Friday, February 3, 2012

Debra-Debbie-Deb

Deb: As I wind my way through life, changing, adapting, and reinventing myself, my name has come along for the ride.

What’s in a name, you might ask?
For me? My name game reflects and calls up various stages of my life.

I was born Debra Anne McGrath. My parents loved the name and chose to give me the simplest version—not Deborah, not Debrah, but Debra.

Ironically throughout my life, not one single solitary person has spelled it the simple way that my parents thoughtfully intended. Somehow that amuses me. Did these people maybe perceive me as more complex than I am? I will say yes. After all, I am writing this.

My name when I started school in Grade One was Debra. My teachers introduced me as Debra to the class and by the time the bell rang for our first recess I was Debbie to all who knew me. And I didn’t fight it. Even at that young age, I understood it. Debbie suited me. I was Debbie. Debbie Anne—perky, outgoing, full of beans! Debbie was my style and it attached itself to me right through Grade Thirteen.

I will admit with a slightly red face that there was one misguided period around Grade Four when I announced to the schoolyard at large that I would only answer to “Gidget”. (reddening) It didn’t take. Unless you include my sad attempts at referring to my “Gidget self” in the third person. (Burning red)

I should also say at this point that people throughout my life constantly tell me that I look like Debbie Reynolds. I even won a Debbie Reynolds lookalike contest at a Toronto City Hall Canada Day event. In fairness it wasn’t a Debbie Reynolds’s lookalike contest, it was a general lookalike contest. But I was picked out by one of the judges as a Debbie Reynolds’s lookalike. There were lots of other lookalikes—Burt Reynolds, John Travolta, Jimmy Walker, and Linda Evans. But I won and my prize was a television. I was thrilled. And that win confirmed my Debbieness.
Me at my Debbie Reynoldest




When I got to college and desperately needed to be taken seriously, I decided to adopt my given name, Debra. After all, the other girls in my acting class seemed exotic and mysterious. The most colourful and exciting of these girls had hairy armpits and legs. I was so envious of them. How bold of them how “I am woman hear me roar” of them. I was determined to shed my suburban Debbie and grow the hair under my arms and legs, but the patchy results and my Mother’s voice ringing in my ears put a stop to my attempt at earthy goodness.

So Debra was re-born. I was now Debra McGrath. Dropped the Anne. After all, this was way before the Tiffani Amber Thiessen’s  or the Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s. Debra was a serious actress. Someone to be reckoned with. My imagined reviews included, “Debra’s portrayal of Titania was so nuanced, so ethereal, this critic was transported.” Except it wasn’t. I wasn’t ... Titania, I mean. I was “fairy”. Unnamed fairy. With one speech. The main fairy, mind you, but that still didn’t stop me from sucking. “Over hill, over dale, over done.”

At that moment I would have given anything to retreat to the Debbie. Or even to the D. Small d. Clearly, I wasn’t worthy of the Debra. I felt that at any moment Deborah Kerr herself was going to strip me of my gossamer wings.

But Debra I remained all those years. Through sitcoms, stage plays, waitressing, and The Second City, I remained Debra, ever hopeful that the sheer class of “The Debra” would take me far. With the name Debra I could cling to some modicum of credibility, despite my less than stellar credits.

Then I met my husband and from day-one he called me Deb. Not Debbie, not Debra.  And after a while (read: post menopause), I began to like this handle. Deb. Unadorned. Simple. No bullshit. Just Deb. And my favourite part is that my parents now call me Deb too. And it must be tough for them because they christened me Debra and they loved that name for me. But they got it too. Deb. Approachable. Deb.

So, once again, I have changed my professional name to Deb. Deb McGrath.
See what I mean? It’s good, isn’t it? You know where you stand with Deb.

“Hi, I’m Deb. I’m friendly. I’m accessible. I don’t take myself too too seriously. I’m over myself. I’m Deb.”

But I will always love Debra because that’s how I started. That’s the name my parents proudly gave me.

And I will always love Debbie because when I hear it called out, I know it’s a childhood friend whom I am always thrilled to see.

But now I’m Deb. Deb McGrath.

However I would be remiss if I did not thank its predecessors who made “Deb” the person she is today.

So ... My heartfelt thanks go out to Debra Anne McGrath. Debbie Anne McGrath. Gidget McGrath, Debra McGrath Mochrie, Debra Mochrie, and Debbie Anne.

Thanks, ladies.

I could not be Deb without you.

Barbara: Well, I envy you your name/names/handle/alias/tag/moniker/etc celebration. Mostly because even at my ripe old age, I wish my name was some other one. I will answer to Barb—and do, because almost every single person calls me Barb. Even those who’ve just been introduced to me. Even those who haven’t yet heard someone else call me Barb. Even people who are supposed to be super-polite to me. No, it’s always with the “Barb”. Funny. Anyway, I don’t hate it, it’s fine, it’s just not my … name, ya know? And Barbara? Never really embraced or loved that either. Like my poor daughter, Michele, always wish I had a name that felt more “me”. But I’m getting there. I think, to your point, Deb, “I could not be Barbara without you”. Gotta love that!

Deb: Barb, this is killing me. I had no idea you did not relate to your name. I think this is something you could open up. Why? Who do you see yourself as? What name would you give you? No pressure, but I think it is fascinating. Me? I think you are Barbara—Barbara, gorgeous Barbara. Barbara Feldon, Barbara Eden. Lovely Barbara. Three syllable Barbara. Lovely name. Of course, you have to feel that way too. That is KEY! Do our kids like their names? What else would they have called themselves? What about our readers? 


Do we all hate our name at one time or another?

Barbara: Yeah, Michele does NOT like her name. We've niggled on that one for so long, trying to come up with some kind of nickname or something she’d feel is more “her”. But, nope, nothing yet (and please don’t mention her childhood nickname!!). Myself, I always wanted something more modern. My sisters have such sexy names: Catrina, Nicole. I wanted that. Weird. I feel like Barbara is old-fashioned. And yet, even as I say all this, I’m getting more and more into my name. Isn't that bizarre??? It’s a push and pull…

144 comments:

  1. Interesting the angst over names.....I love the Debra and the fact that your parent chose that spelling of it Deb. And, you do look like Debbie Reynolds!!! (Beautiful photos!!!!) Barb, your are right .... I already think of you as Barb...
    My parents named me Regan Mary and posted it in the newspaper. When my grandmother saw it , she had a fit and said they couldn't possibly name that child Regan....so , they named me Mary-Jo. I get Jo, Joey, MJ. Josephine, Guiseppe and Jose. All are fine with me, but when I just get Mary, I see red....don't call me Mary....Why, I don't know, but you will be corrected until you get it right....all the others are fine though. Weird isn't it!

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    1. Mary-Jo it's like the naked gun movies-"don't call me Shirley!" Wow you must have been glad it wasn't Regan when the Exorcist came out. Cool name though.

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  2. Oh Deb...!!!!!! Debbie Deb Deb.......you are the cutest !!!!!! Its so weird I dont know how many times I ve retyped DEB by cancelling DEBBIE....IDK....Debbie would just come out....All the names wonderful !!!!! I started calling you Deb also because of Colin....in all his interviews Ive watched....He always calls you Deb.....Deb is so Cute....Thanks Colin for inventing sucha beautiful name for sucha beautiful woman !!!!! LOVE you DEBRA ANNE MCGRATH MOCHRIE.......!! (btw the getting along famously pix.....HOT!!!! both of you ;)...Barb looked adorable in it !!! )
    And Barb !!! yeah Barb..I guess I called you Barbara once... well Barb is cute...Barbara is gorgeous:P First off.....In my life you are the first person who's name is Barbara...and idk what the name means But i define it PERFECT, GORGEOUS, and just "LOVE"...Because thats how you are.....I dont care what it means....Ill always define it that way...because it always reminds me of you...you really are LOVE....... I agree with Deb.......your names gorgeous!!! well if it feels kinda off "go general" about it...lol !!!! and seriously I loved the name Michele.....Its so pretty..like her!!!! Trust me I really think.....to hell with what our names mean.....Our personality always defines it !! its different meaning to different people ...for me both of you mean in one word.....ANGELS !!!!!
    I always kinda liked my name it coz its uncommon in India too.....you type "SHALAKA KALYANPURKAR" (yup Ive got a hard to pronounce last name) on facebook...I'M THE ONLY ONE !!!!!!! but its weird people never write "kalyanpurkar" they always always just write "kalyanpur"...So I took it !!And Deb Ive had so many nicknames !!!!! shalu,shelly,shal,ray, reems (idk why...I liked really liked this Indian actress her name is Reema...my friends made it reems) MEOW !!! yeah MEOW....its funny because now whenever I hear it I picture Colin saying it in whose line....but My friends actually called me MEOW coz I'm OBSESSED WITH CATS !!!! and ofcourse the newly invented LIGHT(courtesy of Barbara Radecki)
    love you guys.....you helped me become LIGHT from all the names I had....so Thanks !!!

