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All in the name

It’s common to hear someone say ever-once-in-a-while, “I don’t like my name.” Not me.

I’ve always liked my name. I also like the story that “goes with it,” especially since it’s been verified by Mama. How I happened to be called Mary Ann all these 85 years. There’s really more than one story to be told and when combined, it conjures up a better story.

Don’t wait too long about asking about your name. You’ll probably be glad you did.

Everyone has a story to tell. Make it yours.

Here’s my story…as told to me by my Mama, and I’m sticking to it. Mama said she had my name picked out. I was to be named Nettie Marie, but before the ink dried completely on my birth certificate, my Uncle Dewey (Spoke) Price, who was an avid music lover, had heard a popular new song just released, titled “Mary Ann.” Uncle Dewey was also a very good whistler and loved to show off his tap dancing skills, Mama said.

“Putting on a show” for his newborn niece, and between lines singing the words…”Every little star up in the sky seems to wink as she goes by, Mary Ann, Mary Ann,” Uncle Dewey announced…”Let’s name her Mary Ann!”

Not only have I always liked the story, I like the name change. Nettie Marie is more fitting for someone else, I think. Not me.

But wait. Here’s the sequel to my story:

One day, I received a letter from my cousin, Donald Byrum, who had been bitten by the genealogy bug and for years had researched family history, names and dates of the Civil War era. Reading the information, I learned that my great-grandmother was also named Mary Ann. I feel confident Uncle Dewey knew this when he named me, making a good story, a better story while whistling, and tapping and singing between the line, “Every little star up in the sky seems to wink as she goes by.”

Middle names were popular when I was growing up. There was Mary Jo, Ella Mae, Wanda Jean and Agnes Louise. Our teacher’s addressed us by our full names. Boys were called by their full names too. There was Bobby George, Homer Lee, Joe Mack and George Harvey.

And, always there seemed to be a nickname that we all grew up with; a story of how we acquired it, that was worth telling. Remember? I know the story of mine, but I don’t really want to talk about it right now.

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