Being the oldest in my family I was around for most of the naming games my parents played. As previously reported, I was Susan Kay not Susan Lee or Sylvia Kay. The first born son was named after my dad. It was the fifties; there were a lot of Juniors in my extended family. After him was Leslie Ann, pronounced Lesss-lie not Lez-lie, which annoyed my sister no end because Leslie, emphasizing the “s”, was, generally, known as the masculine pronunciation. Her middle name was, also, my mother’s.
Deb was next in line. To our knowledge there was not a Debra in the family. And the Jean was the same middle name as my Aunt Norma. The drama for Deb’s name was with the spelling. Dad wanted Deborah. Mom wanted Debra. If they had consulted Deb, the name would have been Catherine or Elizabeth. She would have settled for Deborah, pronounced De–boar–ah, and she HATED Debbie. It took her years of glaring looks and annoyed flipping of her long red hair to convince us to call her Deb instead of Debbie.
My second brother was fairly easy. My Dad’s best friend was Max Wade. Max was killed in a car accident when Dad was eighteen. He never really got over picking up the paper one cold winter Sunday morning and finding his best friend had been killed the night before. Now we have a Max Wade, too. After Max is Rick. The Richard came out of nowhere. His middle name was my mother’s father’s middle name, Murrel. My dad’s father’s name was part of the whole Junior thing with my first brother.
The real family negotiations came with my two youngest sisters names. Mom’s favorite soap opera was As the World Turns. Someone on the show had a baby named Sarah Louise. Mom loved the name. She would call her Sally. Dad liked Penelope Jo and we would call her Penny. The discussion went on for months. Their boy names were Mark Dwayne or Kevin Dwayne. When my second to the youngest sister was born a name was not assigned immediately. Finally, they determined her name was Sally Jo. Sister Sally would have much rather been Sarah Louise. Oh well, the vagaries of parents.
The eighth child name discussion was heated until the end. The boy name was now Mark Dwayne. For a girl, Mom wanted Penny Louise and Dad wanted Penelope Louise. He would call her Penny Lou. The birth certificate was held up because they could not agree. Penny Louise finally came home from the hospital. To this day, we still tease her by calling her Penelope or Penny Lou.
Happy Birthday, Baby Sister……………..
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