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    1. Shalaka how do you pronounce your last name. Both names are beautiful. How cool to be the only one of anyone anywhere. I see McGrath everywhere I go. Guess we're breeders. Thanks Shalaka for your always lovely message.

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    2. ITS CUL.....SORT OF LIKE CULT.....YARN....WITHOUT THE R....the pur....is pooh-r......and the kar is pronounced cur....from curve.....so its
      cul-yan-pooh-r-cur.....sounds chinese now :D !!!!
      thanks for calling my name beautiful....its funny Barb's been calling me a LIGHT....when my name SHALAKA..is Sanskrit for a ray of LIGHT :D !!!!

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  3. Very interesting post. I have also went through phases of names. I used to try to disuade people, including family, from calling me Steph. I don't know why, but I just didn't like it for some reason. I even wanted to change my name when I was a kid. I am a name person; when I would read a book, I would pick out a name and think, "oh, that suits me, I wish I was a Penelope (or whatever name)."

    In school, some of my teachers called me by my last name, which was fine. I played basketball for a while, (I'm not a super giant or anything, but I am a little above average height for a woman, so basketball was kind of my sport.) I had one friend that I let call me Steph and for some reason it didn't bother me. I called her by her full first name, but I also had 2 nicknames that I used for her, depending on the situation (you had to be there). Once I got to university, I started letting people call me Steph more, it just fit me better. You all call me Steph, which is fine with me. I honestly can't say how I introduce myself. I haven't really thought about it. I have introduced myself with my full name, but also as just Steph.

    The one thing that I have never wanted to change is how my name is spelled, although for some reason people have the hardest time with it. Crazy. I think if I was a guy named Ed, people would still ask, "Is that Edd or Ed or..." You know?

    Pics are lovely, btw. Deb, you do look like Debbie, but even more lovely! xoxo

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    1. Steph what is the spelling of your full name? Yeah the last name thing. It's good you liked it but I always hated being called by my last night. I have one friend who does it and it's okay because he draws out the last syllable and it's sound funny and friendly.

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    2. It's Stephanie. Yeah, I guess I just got used to the last name thing since I was involved in sports. Any male coaches or teachers I had would call me by my last name, so I just got used to it.
      I forgot to mention, I know a Debbie, and I honestly don't know if she is a Deborah, Debra, etc. I have never even thought about it really, she's just always been Debbie. And I know a Barbara, which is what she goes by. No short version. She is lovely and crazy (in a good way).
      It was so funny that you mentioned A Midsummer's Night Dream because I literally just finished reading it. Lovely play and you would make a wonderful fairy. You would be perfect for the fairy queen, Titania.

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  4. Deb, I must first say I ADORE the pics of you and Colin; very vintage and fun! :)) And I think at some point or another we wish that our name was different.

    Personally, I love my name. Originally, I was supposed to be named Marissa and Kelly, Breanna (my parents would call her Bre for short), but I think back on that and EEWWWW! Does not suit me at all. For me, "Holly" seems like a fun bubbly name (two things that I definitely consider myself). It also goes well with "Kelly". :)

    Something I love more than my first name is my middle name: Alina (pronounced A-LEE-nah...you would not believe the mispronunciations I've had over the years). I actually looked up what it means: it's Slavic for "noble" and "kind". It was also my great-grandmother's name. It's unique, because EVERY woman in my family other than yours truly has the middle name "Louise"...sort of the Korb woman middle name! Not me! :)

    I like my last name: Korb (it's German for "basket"...insert basket case joke here), but I don't like how my first and last name sound together, so when I introduce myself I usually just introduce myself as "Holly". Don't know why.
    My dad calls me "H" and I like that.

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    1. I love the name Alina. And adore the meaning both of which fit! But you are right-Holly is a great name. I was always jealous of Christmas names. Always. And I adore that your Dad calls you "H". Sweet. Thanks to everyone who has commented on the photos. Colin and I love them. Nice time of our lives,doing that show.

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  5. Ah yes, that rings a bell. I've had a similar problem with my name. Originally christened Rosalind, I much prefer the shortened Roz and have slowly trained everyone around me to call me that. Now only my mum calls me by my full name... and it never fails to make me feel like I've done something wrong!

    By the way, somewhat related as you've posted pics, I have to say that I adored Getting Along Famously - such a wonderful, funny show. I'm so sad that it didn't get the recognition it deserved. You and Colin make a fabulous team, Deb. :) x

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    1. Thanks Roz. I love the name Roz. It's cool. Don't we all feel guilty when our parents use our full names? So funny isn't it? Yeah it sure was bad timing for Getting Along Famously. But we still have the memories of a great time spent. Thanks Roz

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  6. I found this very interesting as I was christened Deborah.

    Now the only people who call me Deborah are my parents (obviously).

    At school everyone called me Debbie, but through most of my school years I remained Deborah, until on a school trip to Germany my teacher re-christened me Debs. This is the name I prefer to use now. Though there are a select few that call me Dibs.

    When I give my name I always use Deborah, and hate it when people reply to me as Debbie. Call me Deborah or Debs or nothing at all!

    I even catch my neices & nephew calling me Aunty Deb...orah

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    1. Have to say Debs, I love Debs. So fun. And yeah I have had the same thing "how do you do, I'm Deb". "oh nice to meet you Debbie!"
      WHAT? I can relate.

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  7. Great blog, Deb.
    I too am a "Debra", named after I'm told, Debbie Reynolds.
    I was supposed to be a "Deborah" but my Dad was a little tipsy when he filled in the birth certificate and, well, here I am.
    I have been a Debbie all my life, with the exception of my husband Terry. He always calls me Deb (or honey).

    Naming your child is a huge responsibility, isn't it? We have three daughters and I believe, as do they, we hit a home run each time. Our first daughter, Shea, we named ten years before we had children. Then came Callie-Rae and Sidney Anne.

    This might be my favourite blog of the many great stories you ladies tell and get us thinking about. Thank you for this.

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    1. Debra, Debbie, Deb! You are this blog posts twin! Love it. I laughed when you said "it was supposed to be Deborah but my Dad was a little tipsy when he filled in the birth certificate." Bet that's a story told often at family gatherings. So funny. Your daughter's names are stunning. You did very well by them. Do they think so?

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    2. This reminds me that when we filled out the birth certificate for Stefanie, Phil had a little brain fart (lack of sleep induced, not drink :) ) and spelled it with the "f" instead of the more traditional "ph". We laughed about the mistake -- and then kept it!

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    3. Hi again Deb and Barbara
      Yes, our girls love their names. Purposely chosen with a "male" slant. Shea is a boys name in Ireland, Callie we always knew we would call her Cal and Sidney, well it IS a boys name. If there was a fourth, and sadly, there was not, she would have been Georgia, another name I love love love.
      I like the uniqueness of Stefanie instead of Stephanie. Does she?
      This blog, as I've told all of my friends, is such a gift to women. This particular one has obviously hit a soft spot by the number of interesting responses.
      Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives.
      Cheers,
      Debbie

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    4. Barbara, that is funny about the "f" instead of "ph" thing. Mine is with the "ph", but I always get asked, "is that with and 'f'"

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  8. As a Susan, I got Suzy at home. If I heard "Susan!" at home, I knew I was in trouble! I always thought Susan (and Suzy) was a name better suited to a little girl, so as soon as I hit junior high, I became Sue and have remained so except for the signing of legal documents. I also notice that anyone I meet named Susan/Sue is about my age! Funny how names go in and out of fashion.

