Monday Notes: What’s in a Name(sake)?

A few weeks ago, I received an email confirmation from our new housing association. It was addressed to Katherine. What’s wrong with this you might ask? Well, my name is misspelled. There’s no “e” at the end. Who cares you might be thinking? ME! I know it seems quite the trivial thing, except it’s not. It’s something that has plagued me year after year after year for as long as I could write my own name and then correct people when they spell it however they want.

img_5779I’ve had cashiers and bank tellers ask me if I’ve spelled my name incorrectly, “because you know there’s no “e” at the end of it.” Can you imagine someone asking you if you’d misspelled your own name? People are nutz.

My stepmother misspelled it on the handmade wedding favors she’d created. All 200 mini-scrolls said, Congratulations Katherine and Dwight!

After a couple of decades of this, I’ve come up with some strategies. I spell it real slow and then say nice and clear, “There’s no “e” at the end of it.” And you know what happens? Fill-in-the-blank person still puts an “e” at the end of it.

This happened recently. I sent my email address to someone and made sure to note the no “e” part. You know what she did? She argued me down that she’d sent the email and didn’t know what happened, until I asked her to please go back and make sure she didn’t misspell my name. Guess what? Oh never mind. You already know what happened.

So, how did I get this name? Well, it’s kind of a funny story.

For the longest, my dad’s side of the family would insist that Aunt Cat was my namesake. They’d refer to her this way, saying things like, have you talked to your namesake? In my mind, I would just shake my head and disagree because I knew she couldn’t have been for one simple reason: my mother disliked the lady.

About fifteen years ago, Aunt Cat had a milestone birthday. Her daughter thought it’d be a great idea to create something handmade, so she called me up.

“Kathy, can you please contribute to Mom’s scrapbook? I mean she is your namesake and all?”

“She is not my namesake,” I clarified. “But I’ll send something.”

“Uh. Yes she is. You were named after her.”

I didn’t continue the conversation. Instead, I called my dad. This had to be squashed once and for all.

“Oh yes. You were named after her,” he confirmed. “Your Aunt Cat was my favorite cousin at the time, but your mom didn’t like her.”

Right. Right, I thought.

“I wanted your name to be Catherine, like hers, but your mom said ‘no.’”

I nodded in agreement to the phone.

“So she compromised.”


“Yes. She said your name could be Catherine, but it had to be spelled completely different, with a “k” and no “e” at the end.

Hmmmph. I was wrong. And that was a clever move, sort of. I suppose my mom couldn’t have predicted that decades later I’d still be correcting store clerks and housing associations. The same way I didn’t realize that my oldest daughter would spend a lifetime correcting people’s pronunciations (it’s Kesi, like Kasie, not like Keeesie). Or the way my youngest has to repeatedly say Desi isn’t short for anything; it’s just Desi.

img_5520Names are interesting. They are the result of your parents’ creative expression. Maybe that’s why I continue to be so bothered when I see it misspelled. My mother’s innovation is woven into those eight letters. I want people to recognize that: it’s Katherin with no “e.” I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Do you?

I know my name is not the weirdest thing out there. Do you have a “strange” name that’s caused a lifetime of confusion and misspellings? Do you have an interesting story about your name?

91 thoughts on “Monday Notes: What’s in a Name(sake)?

