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The ‘R’ is silent

By Dalene Rowley

a much younger me

As a firstborn, Daddy’s girl and still a bit of a tomboy, I now applaud my parents’ ability to create a girl’s name out of my father’s: Dale. But it wasn’t always so. My face still flushes when I recall how in jr. high school I would boldly scrawl “Niki King” in all caps across the top of all my homework. My embarrassment burnt even deeper by the teacher’s stern reprimand “Use your REAL name on your papers.” Props to the younger me, however, for pulling Niki from my middle name, Veronica, and for knowing the Latin meaning of my surname, Rex.

Because people in the northwest were generally unfamiliar with what is more or less Mormon nomenclature, by high school I was well used to the long pause that would occur on the first day of every new school year, as the teacher called the roll. It happened somewhere in between Rusty Nail and Dusty Surface.

[insert awkward silence here]

After some hemming and hawing and for lack of a better frame of reference, any given teacher would read “Rex, Dalene” and call out, “Darlene?”

“The ‘R’ is silent,” I would quietly suggest, knowing full well that because ‘R’ is rarely silent, this would prompt a second look at my seemingly unpronounceable first name.

“But there is no ‘R.'”


“Yeah–it’s DAY-leen, not Darlene.”

And then–long before the days of Caragh, Devaneke and Quathyryn–the teacher would quickly move on to something that would inevitably be much easier to pronounce.

Eventually I matured and, even before my father passed away when I was just 19, I grew to love and appreciate both the uniqueness of my given name and the fact that I was named for someone I loved. Imagine how surprised I was when a Daylene moved into the same hall at BYU’s Heritage Halls and when, the very next year, a girl whose middle name was Dalene moved in and became best friends with my younger sister.

I had a good laugh about my name change a few years back when, at about the same age I had been, my daughter Lindsay started writing her name L-y-n-d-z-i. And because I remembered, I understood. That year I ordered her birthday cake to read “Happy Birthday, Lyndzi!”

Now Lyndzi is back to Lindsay. And I like being Dalene. I’ve thought about it since, wondering why the younger me felt such a need to change it up. Although my name is unusual, I’m sure it wasn’t just about my name. It was also about finding myself, discovering both who I am and who I am not, and growing comfortable in my own skin.

Becoming Dalene.

How about you? Have you ever tried to be someone you weren’t? When did you decide you were good with who you are as well as who you are not? How did you figure it out? Or are you still getting there?

About Dalene Rowley

Began blogging as a legitimate way to avoid housework and to keep a journal of sorts. In her other life she wants to be excellent at a number of things, but in this one she's settling for baking a mean sour cream lemon pie, keeping most of the points on her quilt blocks in line, being a loyal friend and aspiring to moments of goodness as a wife and mother.

72 thoughts on “The ‘R’ is silent”

  1. Daelean! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I loved this!

    I hated my given name growing up. In my defense, the only time it was ever used during my formative years was when I was in hot water…and then it was always joined by my middle name. My parents called me by a nickname from the start, so that felt like my real name.

    I never met another person with my real name till I left home. My freshman year in college a certain actress rose to prominence and popularized the name. Suddenly it was "cool".

    In high school, there were 9 girls in my chorus class with the same nickname I'd gone by…so my teacher insisted on using my given name. The drama teacher did the same, informing me that my nickname was cute and fun, but my given name was timeless and I someday I'd be grateful for it. That was the start of the change-over. There were enough people who didn't know me and heard my real name during roll call that somehow the shift happened. I was really shocked when all my childhood friends, and then even my siblings and parents, began calling me by my real name.

    But the question you ask at the end…are you still getting there? My middle name was so vanilla…and had no special meaning for me, that a few years ago I began pursuing legally changing it to Blue…which is a (different) nickname I've had for ages. I like the name Blue. It's different and it suits me. I felt like there was no reason not to move forward with this, until I found out what would be entailed in making the change. Financially it would be spendy. We have legal documents that we'd have to have a lawyer alter. Then there was the whole church thing…for genealogy purposes I wondered what the ramifications might be.

    I decided that it could be my de facto middle name. A pen name of sorts. I think it was maybe a bit of a rebellion against my parents that was behind this…but as I'm getting over the past, I feel slightly embarrassed about my whole middle-name drama. I still like Blue, and always will…but perhaps it's time to make peace with my real name and stop hiding behind my pen name. Not like most people couldn't figure me out with minimal effort! But my original reasons for anonymity have essentially disappeared. It's time. So thanks for this post!

    ~Julia Ann aka "Blue"

  2. *sigh*

    My equivalent line was "Ardissssss. It's Ardis. Not Ardith. My mother didn't lisp."

    I've always been me, and okay with being me. The trick is always getting other people to be okay with my being me. Not long ago someone made a great effort to reassure me — "Don't be so hard on yourself. You're great. You've got a lot to offer. Don't forget that." I finally asked him if he really believed that — I already knew that, and had always known that, and was he trying to convince me, or himself? I actually think having a name that was my own, and that i didn't run into much on anybody else until a year or so ago, helped reinforce my sense of myself.

  3. How funny. My name is Gwendolyn, which is great and I do love. I have no middle name because my father thought Gwendolyn was long enough. When I was little I was very confused and thought my middle name was "Dolyn" for a long time.

    I remember some surly preteen years when I remember asking my mom if I could change my name to Gina.

  4. So…I, too grew up with an interesting name: Catania. It is an Italian name (it rhymes with Lasagne).

    I've always loved it. I've never had a nickname. The funny thing is: my mom had me out of wedlock. I was adopted when I was four, but for 32 years, I didn't know my birth father, but I knew that he was Italian. My first name – being Italian – was coincidental.

    Anyways, I had always wished I knew more about my birth father – even though my dad (my adopted father) was really great. Last year, I finally found my biological father, and it turns out that he is from a small town in sicily – close to Catania.

    Now more, than ever I love my name – i feel like it represents who I am: My first name -Italian – my blood, My middle name is my grandma's name (also my blood, and I love my grandma), my maiden name is Irish (adopted Irish!), and now, my surname is my husband's.