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    1. Oh yeah Sue I can relate to that. If you were born in the 50's you would likely be Deb, Sue, Connie, Patty, Karen,Kathy, Diane, Sandy, Barbie and Cindy. Everything that goes around huh? In forty years we will hear all those names again.

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  9. Hi Deb - I'm Mary (Stone)-another simple and to the point name. Just wanted to share. I have five sisters. Two older ones who are twins Deborah Ann and Patricia Ann, throughout my childhood they were Debbie and Patty. Then somewhere along the way they decided to change that. My sister Patty always introduces herself as Pat, and Debbie refers to herself as Deborah. I however still call them Debbie and Patty. As a parent I named my daughter Amanda Nicole hoping to call her Mandy. She has always insisted on being called Amanda and nothing else? At least my husband didn't get his way, he wanted to call her Pebbles Flynn Stone!

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    1. Pebbles Flynn Stone? Oh, no...that's bad. :D

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    2. But REALLY funny. She would have had to be a comedian.

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    3. She's twenty three now and just became a mommy herself but insists she would have loved the name : ( Her daughter is named Mariella, still getting used to being a grandma but it's only been a week.

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    4. I'm new at this anyone know why my name is showing up as Anonymous?

      Mary Stone

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    5. great photos, i seem to go through names like wildfire, Nicky, nicks, nicola (when my Dad is angry with me ) etc etc etc, think you're right as you get older your character changes and your name changes with it.
      would love to be able to do a Debbie Reynolds routine, Gene Kelly dancing with me - perfection ! well him, not me that's for sure but a girl can dream !

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    6. Okay for some reason I could not post reply after the last four comments. Sigh. Anywho, man Mary that made me laugh. Oh believe me at my most hormonal during my pregnancy I wanted to call our boy Atticus! Yep. Hart you're right, she would have had to be a comedian. Or a doctor. Calling Dr. Stone. Calling Dr. Pebbles Flynn Stone. Mary I don't know why it is showing up anonymous. Barb? Can you help. Not my area Mary, I would just screw you up for sure. Yeah Nicky I always think it must be great for them to see themselves in those old films and for their great grandkids too. Nicks is cute!

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    7. Oh and Mary, CONGRATS. HOW WONDERFUL!

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    8. Ooo, I love Mariella. That's really beautiful. Is the Mari part of her name named for you?

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    9. Hi Molly-yes it is and her other grandmother named Marcella. Because there are already three other Mary's in the family we will call her Ella. I wish I could post a pic of her she's kind of cute. Oh Deb are you a To Kill a Mockingbird fan? I can't tell you how I love that movie and made my kids watch it many moons ago. I loved the name Atticus as well but when I was pregnant the second time my husband offered Freddie Flynn Stone because he was sure it was a boy. Tragically my husband Sam died in a car accident one month before out son was born. : ( We had argued over the names Cody (my choice) and Andrew Joseph after our grandfathers. After my husband died I had to name our son after him so he is Samuel Richard Jr. I struggled with the idea of calling him Sam because I worried about him thinking he was here to replace his dad. He then became and continues to be Ricky, now 19 yrs old. The two greatest gifts Sam gave me, our children. I only wish he could have seen his new grand daughter.

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    10. Mary to add your name to your post scroll down to underneath where you type in what ever you want to say ( you may need to scroll down slightly ) . you will see the words reply as and to the right of that the words select profile . click on the arrow beside the words select profile a menu will open. look for the words name/URL click on it . a box will open you can then sign your name in the appropriate section of the box( you don;t have to worry about the URL )
      i hope this a) makes sense and b) helps

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    11. Thanks Linda I figured it out I hit the wrong one when I did select profile it should be there now! I'm so glad I found this group going through a lot of changes in my life right now and need support you all seem like a great group : )

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    12. Did you ever want to name your kids after tv characters? When I was growing up I was obsessd with Bonanza and was sure I was going to have three sons and name them Adam, Eric (Hoss was a nickname) and Joe! Sad but true :D

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    13. Just got back after a long day out and am reading all these wonderful musings about names and such. But then this stream just stopped me in my tracks: how about the stuff of life here. First off, Welcome Mary!!! Thrilled you found us, you fit right in. Thanks for the laugh-out-loud stories re your daughter's name, just slayed me! Then the thrill of your first grandchild's birth -- congrats!!! And then the heart-stopping moment on hearing about your husband's death. So sorry. What an entrance you've made here! Love to you and stick around, baby xoxo

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    14. Hi Barb - Thank you for your welcome! Hard to believe it's been almost twenty years since I lost Sam but it's faith and support that gets you through. I've often been told I should write a book about my life and the experiences I've endured. I'm a survivor, always have been and continue to be. I hope I can help others who may be feeling hopeless for there is always hope. Thank you for accepting me into your wonderful circle! Going to my daughters today to cuddle the baby so my daughter can take a shower and stuff. Oh the joys of new motherhood! <<>> Mary

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  10. Oh, I love those pics! You're so pretty, Deb.ra.
    I don't like my name, either.

    It's Rebekka. Yeah, with double k. Nobody on earth can spell it right. Everybody wants to write it with double c. I have to admit that I like the k-version better, so I'm glad it's not with c.

    But I can't pronounce my name with that stupid R. In Kindergarten my best friend was Lisa. I always wanted to have her name. No R! Now, I don't know...I still prefer names that don't start with an R (maybe I have chinese ancestors?).

    I never had a real nickname when I was in school. My friends used to call me Rebekka.
    Some called me "Rebsi" (like Pepsi? *shakes head*).

    My cousin once wanted to find a name for me. So I let him choose. And he chose: Becki. But he was the only one, who called me by this name.

    When I played "Korbball", my teammates / coach started to call me Becki (expect for one single person, who still calls me Rebbi - Hello? Worse than Rebsi).

    So I still was Rebekka/Rebsi at school and Becki at Korbball.

    Later, when I invaded the internet, and got to know people from all over the world, everybody almost immediately called me Becki.

    So now I'm Becki in the online world, too.

    P.S.1: Did you know that Debra (or Deborah) means bee? And Barbara means foreign.

    P.S.2: My Grandma is not feeling very well. Now, her kidneys don't work properly. And it's her birthday today...This really sucks. *sighs*

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    1. You're lucky, it seems to me, to have a name with a slightly unusual spelling. I have a very common and simple name - Kathy Johnson - and you'd think what could be more simple? But anyone filling out a form still has to ask "Is that with a K or a C? An I or a Y? Is that Johnson with a T?" So there's no escaping that oft-repeated annoyance anyway. You might as well spell your name in some original way!

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    2. I've seen Rebekka and I think it's pretty. I've got one friend named Rebbekah. Yeah, two 'b's. No one spells it correctly, but I've never met another one who spells it like her. She is quite unique.

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    3. Yeah...unique names can be awesome, but still annoying sometimes! And hey...you can always start a conversation, when being asked how to spell your name. =)

      btw, I was named after the novel "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier (aka the Hitchcock movie - my father likes it, I guess).

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    4. I think Becki is a great name. Becki Thatcher from Tom Sawyer is when I fell in love with it. I have never seen your full name spelled with two K's. It's cool and unusual.

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    5. Then the K or C thing. My closest friend's name is Cathy, with a C. I'm Kathy with a K. People often spell my name with a C, and it doesn't offend me in the least, but I am absolutely not a C-Cathy and I can't explain why. I'm just not. That's a different kind of Kathy! That's all there is to it. I do think it's because a K and a C have a different vibration (numerology thing).

      Anyhoo.

      Bet this is the largest number of comments you gals have had in response to a post. Everyone can relate to something about their own names.

