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More Thoughts About Names
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From your comments, I can see that my own experience is reflected in many people's experiences. I was supposed to be named Sally after my mother's best friend, but the nurse writing up the birth certificate realized that my name was Sarah and my mother too groggy to make sense. Which was indeed the case.

I was called Sally for the first few years of my life (Think: Dick and Jane and Baby Sally) and it didn't suit me. One school I attended had two other girls in my class also named Sally, and, exasperated, the teacher asked if one of us wanted to be called something else.

Up went my hand, and I declared in a firm voice, "My name is Sarah." Sarah I've been ever since.

I dropped my birth father's last name during the rebellious 70's, when I realized that I hadn't seen or heard the man in 20 years and did not consider him my father. I went by my middle name as my family name (which it really is). I often wonder why my mother did not give me my step father's surname. Too "ethnic" (Italian), maybe. It would have been a superbly euphonic name.

All of which is to say that I think many of us shift around with names, trying out what feels right and sounds appropriate, until we're as comfortable with our names as we are with our favorite pair of old jeans.

The last name I now drag around with me isn't really me, but it will have to do. Too late now to shed it.

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