    It's funny how things work out.

  5. My name doesn't have a unique spelling, but it does have a (slightly) unique pronunciation. I went through the same torture as you the first day of school: The teacher would call out "Aaaandrea?" and I would say, "It's pronounced Awwwndrea," and the whole class would chime in, "It's Awwwwwndrea" in a sing-song voice. Lovely. I've always liked my name, but the experience made me more sensitive to calling people (especially my students) what THEY want to be called and pronouncing their names correctly.

    I went to my 20-year high school reunion last year and we all had a good laugh about it. People who love me know how to pronounce my name.

  6. Oooooh, yes. I went through a long period (third through ninth grade) when I wanted to be called pretty much anything but Christina. I shortened it to Christie, switched the last letter to make it Christine, and even went by Rie, a totally made up shortened form of my middle name, for three years. I finally got tired of explaining myself and went back to Christina when I was fifteen.
    M family moved a lot, so it was easy to reinvent myself every couple of years. I think it was a control issue- I wanted to be called by a name I chose myself, not something my parents came up with. And it didn't help that it was a pretty popular (and therefore, to me, boring) name to begin with- I knew multiple other Christina Maries growing up.
    I'm still not crazy about my name- I don't think it says anything about me, and sometimes I'm annoyed that it is not possible for me to blend in with my Jewish friends. I occasionally still shorten it to Stina when I'm feeling rebellious.

  7. My name is also Jennifer. I go by Jenni with an I. I changed it to Jenny with a Y when I was in elementary school for a couple days. When I got married, I decided to go by Jennifer Lee because Jenni Lee sounded like a pie. That didn't stick either.

    My son was watching tv and they were talking to a Jennifer and my 4- or 5-year-old son said, "Heeeyyyy Mom! That girl has the same name as Jennifer Barnson!" (Our neighbor.) The name that has finally stuck for good is MOM.

  8. I didn't marry until much later in life, so I spent 34 years as Karen Dick. I could fill this comment box with numerous stories about my maiden name (which still appears on my document that use my full name, like my driver's license and my screen name in grad school right now), but instead I'll explain the time that my first name was a problem. I roomed at BYU with another Karen, a Carol, a Carrie and a Carol Lee (and a Janeth). I went by Trudy that year to avoid the confusion with all the other C/K gals. Oh, and Dalene. I have a cousin name JaNeal (daughter of Janine and Neal). I love those parent-blend names. They rock.

  9. For reasons I can't even recall, I spent fifth grade trying to get everyone to call me Warthog. I wrote it on my school papers until my teacher said that wasn't allowed and called my parents to report my apparent identity crisis. My dad then sat me down at the dining room table on a Sunday night and told me that that was "not acceptable" behavior and why wasn't I trying harder to be like [other girl in my ward, older than me and I guess a model child!] This of course made me hate my name even more as it represented who I felt like I was being forced to be instead of a person of my own making. Eventually, though, I moved out, was free to be me, and decided to not care that my name is so mysteriously unpronounceable to easterners – which I think contributed to my shyness as I dreaded being introduced. I've come to appreciate that at least I didn't have to share my name with five other kids in my classes. Now, while I still wouldn't choose my name, I am glad to be different.

  10. Hi. My name is Melody. You can call me Melanie, like everyone else does.

    Also, I became Mel by default many years ago. I'm okay with Mel because it is a term of endearment of sorts when close friends, family, or even new friends spontaneously shorten my real name.

    But Mel seems like a man's name. I'm a woman.

    I like Melody. I like me. I like you too.

  11. Oh where to begin? I've ALWAYS hated my name. H-a-t-e-d it. No one can ever spell it ("…it's just like "Robert" only with an "a") I cringe everytime I hear REEberta (what's with that anyway?) and ("yes, my dad's name is Robert…) My name always seems so much more about my parents than about me (duh!) and since my parents and I are on totally different paths of understanding it feels like just one more way that they've imposed THEIR narcissistic ways onto me; as silly as that sounds.

    I'm not sure I'll ever feel it fits me. It will always feel like I'm an extention of a man named "Robert" whom I don't respect.

  12. Because I want to know people's stories, I am so loving your comments today. Thank you!

    Blue–I especially love your big reveal at the end of your comment. Beautiful! What you write about being called by your first and middle name when you were in hot water reminded me of how I once thought my middle name was some sort of swear word, as I only heard it when I was in trouble. So when I would get mad at my little sister I would call her by her name, followed by my middle name as well.

    Ardis–your response is so apt. And I hear you. I recently found out someone I thought knew me better is not only not OK with me but also convinced I am not OK with me and I think the not knowing me hurt more than the not being OK with me. Does that make any sense?

    meems–a kindred spirit!

    Gwen–I'm so relieved to know I'm not the only one who had surly preteen years mingled with identity crises.

    Catania–I love that you were able to find your biological father and discover more about your roots. It is wonderful how things work out!

    Awwwndrea R.–I love you! I've met a few young people whose parents deliberately refer to them by the full version of their names, but who actually prefer being called by the shortened versions of their given names. It's a fine line–do I tick off the parents or respect the individual, but I'm with you, I try to be mindful of what THEY want to be called.

    Christina Marie–I am intrigued by the idea of being able to regularly reinvent oneself. Was that a good thing or was it problematic? I love that your name has lots of possibilities.

    ~j–Yet you're all so unique!

  13. I have spent my whole life saying "it's just Jessie" when people try to call me Jessica. It always feels weird, because I am not a Jessica. It just doesn't feel like at all. I also have a lot of funny stories from people who don't realize that the "i" in my name means that I'm a girl, not a guy.

    I moved right before my senior year of high school and I remember wanting to act differently in my new high school. I tried for a few days, but it didn't work. People still liked me, even being my usual self. Thinking about names also makes me think about how when I get together with people from my mission, everyone knew me by my last name, and since I don't even use that name anymore, it brings up very specific memories of being a missionary.

