Sunday, December 30, 2012
When my mother was in school, there was a girl named Agatha in her class. Mother told me that Agatha's parents had seen the name Agatha in a story, but had never heard it pronounced. They thought the pronunciation was "UH-GATH-UH". When the girl went to school a teacher told her that the proper pronunciation was AG-UH-THUH.
My mother told me that she was ridiculed in class because she pronounced the name Deborah as "DUH-BORE-UH". Mother also told me that when she was in school, she thought it would be nifty if she spelled her name as "Gladace" instead of "Gladys". Her teacher returned a paper to Mother with "Gladace" crossed out with a red pen and then ridiculed Mother in class and imperiously told her that Gladace was properly pronounced with a "long a". When my friend Bobbi heard that story, she immediately started calling my mother "Happy Butt" (GLAD ASS)! Mother actually cherished that nickname.
One time, when I was in school, we were reading aloud in class. When it was classmate Charlotte's turn, she read her section and the name "Leonard" was in it; Charlotte pronounced it "LEE-UH-NARD" and the name was contained three excruciating times in her reading. Surprisingly, the teacher did not correct her and none of the fellow students laughed, but to this day, whenever I hear the name Leonard I think of Charlotte's pronunciation.
It was common when I was young, for girls whose names ended in "y" to change the "y" to "i" (such as "Sandi" and "Patti"; we even had a boy change Larry to "Larri"!) I remember that it was newsworthy when Luci Baines Johnson changed the spelling of her name from "Lucy" to "Luci".
I wonder why parents give their children names with unusual spellings. It just makes the lives of the children difficult. My husband's grand niece is named Stephenie instead of the usual Stephanie or Stefanie. She said that she's never been able to find anything with her name on it and her name is never spelled "right"! I just gave her a charm this year with "Stephenie" on it. Her sister plans to name her baby "Ethen" instead of Ethan. Why give a child a strike against them?
Of course, I've written about Gerald's name. (see last year's BLOG article HERE)