      1. Ms. Garland I have been hiding under a rock. LOL not really but got caught up in a relationship that wasn’t the best for me and lost track of my priorities. But I am free now and back to where I need to be. How have you been?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh dear. It happens to many of us. Glad you’re back in it. I’m goood! Just finished a self-love campaign (that’s ironic). Be sure to check out the last 28 posts or so…they’re quick 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have three birth names: Patricia Edwina Emily. The first my father wanted, the second is my fathers name (well the female version), the last my mother picked (if I remember correctly, a dear friend of hers). My mother didn’t like Patricia and said “ok, but in daily life she will be called Patty’. She didn’t want people to start calling me Tricia or Trixi (in her mind names for a pet). Since I am not a fan of ‘Patricia’ either, I am grateful for that choice every day. Probably, why I address you from the beginning with your true and beautiful name.
    So, can resonate with you once again, dear Katherin. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, it can be annoying when people spell and pronounce my name incorrectly. But I’ve learned to relax about it, because I’m also guilty with pronouncing Finnish names in English, e.g. Laura pronounced Lawura, even though spelling is the same. So, I get you Katherin. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No, it’s not too much to ask that your name be spelled correctly and bizarre that people would question whether you misspelled YOUR OWN NAME. Omg. Have an unusual name too, (Nailah) so I under the frustration of not only having to spell it frequently, but to also correct pronunciation and deal with the shock of strangers who have only emailed and discover I am not male as they thought. Have learned to have with it though, especially when I know I am never going to see them again (Starbucks & takeout. To them, I give the name Jade. A name I also like that they rarely get wrong.😁 Love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL – I have never thought about just giving a simple name to the carryout people. That’s actually genius. Yes, people are just inconsiderate sometimes. I don’t even think they realize what they asked me, because seriously? What kind of grown woman misspells her dang name? Anywho, glad this resonated with you and I might try giving different names moving forward lol


    1. Most definitely. Although, I find that those places usually get it right. They must be trained to do so. On the other hand, I’m still in email conversation with my housing association :-/


  4. Katherin – I love the story about your name. (uh…and my laptop software just tried to “correct” the spelling.) But your wedding favors……..that’s just so wrong😢. Names are so personal, and I think it’s important to slow my roll and not mis-spell and mis-prounounce someone’s name for my convenience or lack of consideration. It only takes a minute to ask someone to spell their name or to verbally practice saying a name that is unique.
    My understanding about how I got my name is that while my mother wanted to name me “Shay,” “Leslie” was the only name that my parents, grandmothers, and aunts and uncles AGREED upon! Thank God I like it!
    Many years ago when I used to work in restaurants I waited on a woman who struck an attitude and told me that I spelled my name wrong: “Leslie” -she said- was for males, while “Lesley” was for females. There were so many names I wanted to call her but I just had to walk away; I overheard someone in her party telling her that was impolite so that cooled me down a little bit😂.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, I’ve learned to add my spelling to the software thingee. Um, yes ma’am! Can you believe? And it’s one of those things where I felt bad for saying something because I was grateful she even thought to do it, but at the same time was like Geez! You could’ve just asked my dad.

      I’m glad you understand what I’m saying. With all the mindful talk going around, I think we should add this as a way to show mindfullness.

      soooo, all of those family members had to agree to your name? That’s interesting to me.

      How dare someone tell you the “right” way to spell your name? I think nowadays people have lost the pretentiousness about correct/incorrect spellings. Now if we could just spell and say them right lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinating!! I can only imagine how frustrating it has been.
    I have stories about my name. My mother told me I was originally named “Bonnie.” But then my grandmother had a fit and insisted it was a boy’s name. She kept repeating “Barney!” Anyway, I’m a Judy with a “y” and not a Judith. But I hear Judith sometimes and make it clear that isn’t my name!
    Thanks for sharing, Katherin. I want to get it right. Even spell check wants to fix it, so I see what you mean lol!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Kathy, I enjoyed “How do you love YourSELF.” Just wanted to alert you: I see you are open to comments- but your settings to receive comments are turned off for this post.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is funny.. in a sad way. Can I call you Kat now?
    My britches still burn too. Like you don’t think I- an adult- know how to spell my own name by now?? That’s one of the first things I learned how to spell!

    One of my gym teacher’s called me Cali for almost an entire semester because he assumed the “extra E” brought the name a whole new sound. I’ve also had people pronounce it Kal Lay or Kel Lay. Just.. odd.
    I love your daughters’ names btw. Cute and simple yet unique.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What in the world??? I laughed through this whole thing. The extra “e” just changes the whole name huh? lol Cali? Like short for California? Ooookay.