  14. Jenni–I love this: "When I got married, I decided to go by Jennifer Lee because Jenni Lee sounded like a pie." And I feel same way about being called Mom. And now, after sending two boys to England, "Mum." My 2nd son home wrote "Mummy" on his latest email home and it made me cry.

    KDA–I can only imagine. I'm now curious as to where you came up with Trudy that one year at BYU? As for Karen, I seemed to have known several when I was growing up, but now I only know a couple. That seems strange–where did they all go?

    Kaylene (rhymes with Dalene)–Warthog? Oh my! What a brave soul you must have been at the tender age of fifth grade! I recall on separate occasions being present at the family table of two different friends when the respective friend was asked by her father, "Why can't you be more like Dalene?" I didn't like they way such words felt–even to me–and vowed to never say such a thing. I appreciate your need for independence and individuality.

    Melody–I love you and your name–which is perfect for you, oh teller of the single notes of truth. I think you know that when I call you Mel it is most definitely a term of endearment and most feminine.

    Roberta–I'm sorry. That must be very difficult in a way I've never before imagined. And I'm with you, how on earth do people get REEberta from Roberta?

    Jessie–I have always loved the name Jessie. I found this particularly telling: "People still liked me, even being my usual self." No matter who you are, there is definitely something to be said for being yourself.

  15. Although my name is much more common now, 20 years ago it was not! And, I always thought my parents chose to spell it such a manly way. No "lynn" on the end for me, no sexy "c" in the middle… nothing. I remember in grade school wanting to be a Jennifer or a Tiffany… anything girly. And, from my standpoint, my middle name was worse! It was in high school I realized I liked not having to compete when someone called out my name.

    I've been referred to as Josh-lin, Jawz-lin, Jaque-lyn, Hose-lin (as if it were Spanish), Jasmine and these are only the frequent mishaps.

    Onetime, a co-worker (who I had been working with for over a year) put Jasmine in a police report of a case (because I was the co-investigator). So I walked into his office, gave him a business card, introduced myself, and then gave him a copy of his own report! (it went over well, not offensive at all and we still laugh about it)

    Even now that it is more familiar, no one can spell it correctly and people still ask if they have the right pronunciation of my name, but I just say it back to them once and when they say it wrong again I just keep answering!

    Joslin DeNae

  16. I have two first names. My mom wrote both of them onto the "first name" part of my birth certificate. I don't have a middle name. I use both of my first names. It's kind of a little test to see who really knows me. If they just say "Judy" then I know they're either a stranger or just a casual acqaintance. If they say "Judy Kay" then I know they really know me. It's weird when I occasionally meet another person who uses them both. It's rare. The thing is, I don't regsiter "Judy" as me, so I often don't respond if people don't use both names. I've always liked my name. Maybe I just like being odd.

    One thing about names–since I have an unusual one–when I ask students the correct way to say their names, and they shrug and give me a "whatever you say" response, I always insist on them telling me what they prefer. Since I've spent my whole life trying to get people to use my real name, I want to extend that courtesy to my students.

  17. So many people on this thread with unique names, I love it!

    You can call me Kalli, or Kelly, or Kaylie, or whatever else you want. I'll even answer to Karen because I have before.

    Names. I always liked mine. Sometimes I pretended that I had a middle nam,e but other than that I've always been myself. I love my name. I love that it's different but not crazy weird, just like me! Except sometimes I am crazy weird, oops.

    When it came to my boys Paul and I had a firm and fast rule of no weird spellings, no made up names (if we'd combined our two names we would have gotten Kaul or Palli), and had to be short and easy to write/say. I think we accomplished what we set out to do.

    I love that picture of you!

  18. My dad named the boys: Kenneth, Mark, Brent, Thomas. My mom, who had a more creative flair, named the girls. If she couldn't find a name she liked, she just made one up! She ended up making them all up: MarLayne, Sharlee, Sali-Kai.

    I've never minded my unusual name, though if I could have named myself when I was younger, it would have been Skye.

    I'm going to email my younger sister, Sali-Kai, and ask her to post the story of how she got her name.

    What a fun post, Dalene!

  19. I spent 24 years years as Mary Jones. Yep. Not much to say about that. I wondered if I would marry a John Smith. I did marry a Jon, but with no H. And the new last name of Scoresby has more than made up for the many years I spent with the world's most ordinary name.

  20. I forgot to mention I also was not given a middle name. I hated that, and still do. I was always so jealous of girls who had an extra name to go by or add to their signature for flair. I felt plain without one. My parents are against middle names for girls (my sister didnt get one either but all my brothers did) and it seemed so unfair. The only people I know who do that to their daughters have been Mormon. Does anybody know where that stance originated from?

  21. #17-Joslin, I feel you pain!

    My name is Jessamyn. "Jess-uh-min". I've gotten all sorts of variations, the most common being Jasmine. Especially after Disney's Aladdin came out. Then name is of Welsh origin, in the Quaker vein and says a lot about my heritage.

    For most of my life I've corrected the teacher on the first day of class. "Jessie is fine." They seemed to appreciate that. We moved every year of my childhood, though, so I corrected teachers a lot. At home I go by Min most of the time, like the character from the Wheel of Time series.

    My first job out of college they printed "Jessamyn" on my ID badge, and everyone called me that. My boss later told me that he hired me because he liked my unusual name, even though there were several other applicants of equal qualifications. So for the three years I worked there I wore my name as a badge of honor.

    I actually met another Jessamyn a few years back at a fast-food joint. I saw her name on her badge and she saw mine on my credit card. We both immediately dived for our cell phones and called our moms to report the amazing coincidence. It was the first Jessamyn-sighting for both of us.

    The thing about having an unusual name is that you're sensitive to other people's names and spellings. You can almost hear how to spell a name by how the owner says it.