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    6. Oh, just found out that Rebekka means cow. Yeah, great. I like cows.
      I guess it's the biblical/Hebrew spelling with k.

      @ Kathy.
      That's what I think, too!
      I'm not a Rebecca. No way. And never will be! =)

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    7. Oh my gosh..."Korbball"

      XDDDDDDDDD

      Made. My. Night. <3

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  11. I've always found it interesting how peoples names change through time. Obviously not everyones, but like you, my name has changed throughout my life. I'm 21 so it's bound to change again at some point.

    At school I was Zoe, then it changed to Zo during high school...along with other names which are probably not appropriate here! But I now work as a stage technician at my local theatre and my name is now Little Zo/Zoe. Mainly due to the fact that I'm vertically challenged and that there is another Zoe who works there. But I quite like it. I even automatically introduce myself as Little Zoe when visiting companies arrive.

    I can't see it changing much more over the course of time. But it's exciting nevertheless. I wouldn't mind being called Mom at some point I guess...

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    1. Okay favourite line of the day Zoe/Zo-"I wouldn't mind being called Mom at some point". Trust me, it will be the best name you ever hear. The boy calls me Mother in the funniest sweetest way.
      Okay best line tied with Pebbles!

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    2. My mom was plump and her own mother was tiny and slim. Mom thought it hilarious when my son Everett came up with his own descriptions of them. My grandmother (his great-gran), he called "Little Grandma," and that was expected; she was 4'10" tall. But for my mom, he came up with "Soft Grandma." Which Mom loved.

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  12. I've disliked my name (Nancy) my whole life. My middle name is Elizabeth and I wish I'd chosen to use that name instead. (To those close to me, I'm Nance, which is slightly less unlikeable.) And like others have noted, the only people I meet with my name are my age or older. I'm destined to become the Gertrude and Agnes of my generation. However!! I've learned that my name is very popular in countries such as Egypt, so I'm hopeful the name won't die out altogether!

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    1. Nancy you're right, it's another of the 1950's names. But I've always liked it. Had a friend in high school named Nancy and she was cute and kind. The other one is Connie. So fifties. And yes Elizabeth is classic isn't it?

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  13. First love the pics, you look perfectly made up, confident, happy and not to mention beautiful as sin.

    Personally I feel no real connection to my name it just is. I've always disliked my name its too short and to the point. There's no nicknames that come from being an Erin, I'm always asked "with an E or an A" or having it confused with Karen, Sharon or something similiar and in one memorable instance Eric. It has grown on me as I've gotten older but it still feels odd. I don't think any of my name really suits me, Erin Crystal Louise. First two no real connection and Louise is my Mom not me. As for my last name I'm still not sure (14 years later) if Beyko sounds any better than Elke did.

    Well at least I got my kids right, they both like their names.

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    1. I like the name Erin. I think it's approachable and sophisticated. Do you mind me asking what your kids names are? I am loving these posts today hearing all of the names. Thanks regards the pictures. We sure were happy in those shots!

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    2. I named my first daughter Erin, because I've always loved the name. She seems to like it too, at the moment anyway! :)

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    3. I usually refer to my girls as E and A online but it's not a rule so sure, Emily (my oldest) often called Em and Anya, pronounced On-Ya.

      Roz I'm glad your daughter likes her name and I hope she always does! I do like its meaning which is "the emerald isle" I don't think I'd want to visit Ireland so much if I was named anything else.

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    4. My sister's name is Erin, so I like it. :)

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    5. My name is Erinlea. Pronounced Erinlee.. But I've always been called Erin. I was the only Erin I knew growing up. A billeting parent once thought my name was Grin because of my swim coach's messy handwriting. That nickname stuck with my sister and she still calls me that once in awhile.

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  14. Gidget-I LOVE Deb as the selection and you are exactly right about the why... Debbie is 'cute' and Debra is SERIOUS--Deb is perfect. It's funny to me that you've had such success changing over the years. My given name is Tamera, but I have ALWAYS been Tami, no matter what efforts I make to use a more serious version. Until the writing brainchild of just dropping it altogether for my maiden name, I mean. Hart fits and I love it (it was always my favorite name so I like using it for a first)

    Barbara-my mom is ALSO Barbara and she has always suffered exactly what you are talking about, and I have another good friend Barbara who also doesn't really like the Barb thing--I actually call her Babbs, which doesn't FIT except that we know each other in a playful venue, so it is fitting for that. (the same venue that refers to me as Tim Tam or Tamster)

    And as a side note: I am Tami for Debbie Reynolds character Tammy.

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    1. First of all, Hart is a killer name. FAB! When I went into the biz, my Dad wanted me to take my Grandma's maiden name which is Parr-King. Debra Parr-King. I didn't because well my name is McGrath. How funny that you were named for a Debbie Character. I LOVE THAT. I thnk Tami is cute and I love Tamera. Is the emphasis on the front or back?

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    2. It rhymes with camera, so the middle e is almost non-existent. I think Tami is pretty out-dated now, so i'd really love to get used to Tamera, but I can't. Hart at least I will respond to.

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  15. Oh Deb, I so relate to this. This is one that I can relate to very very much. Before I was born, of corse my parents were trying to figure out a name for me. What's cool to me is that my parents did not actually name me, my great grandmother did. She told my parents that when I was born,they wanted to name me Lyndsie Nicole. So that's what I got named. BUT, now the thing that I kinda love and hate at the same time is people that don't say my name right , don't spell it right. People always spell my name as Lindsey,liandey,,Lindsay . I don't thing that I have ever seen my spelling in my name In anything. So in one way I love my name because my great grandmother gave it to me and I am very honored that she gave it me ,but I just wish people would learn to say and spell it right. Although I never get called my actual name, I usually get called Nicole,or Lynns. I just wish people would learn to say my name for me. But I did find out what my name means. I looked it up only to find out it means A tree. I can live with that. If you all get a chance look up your all's names ,you might be surprised what it means.

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    1. A tree? Well that is the best Lynsdsie and how precious it must be that your Grandma named you that. But yeah I can see how you would be challenged regards the spelling. I am constantly correcting people for my spelling.

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  16. I am Debborah with two B's. I was Debbie for awhile, but really didn't like it after Debbie was doing Washington, Debbie Does Dallas etc. So by the time I was in my late 20's I was Debborah, exotic, ambitious, person that reinvents herself every decade or so. My parents still called me Debbie though and that's cool. My husband calls me Phred.

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    1. I have never seen Debborah with two D's and you are so right. I took a ribbing with the Debbie Does etc too. My husband calls me Phred. Wow that made me laugh. So cute. The spelling is killer.

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    2. Deb, my husband likes to say the only porn we watch around here is "Debbie Does Dishes."

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  17. I received what I am still convinced is a male name (Welsh for sea protector...REALLY?), other proof notwithstanding.

    Mom wanted to name me Megan, so I could have been Meg Ryan and perhaps done greater things.

    But no, I received the name from the XY because HE didn't want me to have a name with a nickname. Then from my earliest memories, the fool called me Red, which suited him fine, but only drew attention to the one attribute that EVERYONE made fun of.

    So absolutely NO thanks go to him! Bah-humbug!

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    1. Wow sea protector? Could that be more specific Meredith? I always have loved the name since I first saw Meredith Baxter. It's elegant. Yeah Red. My version of that which you don't need emphasized would be Short!

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  18. I love my name. I don't think I've ever had a point where I've been like "eww, I don't like my name." I've also acquired a lot of nicknames along the way...mostly Opal. My dad gave it to me when I was in 2nd grade. To this day I don't know the back story behind it. It still sticks every now and then. I also have a friend at home that calls me Kel. Always has. I don't mind though :]

    My middle is my family's middle name: Louise. I share my middle name with several other relatives, including my mom. My mom and I actually have the same initials :D (KLK). And to think...my name would have been Bre...BUHHH!!!! I am SO not a Bre.

