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Front Page » April 15, 2008 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 2,345 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

What's in a name?

Our name helps define who we are and differentiates us from all others. Names are one of the areas we get into trouble for in the newspaper. Get it right and people are happy, but add and extra "n" or leave out an "e" and the phone will ring.

Rightly so. Our name is a big part of how people identify us. Our looks and personality add to the mix, but it is our name that separates us from the others who share similar traits.

We don't feel good about saying "There is the brown haired skinny girl." or "There goes that fat bald guy" when referring to someone.

Sure there are others who share my name and the same spelling. It is fascinating to "Google" it and see what others are doing. But here in my little corner of the world, I am the person known as Terry (with two r's and a y) Willis.

When I write sports, I work hard at trying to get everyone's name spelled right. I have to rely on the information contained in the rosters provided by the coaches. Once in a while things slip by. I do not take these mistakes lightly because long ago I realized the importance we all put on this part of who we are.

I grew up with a last name that was always butchered when pronounced and misspelled when others wrote it.

My first name has several common spellings and I don't spell it the "girl" way. My mother started that and I just always kept it that way. So often that is misspelled by others.

When I grew up it was not unusual to have several Debbies, Johns, and Steves and Anns in my class. In those days names stayed pretty traditional and we were usually named after a family member. We relied on nicknames to give us some of that sense of individual identity.

For some of us though, the nicknames that stuck when we were young were not always good. I will not tell you mine, but my little sister Melissa had the nick name of Dinky until she was six.

Then for a while naming children took a weird turn and kids were stuck being named after things, objects and phrases. You know, like Rainy Day and Justin Nuther Jones.

Lately, I have been seeing a trend toward giving kids seemingly common names, but spelling them in the strangest ways. My name might be spelled Tearee now. I am glad I am not going to be still writing for the paper when these kids get into high school.

I am having enough of a struggle keeping the Britni's and Brittany's straight. I have to check each time to make sure I don't write Beau when it should be Bo and vice versa..

I try not to repeat mistakes. Be aware that sometimes others add to what I send in and they also try to get it right, but don't always have the correct information in front of them on a tight deadline.

If I have spelled your name wrong, thanks for letting me know. Keep us on our toes here and continue to demand that we get it right. But for those of you naming kids now, think of their future because the name you stick them with can end up a blessing or a curse they have to live with the rest of their lives.


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April 15, 2008
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