  22. I also have a daughter named Lindsay, who went through a Lynzi phase. Or sometimes it was a Linzy phase. Now that she's all grown up, you are so right, it's back to Lindsay. Isn't it funny all the angst our names can bring to us…and how hard it is to learn to be ourselves. I was named for my grandmother Melinda, and when people asked me where my name came from, they would always question that. It was not a common name when I was in school, though Linda was. So I think they thought it was too modern at that time for it to actually be my grandmother's name, but it was! I was just glad I got Melinda and not her middle name, Bertha…:) But I'm sure I'd have figured out how to be Bette or Bertie or something….

  23. My sister's middle name is Dalene, short for Magdalene, who was our Great-Grandmother. I have always loved it. I would have named a daughter Thyne, pronounced Tine, after her first name, but alas, I have boys.

    I don't like my given name, Michelle. I have a younger brother Micheal, yes spelled differently, who was often in the same classes in HS. The sub would mix up our names. He goes by Mike and I am Shelly.

    I remember going to First grade and being told I was Michelle. I was so sad and confused! I was Shelly, not Michelle and thought my parents adopted me.

  24. #23, I also had no middle name. Or rather, "Your middle name is [maiden name]. You'll get your last name when you get married." When I finally had a daughter (after three boys), I just kept envisioning her as a 40-something single and having to live with that, and I gave her a middle name. The boys all have the middle names of their father or grandfather, but since I had no middle name to give she has my first name as her middle.

  25. My mother upon giving birth to a 4th girl couldn't possibly come up with another name so she named me for my birth month, April. Although I have grown quite fond of my name in the years following high school, there were teenage years when I dreaded a certain football player who liked to call me by the month we were in, it all started with September. He got a brainstorm in April and chose an ode to the months. Then there were also the creepy old men who would sing "April Love" or "April in Paris" at the mere mention of my name.
    There is also no way to shorten April my youngest sister use to call me Apey, which you can imagine no one would want as a nick name. The only other option being Ape.

    As an adult I appreciate the uniqueness of my name, people usually remember it, it's easy to spell and everyone remembers my birthday.
    a few weeks ago when I introduced myself to an older gentleman in our new southern ward he said, well April, aren't you just like a breath of spring air. I smiled all day!

  26. My name is Dovie. I was born on the fourth anniversary of my grandmothers passing. February 2nd. My mom said she had no doubt that is what I should be called but for the first few years of my life she couldn't call me just plain Dovie so she called me "Little Miss Dovie". She was from North Carolina and everyone had called her mother "Miss Dovie" growing up and so she was a little uncomfortable calling me just her mothers given name with not respect title. Sometimes she still calls me Miss Dovie as a term of endearment. I've also been known as "Dove" my dad called me that sometimes my mom and some times my siblings. I found out as I grew up that Dovie was a family name and every other generation my grandmothers were named Dovie. So if I am nice to my kiddos maybe one on of my granddaughters will bear the name. Growing up I didn't know it was different, till I was about five. I suffered a serious burn and had to be on antibiotics and other perscriptions for months, never fail they would be perscibed to Davie I don't know why the doctor couldn't get it right while I was sitting right there. I've also gotten Dobie, Devie, Debbie, Dorie. I don't let myself be bothered by it, either that or be annoyed all the time. There is more to my name than that, I was Dovie Onice Eagar. Onice was made up in the delivery room by my mom. She wanted my initials to spell something. DOE, frequent Homer Simpson exclamation aside, I like it. Like doe a deer, a female deer. The Eagar part caused me some vexation. Especially in middle school. Eagar Beaver, being most common. The terrible overbite was also not helpful in the unfortunate nickname department. The fact that my other two names were unusual made it tricky. I have a normal last name now that I am married. Dovie Onice Eagar Peterson is the name I prefer though The madien name does not appear on my social security card. Had I to do it again I would have left it on. For what is worth as much as I wanted a little more common name growing up my four year old laments that his name was Samuel Eagar, like his cousins because "Peterson is a boring name." So if you ever meet him call him that or Samuel Matthew Boomerang Ninja Heart. He'll answer.

  27. No one can spell Lindsay right. It's Lindsey or Lynzi, on Lindzi. Honestly, I'm not to fond of my name, but it is what it is.

    My grandparents didn't give my aunts middle names, and my SIL didn't give her girls middle names.

  28. Oh and middle names my Eagar grandparents didn't do the middle name with their girls but after one of them was divorced she decided she wanted one so she went to cout and had the name Dell added as a middle name so she was Barbara Dell and then her last name. Whenever she would sign up for phone service or the like she would always use that name. So if any telemarketers called and ask for her by that name she knew they didn't know her and she could just say sorry they were not there. All my girls got middle names, Rebecca Camille, Lauren Kristine, Julia Elizabeth, and Veronica Joy. The boys are Benjamin Matthew and Samuel Matthew.

  29. I can so relate to wanting to change your identity. I wrote my name Rock-sanne from 6th grade until I graduated from high school. Everyone thought that it was really my real name, since they had never seen it differently and surprisingly no teachers ever said anything or made a big deal about it. I am listed that way in the yearbook, on my letterman's jacket, all my certificates, everything. Now, I am totally embarassed that I did that and wish that I would have just embraced my name as it was given to me. The people in my life now don't know that I ever did that, and they would probably think I was crazy if they found out. I still am not really sure why I did it. I guess I just wanted to be unique (although I didn't know anyone else named Roxanne, so wasn't that already unique?). I was a weird kid. I try to forget about it, ha. I always thought that I would legally change it when I was 18, but when I went to college I tried going by Roxy for a bit which didn't stick, so I just ended up with Roxanne, and I am happy with that now.

  30. Oh yeah, and after reading April's comment it reminds me of the song, Roxanne, by The Police. You know, the one about the prostitute? Everyone always thought they were sooooo clever when they met me and would belt out "Rooooxanne!" Then they would ask if I have ever heard that song. Right. That's another thing that doesn't happen much anymore, and I am grateful for that. I would literally walk through the hallways in school and hear that song. Not exactly how I want to be portrayed.