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    1. So glad you love your name Kelly. It's a great name. You have to ask your family where Opal came from and report back. I'm dying to know. Cool that you and your Mom share initials. In Scotland when and where my Mom was born they were given last names for middle names so she was Annie Smith Munro. Man does she hate it. If we had a girl after the boy we were going to call her Annie Laurie. My Mom begged us not to. But it never became necessary so...

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  19. I love this topic. It's so easy to relate to...we all have a name. Anyway I found out about this blog through Whose Line via Colin so that’s why I only call you Deb. As you said that is how Colin refer to you so that is all I knew you as. And now my explanation for Barb. Ok Barb you should know…. I am the worst speller. I get almost any word that ends in –el or –le mixed up. Even simple words like table or bagel I end up having to write both ways and then just guess which the proper spelling is. I just can never remember spelling. So when it came to this blog I tried to spell your full first name as it appears before you write something but I was always way off and having to scroll up to check my spelling. I could never get the ending of your name correct, with the order of the As and R. Sorry : ). So that is why I just call you Barb, because I know how to spell it LOL.
    My name is very simple so there isn’t too many variations available pronunciation wise. Spelling wise there are a lot, like Kellie ,Kelli, Kelley and probably others too. So I always spell my last three letters of my name for people who need to write my name but don’t know me.
    I got the name Kelly because it was the only girl name my parents could agree on : ). In my baby book there is a whole bunch of lines for each parent to write their possible names. My mom has tons of names for both boys and girls. My dad has tons of names for boys but only Kelly for his girl column. Since my parents didn’t find out my gender until I was born they went with Kelly since it was the only girl name on both of their lists : )!

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    1. Kelly from NJ, again Kelly is a cool name. And it's funny about the Barbara thing. AND I have learned something about our darling Barbara through this. Because I call her Barb! I am going to try really hard to change it but...

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    2. You must do a great spell-check, Kelly, because I've never noticed spelling issues! And you can call me Barb. In fact, I think I'd find it weird if Deb or Phil (specifically) started calling me Barbara. Even though that's my name. Weird, huh?

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    3. Aww thanks. And yes I run these things through spell check like 5 times before I hit publish! : )OH and thanks for being okay with Barb.. makes it sooo much easier on my end : ) <3

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  20. Deb, you did look like Debbie Reynolds. Also, I only know you two as Deb and Barb. I was supposed to be named Marissa after my grandfather Maurice but after I was born my Dad who didn't like Marissa decided Madge was better (after Madge Sinclair, an actress). I hated Madge forever and when the Palmolive commercials came out with Madge the manicurist I was doomed even more. Susan was my middle name but I didn't like that either (too common) so I was stuck. I have many nicknames some being Madgic,Madgical,Magenta and I like those. Also, just liked being called by last name Stein too in high school.The one good thing about a unique name and birthday (Halloween) is that people remember you. That part I like but I just never saw myself as Madge.

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    1. Stein is cool. Really cool. I like Madge but yes what a ribbing you must have taken. "Hey Madge are you soaking in it?" comes to mind. But Stein. Just Stein. I love that.

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  21. I forgot to mention that Madge Sinclair was black from Jamaica. No idea where that came from. But I like the idea of it.

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    1. I love the idea of that Madge. Gives it an exotic air doesn't it?

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  22. I have read a lot about numerology, and I believe the full names we are given at birth affect us profoundly, whether we like, use, or keep them, or not.

    When we change our names, whether for marriage, profession, or any other reason, it matters. If you think it doesn't, recall for a moment how pissed off or hurt people get if you call them by the wrong name. We DO identify with our own names. Think about how most men wouldn't dream of changing their own last names to their spouses' last names -- they'd think that quite an unmanly, self-belittling thing to do.

    Oh, names are very important. We take them seriously, as well we should. They are words we use to identify ourselves, and we all like to be identified as Who We Are. Or sometimes who we Want To Be.

    I've never had a nickname that stuck, but derivatives of Katherine (my given name) are commonly used for me: Kathy, Kay, Kate, Katie, Kitty, and I answer to them all. Like you, Deb, I know who's talking to me by what they call me: family and people I grew up with: Kathy. Old friends from Katimavik days: Kay. Work and internet acquaintances: Kate (due to a long story not worth telling). And so on.

    And then there are the just-having-fun aspects of naming. When I started blogging 10 or 15 years ago, I got the biggest kick out of giving pseudonyms to the people I was mentioning in my entries. I still like to play around with names in a friendly, lighthearted kind of affectionate way.

    And now, Girlysue, I must go check your TCE bio and make sure we've got your professional name right!!!

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    1. Which of all the Kate, Kay, Katie's do you like the most? Man do I love the name Kate and especially Kay. Beautiful Kay in father of the bride. Love that name. But I do sooooo like the Girlysue!

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    2. I don't think I have a preference, actually; it feels like Kathy is the real, plain old me, and the others are newer aspects, if that makes sense, which are a change from the same old, same old, and thus quite welcome. But it would seem weird if my family started calling me anything but Kathy.

      I have picked up a number of nicknames (for others!) from my former husband, to whom I must give credit for Girlysue ... he also came up with many for our kids, and now the names come out of my mouth without a second thought, too.

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    3. It's funny, I met you as Kate and can only think of you that way, even though I know you as Kathy on FB and such. I love Kate though and am seriously jealous. That might be one of my fave names of the non-"exotic" ones.

      About the numerology and such, I do think either way, people are connected to their names. Which is why I'm feeling the Barbara more and more as I age.

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    4. I am really overstaying my welcome here leaving so many comments, but ... interesting from my perspective is that Kathy and Kate both break down to the same number numerologically, so they have the same "vibration" so maybe that's why I'm as comfortable with one as the other.

      I didn't know any Kates when I was growing up, but so many of my favourite older girls who were beautiful and treated me right (like they do, right? Remember those older girls, when you were a wee one, who were kind and sweet to you and were your babysitters?) were Barbaras. So to me, Barbara is a perfectly fitting name for you, even though you're younger than me, because you're so much like I remember them. Unless you've got us all fooled! And are really a female Dorian Grey. Is there a portrait hanging somewhere in a dusty attic?

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  23. As a names enthusiast (onomast), I LOVE this post.

    Molly. I'm not sure how people think of my name. It was a fine name growing up and as a teen. Since graduating from college, I've just been a stay-at-home mom. I don't know how my names sounds in a professional setting. Still, I think Molly is nice. People I've met named Molly are nice people. It's not too popular, it's not too weird or unusual, it's just good, nice, friendly Molly.

    My sister is a Susan. She never has connected with her name at all, but she doesn't know what she would replace it with if she could. If I shared my kids names online, you would see how much I truly love names. I'm not sure whether they like their names or not, and I'm not sure how they will feel about their names when they grow up. I wish I could be the lady who has 19 kids just so I could name them all! I've got a list of names I love that will never get used.

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    1. A names enthusiast (onomast) wonderful Molly! One of my dearest friends named her daughter Molly and I was smitten with it. So warm so friendly so accessible. Molly. I adore last names for first names. Adore it! If I could pick a name I love it would be Arden after Eve Arden! Arden as a first name. Sigh.

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    2. Oh, I LOVE Molly too! Okay, Ms. Onomast, give us onomasty names for a lark, why don't you???

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  24. Deb, I feel the same way about "Deb." It's approachable. Of course, if you were still "Debra," I'd think that was just fine, too, because that'd be how I "knew" you.

    By the way, I LOVE those stills from "Getting Along Famously," or, GAF.
    It's funny how names of shows and movies have been shortened, as well. ST:TWOK = Star Trek:The Wrath of Kahn. I'm sure I don't have to explain WLiiA.

    My mother named me Dawn and my brother Mark because there WERE no nicknames for them. We'd actually be called our names. It was a good idea, in theory. In practice, it's different.

    My middle name is Elizabeth. I hate it, because of the E. My mother told me the middle names in her family is the name of the previous generation. My mother is Linda B, for Beatrice. I was supposed to get stuck with Ethel, but my mother refused, so E it was. (My brother got "William," from my grandfather. He got off easy.)

