I have spelled my name at least nine million three hundred thousand seven hundred and eighty three times in my lifetime. My first name, Danelle, proves difficult for many people. They want to put an “i” in it and turn it into the more elegant and French-sounding Danielle. I have nothing against inserting the “i” except the resulting name isn’t my name.

Another version of my name loses the “e” on the end. Not a big thing, the loss of an “e”, but distressing when it is my “e”. Other variations seem endless: two “n”s with the “e”, two “n”s without the “e”, two “n”s with both the “I” and the “e” and on and on.

My children were wiser in choosing names for their children. My daughter, believing that simplicity is best, named her son Max and her daughter Eva. Short, to the point, no need for spelling out the name unless the listener wants to change Eva into Ava.

Not too much you can do to Max unless it morphs into Mac. Of course, determining whether Max is short for Maxwell or Maximillian is another matter.

My son was a little more adventurous with Eric and Jacueline. Eric is a fine name. The worst anyone can do to it is add a “k” to the end, turning it into the home town of Oklahoma’s own country music legend, Roger Miller.

Jacqueline is more problematic with the infinite possibilities of moving “i”s and “e”s hither and yon. In self defense, my granddaughter opted to shorten her name to Jackie, a move that lacks the music of Jacqueline, but which she doesn’t have to spell for everyone. Personally, I think she should just use her initials, J. C. for Jacqueline Charlotte. Of course, then she would be faced with rescuing the initials from Jaycee or Jasie or some other mutation.

Names come into fashion and go out of fashion like hem lengths and hair styles. One doesn’t hear of too many Esthers or Abigails or Lucys nowadays. For a while, we had quite a few Brandys and Buffys and Barbies. Notice, however, that none of these names require the mental spelling gymnastics of a Danelle or a Jacqueline.

Why are our names so personal and important to us? Why does it matter if someone inserts an”I” into my name or shorts me an “e”?

“What is in a name,” the Bard asked quizzically while penning ROMEO AND JULIET. “A rose by any other name, etc. etc. etc.”

Obviously Shakespeare never had to say, “That’s right, you’ve almost got it. Now add the “e”.”

NOTE: The above image of Shakespeare was thought to be the only painting of him taken from life, possibly done by the artist, John Taylor. It was the first portrait to be acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1856.  Info found on Wikepedia.

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