  31. My very unusual name has always triggered the question, "Where did you get your name?" I grew up in northestern Utah on the boarders of the Ute Indian reservation and frequently my mom, growing tired of the question, would answer , "It's a Ute Indian word meaning 'sick-dog-throw-up-in-teepee'."

  32. Hahaha! Oh, how I miss our mother.

    But where did your name really come from, Kai? I think that's a fascinating story too.

  33. 23: Kaylene, I almost didn't get a middle name — my mother's experience was that when she married, she had too many names so it was better not to start with a middle name. I wonder if that feeling isn't rather common and might be the source of the missing middle names for so many girls?

    It occurred to her, though, at the last minute, moments before I was blessed, that I might not like "Ardis" so she gave me a middle name "just in case." I do like Ardis, but I always liked having a middle name tucked in there secretly, too, and understand why you feel cheated not to have one.

    As it is, I didn't marry so didn't end up with too many names. In Mormon culture when so many women (in my field, at least) tend to go by First Maiden Married names, being able to use my middle initial masks my marital status somewhat and spares me a little of the dismissal directed toward single women, at least until I've made an impression for reasons other than marital status.

  34. My only problem is that I say my name "lah-ruh" but everyone else calls me "loh-ruh." Half of my dad's side of the family hasn't gotten it yet *sigh*

    However, neither of my grandmothers really loved their names. My dad's mom was Dorothea and my mom's mom was Marva Jeanne (she did like the "Jeanne" though). When my mom was pregnant with baby #1, they jokingly told their mothers that if the baby was a girl, she would be Marva Dora. My dad's mom was *not* amused, but my mom's mom thought it was hilarious. That baby was a boy, and my parents gave me a normal name.

    Although if my mom had it her way, I would have been Allegra. Thank heavens my dad swayed her away from that!

  35. Oh, and the reason why so many girls don't get middle names is the sentiment that their maiden name will be their middle name.

    Of course, I'm very glad that my parents gave me a middle name, even though I legally dropped it after I got married. It's still a part of who I am.

  36. I'll never forget the day a childhood friend heard my full name (Heidi Ann Dixon) and gasped, "What were your parents THINKING?" I had never had a problem with my name until THAT day, but sure had a complex after that.

    Figuring out who I am and feeling comfortable in my own skin has nothing to do with my name, though. It still stung the other week when I was sitting at playgroup and someone jeeringly acknowledged that I'm the girl who doesn't like to read fiction. It's true. But I'm fine with that. So what if I have other interests, and if my best friends are 15 years (at least) older than I am? I guess I'm still working on being accepted, even though junior high was a long time ago.

  37. JustBatty–I love how you handled the incident with your co-worker–very clever! And yes, when you have an unusual name you learn to respond to anything close. I like Joslin–you're the first I've heard.

    JK Frome–My sister has two first names as well. In some ways that's even more difficult. I'm sure your students appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    Kalli–Your name suits you–I love it. And your boys' names, too. And thank you!

    Sharlee–Thank you! And I'm so glad you emailed your sister!

    Mary–I know a few people with familiar last names who actually married people with the same last name. I'm happy for you to have found your new last name. (Also, my brother's name is Jon. We also picked up that spelling for our youngest son's middle name. I like it.)

    Kaylene–Ah the middle name. I have one, but I dropped it so I could keep my maiden name when I got married. I'm not a hyphenate, but I wanted to keep it and four names felt too clunky. Although in some cultures four would be few, not many.

    Jessie T.–And you are the first Jessamyn. I would like to hope I would never have called you Jasmine. Cool story about landing that job!

    Melinda–I have a SIL Melinda, who goes by Mindy. And I'm glad you got Melinda instead of Bertha, too (not that there's anything wrong with that…).

  38. Shelly–Oh that is so sad about what happened to you in first grade. And I can't believe I've found two more Dalenes just from writing this post! Ever since I discovered my name in Magdalene, I have liked that name as well.

    Deborah–I love that you gave your daughter your first name as her middle name.

    April–What a lovely thing that gentleman said to you! I know one April (middle name) and one June. That's cool everyone remembers your birthday.

    Dovie–I have wondered about your name. It's like an heirloom. I promise I will not start calling you "Little Miss Dovie." ๐Ÿ˜‰

    m2theh–Fortunately for us when we named our Lindsay we had a family name (last name) and a friend's Lindsay in mind. But I do know a few Lindseys who probably think we spelled it incorrectly.

    Roxanne–I am very relieved for you that people stopped singing that song! If it makes you feel any better, I think most all of us were weird kids.

    Sali-Kai–That's hysterical! I love your mom! (And happen to know a little about where you grew up.) Please do tell the rest of the story of where you got your name.

  39. I don't think anyone else has mentioned my name "dilemma", Which I've HATED for as long as I can remember…

    My parents gave me a first name and a middle name (Kim)- normal enough…but then always called me "Kim"..always! I went by Kim in school for the first three years (I guess my parents told them when they registered me?) Then we moved and I was so painfully shy that on my first day in my new school when they called the roll, I was too timid to tell the teacher my preference, so I was known by my first name by my school friends for the next 5 years. Then when I started high school I "came clean" and went back to Kim- the one I always considered my "real" name.

    It's been a lifelong annoyance because anything "official" uses my first name and of course people assume I'm called that. Doctors' offices are the worst- I have to remember to use my first name when I call or they can't find my records.

    Another thing I've never liked is when I introduce myself as Kim, many people say, "oh, Kimberly?" and I'm left with "no, just Kim" wahwah Guess what our youngest daughter's middle name is? Yep-Kimberly!

    Let's not forget the stupid comments because I married a man with a short one-syllable name. Really people?! "Kim xxxx? That's a short name" or "That's it?" or even once "That sounds dumb" Really!

    Suffice it to say that I've NEVER been happy with my name. I always wanted to be "Diana" ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. I luv your picture. I luv to see how children "grow" into their names.

    โ€œYeahโ€“itโ€™s DAY-leen, not Darlene.โ€
    I can so hear this being said ๐Ÿ™‚
    Becoming Dalene…sounds like a great book too!