    My grandmother would call me Dawn E. I hated that, because Donny and Marie were big back then, and I was NOT a guy. That's my hang-up. Dawn, NOT Donny. And NOT Don. I've gotten mail addressed to Mr. Don Powers. UGH.
    My dad used to call me Dawn Liz. Didn't mind that, because it wasn't used to indicate anger. "Dawn Liz! Get in here!" Never happened.

    I've had people claim that I'm mispronouncing my name, or they can't figure out how to pronounce it. Ummm, yeah. I've even gone so far as to ask Colin and Brad to say my name, because someone had had trouble with it recently. They looked at me like I had three heads, but I'm used to that with them :), and they said it. I explained why I was asking. Then they figuratively looked at the person who had trouble pronouncing it and "looked" at them like they had three heads. I felt vindicated.

    My daughter is Sarah (WITH the H) Lynne. Lynne came from my mother, so the tradition remains. It works because at least she's not Elizabeth. Or worse, Ethel.


    PS My parents have 3 cats. One of them, Figaro, has been coughing for a few days. No hairballs, some crackling. I knew lungs, thought pneumonia. Brought him to the vet. He's there now, waiting for a cat cardiologist to come in and check him. Vet says it might be cancer, and he's on DNR. Keep a good thought, particularly for my mother. This is gonna be a rough one.

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    1. We got the call. Fig couldn't breathe without oxygen and was suffering, so we went over and he was panting hard, even with the oxygen they were blowing at his nose and mouth. I don't think he quite knew we were there.
      We've put several cats down over the years, but this is the first time I've actually considered it a true act of kindness. He's been to this vet so many times (diabetes, thyroid) that they were all almost crying, too.

      My mother is not doing well. Technically, he was my daughter's cat, living at Nana's because her dad's allergic. Of course he bonded with who was actually in the house and, in particular, with my mother. It didn't hurt that she'd let him lick the bowl after she ate ANYTHING. Cereal, ice cream, tomato sauce... he didn't turn down much.

      He had a personality big as life, and he'll leave a rather large space in the household. Moose...Fig...Figaro, you'll be missed.

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    2. Dawn we will keep a good thought for your Mother! Also for Figaro. The story of your name is fascinating and yeah I totally get the three heads thing. What the? And Dawn my friend, I think you dodged a bullet with Ethel! P.S. everyone. Barb wanted you to know that she is out of town today and super busy but it really enjoying catching comments and will weigh in later. Or I should say Barbara is busy!

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    3. sorry to hear about your mom . i have seen 3 of our Airedale terrier dogs over the years put to sleep . i sympathize with what you have gone through dawn . it is a true act of kindness , rather then let an animal suffer on .

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    4. (Thanks Deb for getting me in here at a decent hour!) Dawn!!!! So sorry to hear about Fig. Oh no... please kiss your Mom for me too. So so sad. xoxo

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  25. Sharon Corrine Cara Reine(gewertz) and don't u forget it!February 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    This topic made me laugh- the first thing I though about was Liza with a Z:

    Now - if my name were Ada,
    I'd be Ada,
    Even backwards I'd be Ada
    Or if my name were Ruth,
    Then I'd be Ruth,
    Because with Ruth,
    What can you do?
    Or Sally, or Margaret, or Ginger or Faye
    But when you're a Liza
    You always have to say...
    It's Liza with a Z
    Not Lisa with an S
    'Cause Lisa with an S
    Goes "sss" not "zzz"
    It's Z instead of S
    Li instead of Lee
    It's simple as can be
    See, Liza!

    Nice to be besties w Kander and Ebb and get them to write you a song about your name huh?!

    I wasn't thrilled w my name Sharon - to soft and serpentine- for a long time. much prefered my 2nd middle Cara but nobody was willing to go with it! I hadda Grow into it. I get Shar a lot and for a while "Shezzy" which set my teeth on edge and I HAD to get people to stop!!( for the sake of their heath and wellbeing!!)

    Barbara- always liked it -Bar is good- Babs a little too 1930's ( chorus cutie Babs R..)

    Oh DEB- had to think of u thus to keep klear of other Debbie's and secretly was intimidated w Debra- so much like She-Ra- Princess of Power- kinda how I pictured you! i know I have made the Debbie Reynolds comparison myself many times and wish you had had aloner time w GAF to show those skills but the show's tapes do eist and will hold your mad skills for all posterity!( or as long as the CBC has storage-)

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    1. Sharon I like your name. There was a great little Mouseketeer names Sharon! Yes where are Kander and Ebb when we need them. I love that little ditty. I've never heard it before. Shezzy! Yeah, I'd kill them!

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  26. Deb -

    Whoa. Wow. Colin renamed you. Your husband's love literally gave you a new identity.

    That is heavy stuff.

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    1. wow Rigel I never thought of it like that! Heavy indeed. Thank you Colin.

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  27. Hey ..It´s me...Glenda Arlene in Costa Rica... I have a lot of catching up to do WITH YOUR BLOG. Just saw the photos...Wow. so beautiful ! I have missed your blogs. Today I MADE time. Everything else can just go to .... I will catch up and post comments later but in case noone in Costa Rica has told ya...Will Smith is here making the movie After Earth! It is being filmed in La Fortuna, Volcano Arenal. Wonder if they gave him Gravol!

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    1. Hi GLenda! How nice of you to pop in!!! Will Smith huh? Love him. Won't he have fun in gorgeous Costa Rica!

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  28. Deb is a lovely, warm and approachable name. I think it's great that Colin dubbed you that.

    I've dealt with ye olde spelling issue too. I don't like the idea of being thought of as an "Amy" - it seems so dull. I never really liked my name either, but I think I'm coming to terms with it (I'm only 20 so I've got time!!) I do like it on the very rare occasions that people affectionately call me "Aimz" although usually it means that they want something :P

    The best thing is that if I'm ever feeling a bit angsty about my name, I just remind myself of one very important thing: It could've been worse, Mum might have let Dad name me "Virginia"

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    1. So funny Aimee that Aimz means they want something because I can totally hear the tone they would use when saying it! I think Aimee is stunning!

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    2. *hehe* I have a book, in which about girls and horses and love (I read this as a teenager). And one of the horses is called Aimee. I always thought this is a beautiful name! :)

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  29. AAAH, Names…O.k. my name is Glenda Arlene Morris. Arlene after the actress Arlene Francis.In grammar school I was Glenda, in college, Morris. My husband’s family name is Orlich. Official married name, Glenda Arlene Morris De Orlich. The “DE” means “of “or belonging to. I have been called a lot of names, good and bad, even a “sweetie”, Glendita, Gringa, Macha, Machita but the one I have enjoyed the most is "Mami" and now "Oma" by my grand-daughters. So there you have it. What´s in a name? A whole world.!!

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    1. Wow and what a world of names you have Glenda! Mami, so sweet and Oma, so precious. thanks for sharing this wonderful name game of yours with us!

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  30. My Name Evolution began with the name my parents gave me - Joelyne Linore Swidzinski, where Joelyne is pronounced Jo-leen, not Jo-lynn. My mom wanted to be somewhat original - and wanted to incorporate "Joel" - a character from The Edge of Night soap that my mom watched when pregnant with me. And, I was born a year before Dolly Parton's hit, "Joleen". Pretty good considering the name was hastily created (they were expecting a boy - Jason or Dwayne would have been my name)...

    Then, the family began calling me Jo-Jo. And, after a bit of convincing from my brother that I was actually born in Manitoba (which I'm not!), I insisted that I be called "Yo Yo from Manitoba"!

    Once in school, the teachers kept calling me "Jo-lynn" which drove me batty. It's Joelyne. :) As I got older (in small town prairie), I got frustrated with it, and just got the teachers to call me Jo, because Jo-lynn felt like fingernails being run along a chalkboard (and still does a bit even today).

    Then, my family moved to Big City, Prairie, and, I went by both names - Jo and Joelyne - to finish my high school. Moving onto post-secondary, in my classes, I went my Joelyne (granted I had been called Jocelyn, Joy-leen and Joy-lynn). However, with peers I wanted to be friends with, I got them to call me Jo.