      You sure can call me Kat! And thank you! That was part of the point. We didn’t want to give them some uber complicated name just to be different, but still wanted it to be unique, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Awww. Sending you love and Light, Kathy 🙂 My guess is (sometimes at least) it’s an automatic thing. AND I can definitely appreciate wanting people to put care and consideration into spelling your name accurately! Would you rather that I call you Kathy or Katherin?

    My given name is Deborah, and I’ve gone back and forth between Deborah and Debbie. The energetics of both seem to fit me, does that make sense? Bless you Kathy!!! Love, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Receiving all the light and love lol I do think it’s automatic and I almost wrote about how to me this is just a way to be more mindful about what you’re/we’re doing in the moment. You can call me either one, as long as it’s spelled right 😉

      That makes a lot of sense. I suppose it just depends on what you like.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha! That’s great. 🙂 I love Kathy, so I think I’ll stick with that!! It feels really nurturing to me for some reason.

        Have a wonderful rest of your week. You are wonderful….full of gratitude to know you, Kathy.
        Blessings, Debbie

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t get bent out of shape. I have to spell my whole name all the time AND repeat at least 3 times. It’s a little exhausting when I feel impatient but it’s my name, not theirs. I’m an excellent speller and I assume they aren’t, nor good listeners. They really need to start teaching phonics in schools again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe one day I won’t get bent out of shape either. I certainly wouldn’t want to repeat my name THREE times. I like that you say they maybe aren’t good listeners. For me that’s what it comes down to. I want people to be better listeners but alas, I cannot control anyone 😉


  9. Oh yes, this post does speak to me 🙂 I am used to standing up in doctor’s offfices when they take a few seconds longer to try and read my name. I am always asked if I have a shorter name. My name is always pronounced differently by different people and I do not mind it too much. My name is a rare one and I haven’t met anyone with my name 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My name is common, so common that when my sister was born 7 years after me, my mom named her something completely different and original. And people spell her name wrong all the time…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sooo, I have to confess. I thought you were another friend/blogger person of mine. Her name begins with LA and when you said your name is common, I was like huh? This lady’s name isn’t common at all, but whatever. It wasn’t until I looked again that I realized it was you 🙂 Now, I’m wondering what your sister’s name is.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. People insist on calling me Maria once I’ve introduced myself as Marie. Sometimes I correct them, other times I pretend I don’t hear. If I’m feeling mischievous, I don’t react at all …this often leads to enquiries about my ‘loss’ of hearing …

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Kathy, it wasn’t until high school that I discovered that the spelling of my first name on my birth certificate was Rosaliene. Until then, I went by the name Rosalind as my mother had intended it to be. My mother explained that the nurse who had registered my name had made a mistake.

    In Brazil, my name took on a completely different pronunciation in Portuguese: Ho-sa-lee-ay-nee. Years later, a boss shortened my name to Rosely. From then on, I became known as Rosely.

    With a new name, new language, and new culture, I was reborn in Brazil.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. LOL. I love how your mom put her foot down? My name is difficult as it is Tikeetha. Many people misspell, can’t pronounce or change it all together. I’m clear that if you can’t get my name that you call me Ms. Thomas. My mom thought of my name as she was watching the Dating Game and heard a contestant who was Filipino with a similar name and she decided to be creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that funny? I had one entirely different ending where I’d analyzed how she subversively conceded, but wondered if she’d won at all. I mean, I still get called the cousin’s name lol

      That’s a great boundary lesson too. Sometimes people just don’t say anything or get called the wrong thing their whole life.