    My name is Camille, Cami for short. I try to introduce myself as Camille and the reply I usually get is, "You are so a CAMI, not a Camille."

    I had a funny experience a few years ago. I work as a Labor and Delivery nurse and I had just come on shift after my patient had her baby girl. I took over for the nurse and started getting things organized, etc. I am sure I introduced myself with my name but obviously she had more important things going on! After I got her and the baby settled, i asked her what she was going to name the baby. She liked Kaley, and her husband liked something else. "What?", I asked. "Well, he likes Camille, and I really hate that name." lol!

    Needless to say, it must have been destiny…she named her: Kaley Camille.

  41. Ardis–I love that your mom gave you a "just in case" middle name. But I'm sorry that people can still be dismissive due to marital status. That is just so foreign to my thinking that it always catches me by surprise. And makes me sad.

    Laura–Because I've known both, I try very hard to properly distinguish between "loh-ruh" and "lah-ruh."

    Heidi–I have a cousin named Heidiann. I've always like it. It's too bad people can be so thoughtless.

    Kim–We have that same problem with the men in our house. My father went by Dale, but that was actually his middle name. My FIL and my husband (also a firstborn) both have the first name Alan, but go by their middle names. And you bet we passed the dilemma on to our firstborn. It is so messy on documents, as they often only give you room for a middle initial. So we feel a little bit of your pain.

    Cami–that's pretty funny about Kaley Camille–I hope she appreciates her middle name! I have a cousin Cami, and she too is very much a Cami, but not really a Camille. Interesting.

  42. My dad named me. It's the title of a song that was semi-popular in the 80s. I hated it when I was younger(though now I've learned that my mom hated it, too, so that may have been a factor). Nobody ever spelled or pronounced it correctly. I was with the same group of classmates through elementary and middle school, and whenever a teacher or substitute mispronounced my name during roll, all of my friends would snap the correct pronunciation with me. So that was nice.

    Because of that, spelling became very important to me. I didn't want anyone to misspell my name, so I became very good at spelling words and names. I won spelling bees every year from fourth through eighth grade. I also make a point of remembering people's names, and remembering how to pronounce them correctly.

    The meaning and history of names also became really important. Knowing the history of my name helped me grow to like my name. For this reason, when I have children, I hope to give them all names that have some meaning or significance besides you-come-here.

  43. Roxanne, I have an Aunt Roxanne that expressed that same annoyance to me at our Easter. I love the name, and I love the song (pretty much everthing by The Police and Sting) but I would never sing it to her, rude.

  44. "at out Easter picnic." I am awesome at not thoroughly editing my typing, especially when I am sneak blog commenting on my phone.

  45. So sorrrry for the "downer" comment I posted earlier. May I lighten it a tad by saying that I'm happy my daughters enjoy their names….

  46. My parents met on their missions in Brazil and I was born one year after they got married. My real name is Anamarie–all one word but I don't go by the whole thing except for on doctor's records and legal documents (and when I would get in trouble when I was younger) but I HAVE spent my entire life telling people that "Ana" only has one "n" in it. Part of me likes the originality of that spelling, living in North America like I do. The other part of me gets tired of having to tell everyone and their dog to leave out the second "n" and wishes my parents had not gone for the original Portugese spelling when they named me. I hope in the next life my name won't need as much explanations! ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. My name is Heather and I had a major complex growing up with that name because it was sooo popular. I always had several Heathers in my class and inevitably I became good friends with Heathers. It was really hard because I did feel like I couldn't stand out. Having such a common name made me feel a little invisible.

    It also didn't help that I had 4 sisters really close in age to me and people could never remember which one I was so they would just say "oh! your'e one of the (last name)girls."

    Now, I have accepted my common name. But it was funny when other week at church I was talking to another Heather about something and I said, "Okay, thanks, Heather" and she said "thanks, Heather." And then we both kind of laughed. I guess even in my 30s it is still a little awkward.

  48. I love my name, always have. I remember my sister doing the "change it up" thing in junior high school, but I never thought about doing it. For years, my friends called me "Shan" but, and this is weird, when we moved and had to give our first talk in the ward, my husband called me Shan and now, nobody else will, because that's his name for me. Funny, because I've been that forever.
    My mom read a book, "The Secret Woman" by Victoria Holt, when she was expecting me and anglicized a character's name, Chantal. When she read it again, years later *spoiler* she realized she had named me after the murderess. I found that hilarious!
    My son has a basic, solid boy's name; my daughter has a boy's name with a girl spelling (Yep, the y) and it fits her. Should she want to change it later, we added a girly middle name.

  49. My parents named me after someone, but got it wrong. Her name was Lori and they named me Corrie. Completely different name personalities. And since Corey is a boy's name (even though mine is spelled differently) I got booked into the boys' dorm at high school debate camp. They fround upon co-ed dorming so I ended up with my own apartment and got to choose a room-mate since the girls' dorms were full.

  50. "and frequently my mom, growing tired of the question, would answer , โ€œItโ€™s a Ute Indian word meaning โ€˜sick-dog-throw-up-in-teepeeโ€™.โ€"

    Oh. My. LOVE. THIS.

    I must have had something around the first/second grade where I didn't think Shelley was me, so I have been Michelle ever since. But for reasons I can't recall, my best friend growing up and her family always did (and still do) call me Shelley. If they call me Michelle, it feels wrong.

    And I'm with Heidi. Anything that has come with being comfy in my own skin (or not) has not come in connection with my name. I really love my name. Always have.

  51. Oh! I just remembered that way back in 1977 I made a run at having people call me "Lia"as in "Princess Lea" (Lea, Lia…it's close.) Seemed like I had a legit claim to the name…and would maybe grant me some street cred.

    No one took the bait, and my princess dreams died about as quickly as the residents of the Death Star. Sigh.

  52. Dalene! This was a fun post and great comments.

    I've always liked my unusual name. The only drawbacks were being made fun of (which happened mostly in 2nd grade when we moved to Utah, back to California the next year and it stopped) and the fact that because my name is unique people remember it better than I remember theirs.