    Now, I tend to be "professional" by using Joelyne with colleagues and "Jo" with friends and family. Except with Odin (which is pronounced "Oh-DEAN" - we use the Norse pronunciation), who calls me Mom and/or Joelyne. :)

    People ask me to describe myself. I find myself answering, "I'm just Jo." Then, start stammering...

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    1. Jo this is fantastic. Wow you guys are all putting my three measly names to shame today. Jo. Love it. Jo from Little women. Good name. But wow what a name journey. and what fun!

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    2. i love the name Joelyne. i was about to ask about the dong by dolly parton but i see you have mentioned it and it has different spelling . if you don;t mind me asking form seeing your surname do you have any eastern European back ground ?

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    3. o drear god i think i have had one of my most embarrassing spelling errors yet . that should of course read song not dong .

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    4. OKay, I'm a bit punchy after working all day and trying to catch up on all of these, but I can't get dong outta my head and keep giggling like a little kid (er, however THAT sounds). Thanks, Linda!!

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    5. Linda, yes. My dad's side is Ukrainian, and there is a bit of Russian from my mom. :)

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    6. BarbARA. did you happen to catch the Globe news clip I shared on my FB page today? A broadcaster slipped up - badly - more than once. She had dong on the brain apparently.

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    7. That happened in Saskatoon (where I'm from)....

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    8. I'm out near Wadena and go into Saskatoon several times a year, and have lived and attended university there.
      Nice city.

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    9. no worries barbara . i am glad my miss type has raised a giggle , makes me feel less of a pure eejit :-)

      would you believe i re read my post 3 times before sending it in . my eyes did'nt pick up on that mistake , dyslexia struck again ! my spell checker didn't pick it up either . dong must be a proper word and not the slang term a few of us have been thinking of, myself most of all !

      i did'nt have dong on my mind either wile typing that message . the s and d keys are beside each other . it was almost 1 am when i sent in that message . teach me a lesson . don't type when sleepy !

      Stubblejumpin Gal do you have a link to the globe news clip you mention . you have ignited my curiosity !

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  31. I always loved my name but have had problems with others spelling it. Both of my parents have unusual names that have been misspelled all their lives. My mother picked "Sheila" thinking that would be easier to spell. Others have spelled it wrong my entire life. I am not fussed about it anymore. The irony is that I wanted a simple yet beautiful name for my only so I chose "Emily". When the pediatrician came to see her the first day of her life, he asked if Emily was spelled "Emilee" ? Really? There I had thought that I have chosen the perfect name. LOL I guess we all have some issue with our names. Can't tell the number of times that people tell me that I look like a "Sheila". I just smile:)

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    1. I know Sheila! As my Grandpa Munro would say "you can't win for losing". Nice name though. And Emily...Classic.

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  32. I like "Deb". Reminds me of Debutante, and you were so much of a debutante in GAF. :) I think Deb suits you. It's sweet and cute, just like you.

    Barbara, I had no idea you didn't go by Barb. I only used it because I saw that it was the way you signed your name. I usually ask people what they prefer to be called, mostly because of the myriad of awful, body cringing, names I was sometimes called. Henceforth (man I've always wanted to use that word. One more off the bucket list.), you shall be called Barbara, at least by yours truly.

    The women on moms side of the family all had unflattering names. My granny was Lemma, except some of the relatives called her Lemmer. Her sisters were Florence and Edna. GASP. lol. Mom was Frances Eunice. UGH. She hated her name, especially when they spelled her first name Francis, as in the talking mule Francis. My sister in law for 40 years wrote moms name as Francis on everything but didn't find out from mom she had been spelling it wrong all that time. Mom was just too nice to correct her. lol. I ended up Karen Amanda. Some of the fam called me Kern-mander, K-Ren, Karena Amendia, and mom used to sometimes lovingly call me Katrina. I wish she had named me Katrina up until Hurricane Katrina came along. Now I'm not so unhappy about it. Over the years I've had tons of nicknames like, Twinkie, Hocus-Pocus (I used to read tarot cards), Grace (from Grace under Fire), Joey (because that boyfriend was brain damaged), and Hussy (because..er...anyway..). Hussy somehow turned into Princess Hussina, because I generally hang out with crazy, imaginative people. Oh, and my bestie goes back and forth from calling me Bichon and Boo, and I call her either Heifer or Boo. For the longest time I hated Karen. I would introduce myself to people as a silly name I would make up. One of my favorites was Brungilda ..and then I'd make up a last name equally as ridiculous. I enjoyed it when I was asked to repeat and would make up something different. Anyway, for awhile I went by Amanda, never Mandy. Over the years I've decided that Karen isn't so bad, especially since I could have been a Maybell or R.E., which were both aunts on fathers side. That was her first name, R.E. People of the woods are so strange. I guess it was just easier to write and spell that way. Who knows. :)

    Thanks for today's topic. It's fun to find out about folks names 'n stuff. Today's kids names are hard to spell and I've often felt pity for future crossword puzzle solvers. Oh so many ways to spell Breanne..uh Brieann, um, Bri'ann, well, you get the idea. :)

    Hugs Hugs HUGS,
    Karen

    P.S. @Linda - I'm still giggling about Dolly's dong... :-D

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    1. Dear Twinkie, that is what I chose because come on-Twinkie? I would have killed to be twinkie as the Gidget did not take. But wow Karen wow, what a journey and Maybell, you are right. Good for the cow, but not good for our Karen. Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey of names.

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    2. I notice names like Emily and Sarah and Amy are popular again, but no one is naming their girls Edna or Bertha, so I guess it isn't necessarily all cyclical!

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    3. Twinkie- that was one of my nicknames! My sister and mom called me that! LOL!

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  33. I tried posting earlier, but I'll try again!
    I guess the like or dislike of names is one those universal topics to which everyone understands and relates!
    I like both of your names... Debra is sophisticated, but fun and quirky because of the spelling! Barbara/Barb makes me think of someone who's outgoing. :)
    I guess it's my turn elaborate on my naming. My mom wanted to name me Elizabeth, but had an aunt named Elizabeth. She went by "Aunt Liz", and Aunt Lizzie", which my mom never liked. My aunt suggested that she just name me Beth, and so I was named.
    I like Beth- it sounds smart, but not too serious. My middle name is Ann, and practically every other Beth I've met shares that middle name. To me, it's kinda... eh, but I like the middle initial: Beth A. Frederick. It works for me.
    BTW, Deb, the pics you posted are fab! :)

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    1. Okay again. BETH. I love the name Beth. Little Women. Gorgeous name. My middle name is Ann too Beth but Anne. Not eh for me cause it's my Mom but I do get that people would think Anne or Ann-eh. cause so many middle names are Anne. Love the Beth though. love it. This topic has been such fun!

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  34. Oh, man, this has been soooo much fun. Spent the last hour going through all of these and just beaming. Personal name stories are the perfect blend of intimacy and yet not TMI. I must remember this for party banter. I love how I feel like I know you guys better. Great stories!

    PS it seems like the universal theme is that no matter how simple your name people will have trouble spelling it. "Sue? Is that S.U.E. or S.O.O.? no getting around that quandry, folks!

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    1. I agree Barb. I was saying the same thing to Colin tonight and reading him some of the responses. Names. What is a more personal possession than that?

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  35. Barbara, I don't know if this helps but I've always been fascinated by the etymology of names. Your name means "Foreign Woman." Another note, Saint Barbara is invoked by Catholics as a protector against fire and lightning.

    To me, that calls to mind someone beautiful, exotic, intelligent and strong; someone to look up to.

    My own name, "Julie" means "youthful".

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    1. This makes sense for you Barb. Barb is our resident "weather witch" Julie. And while we're on the subject, Julie is such a lovely name.

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    2. Love the name Julie!
      Named my rabbit Julie ;)

      Barbara was a fighter, and stood up for what she believed in!

