Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Name is

I've been reading Mama Kat's blog for over a year now. I've had every good intention of using her writing prompts to become a more frequent inhabitant of bloggy land. Finally today I am using one of her prompts, a day late of course, shut up, I know I totally suck.

The prompt that inspired me to finally write is this:

What’s in YOUR name? What does it mean? Why was it given to you? etc..

My name is Lorna. That's LoRna by the way. I have to watch out for the Arial font because it makes my name look like Lorna. Yeah, notice how the r and the n run together to look like an m. My name is NOT Loma. Thanks. At work I have to wear a name tag. They get them engraved and they use the Arial font. I can't tell you how many name tags I have thrown out the window lost so I could get a new one of the temporary name tags with the labels made on the p-touch machine that are in ALL CAPS. I have explained to the management that I don't like being called Loma, and won't wear one of the engraved name tags until they make me one in all caps, or a different font or something because I don't like being called Loma all the time. Every time a new order of name tags comes in, there is a new one for me, Lorna.I give up.

Have you figured out that I'm not terribly fond of my name yet? Oh, but I'm just getting started. Let me count the ways.

Let's start with the fact that it means NOTHING. It is a made up name for a character in a book, Lorna Doone, published in 1869. Some baby name books will tell you that it is a form of Lorne, Lauren, or Laura and means laurel plant, but it's not. It's a made up name for a character in a book. In 1951 this book was made into a movie, but more about that later.

According to the Grade Your Parents app on facebook, my parents, or really just my mom, because my dad had nothing to do with it, got an A- for originality. Nineteen percent of children born that year had a rarer name than me, and my name peaked in popularity in 1942. My mother was 2 when this name was most popular.

So how did she come up with such an odd name you ask? I think the doctor slipped her something special in her epidural. Up until the point she was in labor my name was going to be Jennifer. Now, had she named me Jennifer she would have gotten an F for originality, Jennifer was one of the most popular names the year I was born. I always had several Jennifer's in each of my classes at school, and still know more Jennifer's than I can count. I'm kinda grateful that she didn't name me Jennifer. Want to see something funny, yell out "Hey Jennifer!" in a crowd of 30 something year olds and see how many turn around. Yell out Lorna in a crowd, and unless it's a bunch of 70 year olds you will probably strike out. I can count on one hand how many other Lorna's I have ever met (4), and all of them were significantly older than me.

Since my name is so unusual, most people I've met have never heard it (unless they are in their 70's). Seriously if they qualify for a senior discount, all I need to say is "like Lorna Doone" when I get that inevitable quizzical look upon introduction and they are all "OH, Ok". Everyone else, still confused. People call me Loren or Lorena a lot. I've pretty much given up and learned to answer to anything starting with L. I always have to spell my name out so it doesn't get butchered, and to make this even more fun, I married a man with a last name that requires spelling out also. Hello my name is L-O-R-N-A _-_-_-_-_. Yeah, tons of fun.

When I named my kids I took particular care to give them common enough names that people would understand them but also not so popular that they would end up being the Jennifer's of their generation. Of course this was helped by the fact that at the point I had kids, most people were going out of their way to name their kids the most unusual things they could, adding extra letters and phonetic spelling to already unusual names. Of course I hadn't given proper thought to the whole spelling out thing with my oldest when I named her Aimee, not Amy, but realized this blunder after making calls for doctor's appointments and what not. Aimee, A-I-M-E-E _-_-_-_-_. Yup, doomed my kid to a lifetime of spelling out her first and last name. At least until she gets married. At least she doesn't get called Annie or something else because they've never heard of her name. Even if they spell it Amy, at least she will be called the right thing.

I would have thought that my mom would have given this kind of thought into naming me considering the fact that she changed her own name when she moved away from home. Left her old name and identity behind and started fresh in a new city with a new name. Of course this was easier to do when you weren't required to have a birth certificate to prove you were who you said you were and when children were born at home on the farm and their birth certificate doesn't even have the right date on it because nobody got around to making the trek into town to report their arrival for days after their birth. But for whatever reason, my mom remembered a movie from when she was 12 and decided that Lorna would be the perfect name for her one and only child, I blame the drugs.

I've often tried to think of what I would change my name to if I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. If I ever went into witness protection or something, what would I want to be called, and surprisingly, as much as I HATE my name, I can't think of anything that seems to fit me better. So I guess I'm Lorna, like it or not, forever.

P.S. spell check hates my name too


Simply Valorie said...

Something kind of similar happened to me. Right up until labor, I was going to be Megan, but then suddenly, I became Valorie. Of course, the nurse decided she didn't like my mom's spelling and changed it to Valerie without my parents's permission, but that's a whole different story...

Tina Lane said...

I kind of like Lorna. Atleast it is not a really old name like "Myrtle."

Stopping by form MamaKats.

Just Beth said...

I NEVER knew this about you! I mean, I think I did, when we were kids, but it really is so YOU, somehow, it didn't occur to me that you might still dislike it.

I hate Bethany, I hate Beth even worse. I wish I could get everyone except my three kids 'Mrs. Harrington'. And I would wear white gloves and lunch at the club.