    I also have no middle name, same reason given that I'd have too many names like my grandmother "Edla Charlotta Kristina…" with her three last names attached to drive the point home (she'd divorced and remarried).

    I remember feeling gyped for not having a middle name. All three of my girls have middle names that I try to use for fun and never just in anger. They all add meaning to their names for me: Eden Sophia, Chloe Esther and Ella Paisley. My oldest son has an unusual name and I think he's gotten over wishing it wasn't different: Silas David. And Noah Wilson is just one of many Noahs despite there being no Noahs when we named him.

    I'm intrigued that so many of us writer types have unique names and I too had tomboyish leanings.

  53. I forgot to share that when Eden was about three she wanted to change her name to "Butterfly Lipstick"!!! I still get a belly laugh coming on every time I think of it! She is all girly-girl!

  54. # Kaylene: I can understand what you mean about not being given a middle name. All the males in my family had middle names but us girls all missed out. I also remember being teased up until I was about 13 as my mother had given me the name Sally-Anne; I hated it. I was teased so many times by kids taunts like "Sally, Sally with a jelly belly" and the older adults would just call me Sal (which reminder me or an Italian gangster). So I decided to go by the name Sara as a teenager and I changed it legally at 18. I also gave myself a middle name (from a friend of mine) which was Jessica. I hadn't realised about the actress who had that name and have since been ribbed about that name as well. I guess we never appreciate what we have- I found out that my original name was the nickname of great grandmother and her real name was Sarah. She had been so touched that my parents had named me after the "pet-name" her father had always called her.
    As time has passed I have thought of changing it back. In my heart I think I will always be Sally. It would just be hard to get my husband and kids to think of me that way.

  55. Kayleigh–I love that your friends called it out for you and also think it's cool that your experience with your name inspired you to be a great speller and get others' names correct. (I am good at the spelling part, but have never been good at the remembering.)

    Dovie–I love that you are sneak blog commenting on your phone!

    Roberta–No apology necessary. When I put those questions out there, I was hoping for frankness and I appreciate getting it. This is always a safe place to speak your piece whatever your mood and you provided a real perspective that I feel is important to understand. Also, I am happy too that your daughters enjoy their names.

    Ana–Where in Brazil? My father served there. Two of my brothers were blessed to serve in some of the same areas there as well. I like Ana with one 'n' and have a two-'n' Aunt Anna Marie (two words) who went by the whole thing. I also think Ana of the Nine Kids is a good name. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Christy–Lindsay thanks you for your sympathy. And you always find the best naymes!

    Heather–I will be careful not to do the "(last name) girls" thing to the people I know in the same situation. And your "Thanks, Heather" incident is pretty funny. It sounds like you are a good sport about it.

    Shantell–Oh your poor mother–that is hilarious! And that's cool that people pick up on the fact that people picked up on the fact that Shan is sort of reserved for your husband and they call you Shantell.

    Mrs. Organic–awesome story about the random perk of getting bumped up to 'first class' in the dorms at debate camp. Thanks for sharing.

    Michelle–It's great that you love your name and also that you knew you were Michelle and not Shelley even at such a young age.

    Blue–"No one took the bait, and my princess dreams died about as quickly as the residents of the Death Star. Sigh" I'm sorry about the death of your dreams (and about those of the residents of the Death Star), but I love the way you put that.

    Sage–Thank you. I am loving the comments, every one. I love your name and actually met a young Sage who was in our Primary for a time and thought of you every time I saw her. I hope she likes her name, too. And I applaud you for using your girls' names in fun and not in anger. Nicely done. (And Butterfly Lipstick makes me laugh as well–just imagine!)

    Sara–What an interesting progression from Sally-Anne to Sal to Sara, even though in your heart you will always be Sally. It's neat that you still ended up with part of your great grandmother's name. Thank you for sharing your story.

  56. You have been at Segullah for a while now because I remember that comments or posts by Dalene have resonated with me. I don't know if I ever wondered about the "r".

    This reminds me that my mom had two first cousins that were brothers named Dale and Dell. My mom could never get their names straight. We were just talking about them yesterday and how the one served in WWII and said he would never speak or the horrors that he saw there.

    When I was first online, I thought I would just go by my initials bkb as I didn't want someone to call me something that wasn't me. A forum that I participated closed and I went by different psuedo names unrelated to my name. It is kind of unusual to have people call you different names. Someone even felt to tell me they named a daughter by one of my names(probably before I used the name even). I thought she knew it wasn't my real name but I made sure.

    My mom would not let me tell my last name to anybody for the longest time as she is paranoid. Now that I am on facebook with people and use my real name and also blog at the blog that my sister started with my real name. I feel that I come across a lot better that way because I am mindful that I actually know these people and they know me. Thankfully, I have felt acceptance from them and those who knew me by pseudo names.

  57. Dalene,
    When my parents served (1969-1971ish I think), it was all one mission. I know they were in Rio for awhile and Sao Paoulo, as well as some other areas. Thanks for liking "Ana of the Nine Kids". I used to be just Ana but there is another gal who posts on Segulla sometimes as Ana (with one "n") so I settled on this. Something sad (but I am dealing)–a few weeks ago I almost changed my name to "Ana of the Ten Kids" but that little one didn't make it past nine weeks. Maybe someday I'll change it?

  58. Barb–Thank you! I'm glad you brought up pseudonyms, as they are interesting in terms of our identity as well. You bring up a going point about why it is good to be real: "I am mindful that I actually know these people and they know me." I wish more people in the online community were mindful like that–I think discussions could be much more civil and ultimately more productive.

    Ana–Yes–it was all one or two big missions then, but I had always heard about my father serving in Sao Paulo. I did come across some old letters postmarked from Londrina, however. It was fun because a good friend of my son's had just received a call there. My two brothers were both called to Sao Paulo South, where both of them met people whom my father had taught and baptised. They still remembered my dad, which was cool.

