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.