Thursday, March 18, 2010

Me Llamo Suzanne

You can tell how long I've known a person in a pretty easy way. How, you ask? By the name they call me.

My mother named me for a french lullabye, Une Petite Suzanne. My grandfather used to sing it to her every night when she was a girl and she knew that someday, she would name her daughter Suzanne. If I'd been a boy, my name would have been Terence-strange, since I have a sister who is nicknamed Tery.

However, Suzanne was a pretty formal name for a little girl and the family called me Suzy. (I changed it to Suzie when I was in fifth grade). Friends from the neighborhood, classmates in elementary school and my family used this name.

My last year of middle school, I made a few new friends and they started calling me Sue. It fit, and at school, you could tell newer friends from old ones. Then, in college, I showed up on the class rosters as Suzanne and finally, the name didn't seem so out of place anymore. I started a full time job soon after beginning college, and they called me Suzanne.

From there on out, I would introduce myself as Suzanne, as the history of how I got the name showed how much love my mom had for my Papa. The following year, he passed away, and I think Papa loved the idea that finally, that name was the one I used.

However, as I started to use my given name, from time to time, I'd be called Susan. It didn't happen so much in New York, but when I traveled and then moved south of the Manson-Nixon (as we butchered it), this seemed to be the rule, rather than the exception.

As a more impatient person back then, I would correct people over and over, but it persisted. Eventually, I stopped answering when called Susan, and when questioned, I would explain that Susan is not my name.

Apparently, other Suzannes in the area found it bothersome, as a local realtor took to writing her name SuZanne on all her advertising, and a local reporter's byline was Suz Anne. I could relate. Every once in a while, I'd get called Suzanna, but at least that was closer to the proper spelling.

So, you can usually tell how long someone has been a part of my life by the moniker they use. (My friend Jeff is the one exception-he's always called me Sooz).

Now, I'm taking spanish, and the way my name is spoken is Suzanna (e's sound like ah en espanol). I'm getting used to it, but I'm thankful that in another language, my name doesn't become Susan!

Ed's situation was a little different. He was named for his father, and instead of having Big Ed and Little Ed (which was a common situation with my mom's family), his mom chose to call him Neddy.

He HATED it, to the point that he finally refused to answer to the name. Funny thing is, as much as his mom was upset that he wouldn't use the nickname she'd bestowed upon him, she eventually had a change of heart. In the letter I'd found that was a quasi will, she wrote that every time she spoke his name, it reminded her of the man she'd married and it made her smile.

In chosing names for the boys, Ed and I mulled over many choices, but nicknames were what caused me to veto several names on the list. It is probably part of the reason why Game Teen has a name that has no nickname (so he was dubbed Munchkin as a baby). Chef's name can be shortened, which our beloved day care provider tacked on 'ito. It fits.

How about you? How did your name come about, and do you have multiple versions of your name?




2 People talked back:

daysgoby said...

Yes!

I was named Jessica because my parents didn't know anyone named that (and it wasn't popular back then) - it was actually the name of one of my father's ex-girlfriend's dog. So yes, I was named after a Black Lab.
Sigh.

I was April in the beginning (my middle name) until I got to 1st grade, when I demanded my grown-up name. I was always Gecka to my little brother (Dad still calls me that) and Jessica or Jess to everyone while I was in school.
After college, it seemed like EVERY grade-schooler I'd see was named Jessica, so I went to Jess - which is short, to the point, and really in most ways suits me better.
(My grandparents still call me Jessica April, though. ;) )

Saffa Chick said...

My name is Melanie. When I was little my family called me Melly, and there are still a few aunts and uncles who call me that.

In school I was Melanie, but when I left school I decided I was to be called Mel, and my parents eventually obliged...

I now find "Melanie" strangely formal, but in Aussieland everyone shortens your name the moment they meet you, so luckily I like being known as Mel!