    And I am very sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

  59. My parents named me after my mother's mom Dora. When I was little I didn't always like my name. There have been a lot of people who were convinced that my "real" name must be Dorothy, or Doris, and it was mostly misspelled growing up. One summer during summer school I told everyone that there had been a mistake and my name was really Danna (my older sister's name). As I've gotten older I've come to like my name. And now I am grateful that my parents chose Dorri and not Dora, thoug my kids get a kick that mom and a fish share the same name.
    Oh and none of the girls in my family have middle names, though all my sisters and I have given our girls middle names. My daughter has a fairly common first name but an less common middle name that she is so proud of, Rowena.

  60. TOTALLY sympathize with the dreaded roll call experience. My name is Nettalien VanDerPoel Gholdston. Try saying that…don't hurt yourself. So, yeah, every new teacher would get to my name and squint their eyes, turn the paper upside down, utter a few inaudible sounds until I offered "Don't bother. Call me Netta….sigh" I can count on one hand the number of times people have pronounced my name correctly on the first try. Nett-uh-leen. I hated my name when I was a kid. Everyone called me Netta and I hated that too because it sounded like an old lady name. My family called me Ned and I hated that because it was a boy's name. And, don't even get me started on that middle name- really Mom and Dad? Really? Way to leave me absolutely NOTHING to work with!

    So then, one day, my grandma pulled out a dusty box of black and white photos and started telling me stories. Nettalien VanDerPoel was Dutch. She was born deaf and immigrated to the United States with her parents. She attended one of the first schools for the deaf and blind in the U.S. She married a deaf man and together they raised two boys and worked tirelessly to show the world that deaf does not mean useless. And, she was a redhead like me.

    That box of photos is now mine and I proudly display pictures of Nettalien in my home so I can be reminded of her legacy. I feel honored to share her name and somewhat satisfied that I am probably the only living Nettalien in the world. Thanks Mom and Dad.

    Once I started having kids of my own I felt like I couldn't let them get away with having easy names so I named them things like Knox (silent K) and Margot (silent T) because- how FUN are silent letters?! They all seem to like their names though. Also, after having to spell Gholdston 37 million times (g-H-o…) I thought I would marry someone with an easy last name. But, alas, my married name is Eagar, which nobody will spell correctly either. Eager beaver? Oh, yeah- TOTALLY original! It's e-a-g-A-r! It's a curse.

    Ranting complete.

  61. Love the name stories!!

    We are another family with no middle names for the girls. In kindergarten my sister was so embarrassed not to have a middle name that when the teacher told them to each write their middle initials on the board she pretended to have a middle name and wrote a "G" for Jennifer. She was even MORE embarrassed to discover that she hadn't chosen the correct letter. Her daughters have middle names.

    For a year or two I was bothered not to have a middle name and started writing "Kristin Daisy —–" on all of my school papers (the Daisy like Daisy Duke of course!!)

    Eventually I decided I liked the idea of my maiden name becoming my middle name, so I contiued the tradition with my four daughters.

    I've never loved my name, and do not like having to always spell it for people, but I have come to accept it (so long as people don't try to shorten it to Kris).

  62. Not only was I named after an infamous bush ranger (outlaw), the spelling of Kellie was very unusual in the '70's here in Australia. Make a limerick day at school (at least once a year every year for my schooling it felt like) was torture. Belly, jelly, telly, smelly, yep, thanks, original.

    Now I can tell who knows me how well by what they call me. "Kellie" means they don't know me very well – "Kel" is what I mostly go by. My ex-husband called me Kel, and when we separated it was incredibly difficult to be called by that name by anyone. Oddly enough, he reverted to calling me Kellie after we separated, which I don't mind at all. People ask if I'm going to change my surname, but as I see it, it has nothing to do with who I used to be married to, but everything to do with who I now share my life, love and name with – my sons.

  63. Dorri–it's cool how your kids embrace your name. I like hearing about others who've grown into their given names–thanks for your comment.

    HumanBean–I got it right on the first try. I love how you discovered the legacy of your name and how you both embrace and cherish it. (And it's great you didn't let your kids off the hook!)

    Kristen–I love that you used to call yourself Kristen Daisy! And it's always interesting to me to see how people w/o middle names deal with it (whether they make sure their daughters all have one or carry on the tradition).

    Kel–kids can be brutal when rhyming names! It is very interesting to me how your husband reverted to calling you Kellie after you separated. And I love your perspective about the name you share with your sons. Thank you for sharing that!

  64. Isn't fun to talk about our names? I love reading everyone's stories.

    My first day of school experiences almost always started with a song: "Cecilia, you're breaking my heart…", a tune which all teachers knew by heart, and no students had ever heard of. (Also, only the chorus is appropriate for school, so it petered out pretty soon after that.) But, my parents have called me Cissy since birth, as far as I can tell, and it's all I use now. So, I always followed the serenade with the embarrassing correction that "actually it's just Cissy", which was of course followed by classmates' snickers. The teasing might have bothered me–I can't remember specifically–but I am my name and my name is me, and I like it.

    I named my latest baby Celia, a nod to my real name which I really do like. It's perfect for her, but I didn't realize the complication I would run in to at those "official" places: "No, I'm Ce-cilia, she's Celia." Here's to another generation of confusing names!

  65. Oh how I love the name Dalene, because it is the name of someone I love!

    When I was younger, I wanted my name to be Madonna. Yes, after the material one.

  66. I've always loved my full name but I don't usually go by it and often use the first half of my name instead. I tried going by my full name in college but found that no one would ever say my name in fear they would say it wrong. The name was intimidating. So I usually go by Mara, 'like Laura with an M'.

    For me though, those that call me Maralise regularly (hubby, my mom at times, a girlfriend or two) are my true intimates. Funny how that works.

    My least favorite nickname is Moey shortened sometimes to Mo (given to me by my ex-SIL whose British accent struggled to get my name quite right). But I do like MarMar and even Mar in a pinch.


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