      Thanks for adding that cool story too. I like to hear how people got their names.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My name is DeBorah with 3 syllables not two. However when my Dad named me it was just Deborah which most people pronounce as Debra. Once I got into my 20s I began to ask or insist people call me DeBorah with 3 syllables more akin to the Hebrew Biblical pronunciation. To be truthful I’m not sure if I was named after the 1950s Actress DeBorah Kerr or the Biblical Judge found in chapters 4 and 5. My Dad told me that he wanted to break the chain of having kids named after family members. Personally I’m glad I’m DeBorah as opposed to Eva, Helen or Thelma, my paternal Aunts. Daddy thought my name was unique until around the 3rd grade when there were several girls in class with my name!! So much for unique!

    I prefer the Biblical Hebrew DeBorah and of course I Love and enjoy having the same name as a powerful strong Warrior Woman!

    I hate when people call me Debbie. Sounds like those disgusting snack cakes “Little Debbies” the most gross snack cakes on earth!! Ugh!! Anyway Debbie is a little girls name and I’m nearly 60 far past and beyond being a Little Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I noticed that spelling when I emailed you! I was like oh no…I’ve been misspelling her name! I figured there were 3 syllables with the capitalization of the “B.” That’s pretty cool. It’s like our parents want us to be different, so they add or delete some “thing” to visually represent it first.

      Duly noted: NO Debbie 😉


  15. Yep Kathy, so many share this irritation. Mine is with my surname as the English language does not have clear vowels. I say it clearly and they write and ask me to spell – which I do. After a pause comes a delighted ” ah, you mean aiversen” . If you wish I say but it is Ivarson. Confusion.
    A credit card is what I use nowadays – to copy from.
    A smile in a day.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kathy, I think this is so common for many and no less irritating! 😀 When I was growing up there was a tv personality called Aneka Rice, so not only did I get all the silly jokes about being like her but my name got changed -all the time! This happens even now ..Where I used to get frustrated I just smile, correct and move on! Good luck, Katherin without an ‘e’! Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I feel your pain! My name is Jo Ann. I can’t tell you how many times it’s been misspelled (with an e, with an h, no space) and mispronounced (my name it not Joan, yes I’m sure, Joan only has one n but even if it didn’t I’m telling you it’s Jo Ann). No one could come close to spelling or pronouncing my maiden name, so I thought that, when I took my husband’s name, things would change. Who knew Ward is as bad as Rusolo?

    When I was 17 years old, two soldiers showed up at my house. They were looking for “John” Rusolo because he never registered with the selective services. Ummm, no John here. Apparently, my HS made a mistake.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes. I know your name is SUPER common with a million different spellings, like mine. How can anyone get “Ward” wrong???

      The school had you as JOHN the whole time? lol


    2. I’m a JOAN. And people say JO ANN all the time… or Jane, Jean, June, Joannie, etc. even John at the VA hospital (they assume veterans are all guys, I guess.) Or they spell it “J-O-N-E.” I too had a difficult maiden name and was glad to marry into a better one–Harris. Or so I thought. People think I’m saying Paris, like the city in France. I’ve tried correcting people, it doesn’t work and they don’t remember the next time. It used to irritate me, but I’ve made my peace with it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Joan, you’re a better person than I am. I’m not there yet. I’ve had problems at my hospital, too. They emphasis how important it is to get the right person. I make them show me the name they have written down before accepting treatment. I don’s want Joan or John’s medicine, lol!

        Liked by 2 people

  18. People are always mispelling my name, writing it Gina instead of Jina. a few years ago i met this lady and she asked me my name, i said Jina with a J. and she laughed and said, i always have to tell people my name is Gina with a G.
    no matter how correct or incorrect, people will always mispell names – seems like a way for the universe to irritate us.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That is a great story. OMG it’s amazing that people will ask you if you are spelling your name correctly. My daughter has a very simple name. Spelled exactly how you would think the name would be spelled and how most people with her name spells it. it’s amazing how people say it incorrectly; she corrects them, and they refuse to still say it right. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. My birthname used to be misspelled all the time as a kid. There was another girl with the same name but hers had no “e” and mine did. But looking back and to be honest, my issue was more about people getting the (considered) blond hair blue eyed girl’s name right. Not jealousy but just felt not important less important beca

    Liked by 1 person

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