Names – 12/1/2019

I was named for my grandmothers, my first name is Frances. Born when I was, I started school just as one of the early “talking” animal comedy movie series was released and I was relentlessly teased. I had been tagged with a corruption of my name as a nickname that was cute for a small child, but I didn’t want to follow me as I grew up. We had a family friend who was Fran and I didn’t care for her, so I didn’t want to be hung with that. As I left for college and into the work force, I used my birth name of Frances, but that too presented it’s own difficulties as Francis is a man’s version and I have spent years using the phrase “I as in his, E as in hers” to educate/correct people. To add to the difficulty, my maiden name was and should have been simple, Sale, just like it sounds, but I got Sales, Sally, Soles, Salle.

After I married, I added Stafford and we get Stratford, Stoffer, Staffer. And I changed jobs and introduced myself as Frances, but one of my new co-workers tagged me as Fran and thus it has been except with my family.

When our children were born, I didn’t want to give them names that could be corrupted with a y or ie on the end. We didn’t want their initials to spell something that would cause them issues and both son’s as they grew up went by their middle names, even being enrolled in school with a first initial, middle name, last name. One son as a professional knows when he receives a call, email, or letter if the person really knows him by whether it is addressed to his first name or his middle name. Younger son chooses to go by his birth first name in formal form now, except by immediate family and we haven’t been able to make the change, so he is still called by his middle name. Daughter grew up with her first name, sometimes first and middle.

Her children’s first names are palindromes.

As an educator, I was exposed to many different names of children and wondered where some of them originated, were they made up, family names, names from countries of origin. Sometimes I worried that they were being teased or bullied because of the name with which they were tagged.

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