Home Ownership Lesson #3

Be prepared for surprises.

The home buying process was interesting. I learned about all kinds of things including home inspections, knob and tube wiring, mortgages, interest rates, and my name.  That is right, my name.

Sister was born six and one half years before I came along. Since she was the first and probably the only child for the foreseeable future she was named after everyone. Everyone. She is named after both my grandmothers, my mother, a great great uncle, and her godparents. The third name is a name my mother made-up using the first three letters of the last names of the great great uncle and the godparents. It was the 70s and Mommy was being super cool and creative. Sister’s name covered a lot of people, which is why she has four names.

When I came along Mommy was convinced I would be a boy (Nannie said it, so it had to be true!) and I would have been Daddy’s namesake. Well, surprise! it was a girl. In an effort to name someone after Daddy, I got the initials of Daddy’s name. That accounted for two of my names. However, Mommy’s deep sense of fair-play required that I have four names, like Sister. She did not want me to feel short-changed or left out. So, I, too, got a fourth name. As the story goes Auntie O suggested it. So I have three names that are just mine – I don’t carry anyone’s name, just Daddy’s initials.

All my life I have written my name as one first name, two middle names, and one last name. All four names are on all my diplomas and other important documents. During my home buying experience I had to produce my birth certificate, amongst many other things (including a letter establishing that I lived in a family owned home). Mommy sent a copy. I opened and took a look at it and – surprise! – I have two FIRST names, one middle name, and one last name. No one told me . . . for 35 years, no one mentioned the correct combination of my names or showed me my birth certificate. Some surprises are good, some are bad, and others are weird. This was a weird one. Turns out, I am one of those Southern girls with a long two-name moniker (you know – Mary Helen, Sarah Beth, Anna May etc. etc.) and I did not even know it. Oh, the pretension that I missed out on.

There are couple folks back home who call me by my first two names, my Grandmommy did it on occasion. There are more than a handful that call me by my second name only, my Auntie O did it. Now all that makes sense. I guess they knew . . .

New house, new fence, and new name (sort of). Exciting times. I am embracing my new (legal) first name. It now adorns my office door, my driver’s license, car title, and mortgage. However, I am not requiring that people address me using both names (hey, it is only 3 syllables, people) . . . yet.

The girls who have four names.

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