandinavian. Once we returned to Moorhead, Wesley Duane stood out a little bit. Now that I live in a very urban areas, I am inclined to introduce myself as Wes Due-awe-n.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. interesting as there is a great-uncle in my very German family in small town Minnesota, and I went to school in western Iowa (where being Irish Catholic was “diverse”) with at least one Duane.


  16. I’ve never worn “William” comfortably, although that’s the way I sign my credit card statements, checks, and other official documents. It’s a useful alert that the person trying to email me or speak to me on the phone does not know me at all. I’ve always been Bill.
    My parents used to report that when I was born my Swedish grandfather suggested they name me Egbert, although that may be apocryphal. Since his father was named Albert, I rather suspect that was his real suggestion.
    Check-out clerks, the really witty ones, reading my name on the credit card slip, often ask me if people call me Willie Nelson. I try to act puzzled and ask, “No. Why would they do that?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had trouble remembering your name for years after I’d met you. By that, I mean your full name. I’m pretty sure you aren’t the only one with that name. Which reminds me of the girl from Golden Valley who gave me kissing lessons almost 60 years ago. While I think of her now and then, I’ve never tried to connect with her. How many Cathy Johnsons do you suppose grew up in the Twin Cities?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. My name is Caroline. I like the name, but many people assume that -line is pronounced -lyn. My parents called me Caroline or Carrie when I was a kid and at about age 12 I altered the spelling of Carrie to Cari. At several jobs I have tried to become Caroline, but I eventually gave up correcting the Carolyn pronunciation and went back to Cari. I like both Caroline and Cari equally well, but I’m not a Carolyn. Not sure how you’all pronounce it, but in type you do very well with not changing my name! Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. One of the inspirations for today’s topic was a fascinating young woman who was one of my daughter’s best friends in junior high. I was looking forward to meeting her because the things I heard about her made it clear she was an original person, not a copy. When we finally met the first words out of her mouth were, “Hi! I’m Elizabeth. Don’t ever call me Liz!”

    Liked by 2 people

  19. My sister’s name is Randi. In her late teens she discovered that on her Irish baptismal certificate it’s spelled Randie. Now, no self respecting Dane would ever spell it with an e at the end (besides she’s named after my dad’s stepsister), but from then on she insisted on the Randie spelling. She apparently has a fondness for names ending in ie, She named her son Jimmie, and her daughter Susie.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Lots of fun reading, baboons, but man it takes a while!
    I’ve never had a problem with Barbara/Barby/Babs/Barbadino/Barbwire… I did hate Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ber Ann when the Beach Boys were popular.

    First day on my job with the business consultants, I realized I’d be replacing a former receptionist also named Barbara. I instantly became Abby – an anagram of the childhood Barby if you remove the 4 – and for 6 years I had an alter ego. I can still tell if someone asks for Abby on the phone what era of my life the caller is from.

    I love to hear my maternal grandma’s full name: Ruth Thyra Augusta Blom Sterling – and after she remarried at age 72: Ruth Thyra Augusta Blom Sterling Jensen.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I relate to this on a deep level. Lately whenever I’ve said ‘I am called Sheridan’ when introducing myself, I make sure to truly feel emboldened by saying that my name is simply Sheridan. It is just what I am called. But below that surface there is SO much more to myself than simply that.
    This helps me not identify with the habits etc. that I identify with ‘Sheridan’. Re-creating myself everyday to be who I WANT to be.


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