Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What's In a Name?

For some unknown reason, my parents decided to call both my sister and me by our middle names. This means that my sister was known as Margaretta (a name I find beautiful, but she hated all her life), and I was called Joan. During my early years and in school, grades K through 6, it was necessary for me to remind every teacher that my name was Joan. All of my family and all friends I made in the neighborhood and in school called me Joan. I was and am Aunt Joan to my nieces, their husbands and their children. My few remaining friends from those days still call me Joan.

By the time I hit Jr. High School, I had enough of this. I gave up. Too many teachers, too many explanations, and I became known by my first name. All new friends knew me as Barbara.

After graduation, in the world of business, Barbara somehow became Bobbie. I liked it. Everyone called me Bobbie. Everyone except the man I was to marry. Ralph never called me Bobbie. When he spoke about me I was Barbara. When he spoke to me he used terms of endearment. I think this was because he had a niece called Bobbie, and he couldn't deal with two women in his life with the same name. Don't know why. We ended with four Josephs with the same last name, three of them in the same town. It seems most Italian families name the first son after the father's father. We were no exception. But to his nieces and nephews I am Aunt Barbara.

I still have two friends from that era who call me Bobbie. It does become a little confusing around Christmas time, when I am writing cards. Have to stop and check which name I should be using for which person.

This name thing can get out of hand. Recently I was installing a second printer (don't ask!) to my computer, aided by my wonderful son-in-law by phone from California. Half-way through the process he said, "OK. Now name the computer." "What? You mean give it a name, like George?" "Yep." OK. I named it George. What's more, I named the other one Julia. Now George and Julia and I are happily printing pictures and whatever. Well, George and I are. Julia is rather temperamental.


Rachel said...

I found you by way of Ralph. Welcome to blogland!! You'll love it.

I love the monarch photo you have on the sidebar. They are so pretty!

So nice that you SIL could help you via the phone with getting George going!

LauraHinNJ said...

Nice to meet you 'Bobbie'!

I'm here by way of Villas Girl and just want to welcome you to the wonderful world of blogging and tell you that that Antonio Machado quote is one of my favorites!

sam said...

hi Bobbie, thanks fot the visit. We also name our inanimate objects, stared out as a joke because it irritated our son who was ateenager at the time, and just became a habit! Sarah (my laptop) say tell George "Hi". (Suzi-k from arty fartying around, I am signed in on my daily photo blog which goes by sam, as you can see you are not alone in your identity crisis!)