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  36. Now, the stories behind Odin's name... :)

    When I was pregnant with Odin, I had a girl's name picked out by the 3rd month. If I had a girl, she would have been named Aven Signe Irene Swidzinski. Signe was Trevor's great aunt's name (and I loved the name), and Irene was my grandma's middle name (she loathed her first name - Melinda - and never went by it).

    My now-husband (Trevor) and I argued back and forth, debating over names. Do we go with Green or Swidzinski as a surname (no nice way to hyphenate). We debated back and forth for months over a first name. We ended up choosing Odin's name after looking through Trevor's mom's family tree, and we decided that we like Odin (after being informed we could not name our son Ole or Otto by Trevor's mom - LOL). So, Odin is named after his dad's mom's dad's mom's dad... (I may be off a generation; I'm not sure).

    Odin's middle name - Callahan - comes from a series of science-fiction books that we both liked by Spider Robinson, and a group of our online friends suggested it the day after Odin was born. So, Trevor comes to the hospital and suggests it, and I agreed. Then, the debate over the surname ended with me uttering, "Honey, I don't care what you put in. Just fill out the damn birth certificate. I want to go home." So, Trevor won the debate, and put down "Swidzinski". Apparently, it's not easy being Green...

    (Side note: Trevor's parents used locations as one of the middle names for all their children. So, Trevor has Norwich as one of his middle names - for Norwich, UK).

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    1. Wow Jo, that is a great story and I love the name Odin. A real beauty. "It's not easy being green..." love it. Odin Callahan. Fantastic. Worked out so well for us when we were naming the boy. We both Loved Luke or Lucas as he was christened and both of his grandfathers were Jim so he became Lucas James Mochrie. We always joked that his name had to sound good if you said Private Eye after it. "Luke Mochrie-Private Eye!"

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  37. One thing I've noticed is that a name that previously seemed really "uncool" becomes ever so chilly when it belongs to someone you love or admire. I named my eldest boy Emil, after my grandfather. Everyone was kind of horrified, because names like Jesse and Keenan were popular for boys at that time; Emil was considered a very uncool name, one that only ancient grandpas from the old country had, and folks thought I was saddling my three-and-a-half-pound infant with the most old-fashioned name. As if he didn't already have enough to deal with (born 10 weeks early).

    However ... 23 years later ... he's made Emil a pretty cool name to all who know him ... he's made it his own, you might say... and I have a most wonderful reminder of my grandpa, who was still alive when Emil was born and whose response to the news of what I'd called my firstborn was a shocked "Huh! Well, a kid's gotta have a name."

    When naming my sons, I eschewed the trendy names and went with names belonging to family members. My grandfather is the only one of those family members who isn't alive anymore, but I am really glad I chose this way of honoring him, especially now that he's gone.

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  38. Emil is a very cool name. We did not want to go trendy either. Luke was a solid old name and sounded like a hero. How nice for him and for you that he has his grandfather's name. I always tell young couples who are expecting to keep their names to themselves. People can be just awful about it but they are less likely to say something after the child is born. I bet he rocks Emil.

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  39. Based on this entire blog, I think there must be a book in here somewhere.

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  40. Sharon( the name IS the game) ReineFebruary 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    OOOO Jo! Callaghan's Crosstime Saloon?! I met Spider( & his wife Jeanne) a few times @ SF conventions yonks ago. He'd be well pleased!

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    1. Sharon, Yup. Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. :) I think a friend of mine did mention it to him and he was pleased. :)

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    2. Wow you guys, this is small world stuff isn't it?

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    3. Oh, it is, Deb! It is! Thanks for starting this topic. :)

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  41. What a great post Deb! I love the stories behind people's names. I feel that there is so much history there that often goes unrealized. I've got a pretty unique name - Tomine - but I've always loved it and I think it suits me. It's a Norwegian name, and pretty much unheard-of in the US. The only thing I don't like about my name is the meaning: according to my grandmother, it means Twin of Thomas. (And no, I don't actually have a twin named Thomas:). I was actually named after my mom's godmother, which I think is really neat, especially since I was also named after my own godparents. My godfather's name is Thomas, and my middle name comes from my godmother, Kathleen.
    However, as much as I love my name, it is frustrating because it is close to impossible for people to pronounce or spell correctly. It is pronounced too-mi-nah, but the "e" on the end always throws people off, so I get called all sorts of random things. Then people always want to know if I have a nickname that's easier to pronounce, but I don't really. Some of my friends call me Tomi (tommy) every so often, which I tolerate, but I'm secretly thankful it hasn't really stuck.
    ~Tomine

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    1. Lovely lovely name and I'm glad you did the phonetic version because I wouldn't have guessed it. Too mi Nah. Perfect.

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  42. This reminds me of a speech I gave in grade 6. It was a contest and one person was to be picked from each class to go on and give the speech to the whole school. My speech was called "What's in a Name" - I've always loved names and was able to find the meaning of several fellow student's first and last names. I was pretty excited to give my speech! It was coming along nicely with a lot of historic info on where names come from. Needless to say, the kids loved the attention and selected me as the representative for my class. The thought of giving this speech though in front of the whole school terrified me! I wasn't sure I wanted to win. To make matters worse, my teacher announced to the whole class, that she felt the I was not the one who should have won, but rather the student who gave the speech on Girl Guides. Now, not only did I have to give my speech to the whole school - my teacher didn't think I was the rightful winner! Oooohh I can still feel the shame!....Ancient history now!
    I went on to have 4 kids - 3 boys and 1 girl. The boys are Aren Kels Cooper (named after the Aaran Islands) Linden Conrad (loved the first, 2nd is a Icelandic family name) Davin Craig (a variation on David, and 2nd husband's name) and Fair Elisabeth Signe (1st is a friend's name - had this name picked all along - not because it was only 'fair' we had a girl!! - 2nd a family name - Biblical spelling (no z) - and Signe a nod to their Icelandic heritage). Thanks for the fun blog today! My brother has been bugging me to start a blog for a year - now I'll have to give it some real thought. Love yours though!

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    1. Diane I was so excited by your story of giving the speech. I too, was a winner in this arena. I won for two speeches. One in grade four called "Inside the world of the honeybee" and in grade eight for (cringes) the challenges of being a teen! That one I did in front of the school. I was reading along loving your story until you got to the teacher part. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE??? Even if the teacher though you should not have won she should have kept it to herself. My goodness, it wasn't your fault you were chosen. Grrrrrr, that stuff breaks my heart. Okay. Rant over. As far as your names go, they are some of the loveliest names I have heard. Wow, so unusual but not "out there". Perfect. Fair is wonderful. Does she like it? Do they all like their names? I'm always curious.

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  43. One more thing........youtube Barbra Streisand singing "My Name is Barbara" - the album where there is a picture of her as a little girl. Listen up to 51 seconds where she sings her name. You will love the name Barbra forever after that!!

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    1. I will so do this -- thanks, Diane!! PS like, Deb, I was just loving the name-essay story and then wanted to hate your teacher (had a similar experience in high school. Very hard to forge those). You SHOULD write a blog!! Would love to read that.

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  44. I was not the one who should have won, but rather the student who gave the speech on Girl Guides. Now, not only did I have to give my speech to the whole school - my teacher didn't think I was the rightful winner! Oooohh I can still feel the shame!....Ancient history now!

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    1. Hmmm, I think you WERE the one who should've won because you did! The teacher should have dropped the "mistake" - if that's what it was -- because it only made everyone feel bad. It's like the time a teacher told me I couldn't write. Thank god I stopped believeing her (after 20 years!).

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  45. Okay, that's funny!! Who is "Aptitude test?" I wasn't up at 6:32! This computer stuff is still kind of a mystery!!

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  46. OMG, Today, on the eve of my 62th B-day, I was going to write something interesting and witty about being a "Deb". In fact, a quick search of the name and its' meaning is what led me to your blog post. Thank YOU so much...I no longer have to write my post because you wrote it for me. This is my story. I have lived every "Debra, Debbie, Deb" experience you write about. I know the feelings you feel when someone calls you by each of those names. Today you have brought back all those fond memories and feelings. This is such a cool birthday gift!!! Rock on Deb!!!

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