What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
I was born Catherine Lea. I have always been called some form of Cathy, Cath, Cat or Catherine. Typically I can almost timeline in my life when I met you or if you know me through my family or are a direct friend of mine, by the name you use when we are in contact!
When I worked in the corporate world I used to introduce myself as Catherine or say Catherine over the phone because I wanted to be called Cath and well the truth is Australians are very lazy when it canoes to speaking. A three syllable name is simply far too long for most Australians and will automatically shorten Catherine to Cath (even if it is the first time we have met!)
For a time I worked in a call centre and I always said Catherine and the amount of times people would think I said Jacqueline is really ridiculous.
Anyway, when I was about 15 I met a lady who was a very regular customer in our newsagency, actually I think she might have worked in the newsagency for a time and her name was Kit. She was an older lady probably in her 60s. I remember being fascinated about that she was called Kit it seemed like such a fancy name for someone who would have been born in the late ’20s early ’30s. One day I asked where her name came from. Turns out that her actual name was Catherine just like mine spelt exactly the same. I was absolutely amazed that from Catherine she could be Kit.
I desperately wanted to be called Kit but honestly couldn’t get it to take off. The other thing that really fascinated me about names was that both of my grandmother’s went my their middle names. My maternal gran was Lilian Beatrice and was called Beat – which always made me think of beetroot because I didn’t actually know that Beat was short for Beatrice! My paternal gran was Edna Beryl and was called Beb! I do know the history behind my paternal gran going by her middle name and that was that the Matriarch of the family when she was born refused to call Nan Edna for some pretty awful reasons but that is the story, so Beb she became. I never knew and in fact no-one in the family knows the real reasons behind Nan being called Beat. Lilian is such a pretty name in fact we name one of our twins after my gran. Of course as families go I was oblivious to the fact that Nan’s Lilian was spelt with one l not two until it was pointed out to me by my Uncle AFTER we had filled out all the paperwork to register her name with two l’s (Lillian). Of course there was no way I could know this because Nan was only ever called Beat and I’m not sure I even knew until her funeral that she had another name!
Later in life I got married and with no real thought I automatically took on my husband’s surname. It was not a big deal to me at the time at all. After our son was born I really had a huge identity crisis and realised that well I was a bit more attached to my maiden name than I had thought I was. I left it though because well I also wanted to have the same name as my children. Hindsight being an amazing thing I might have perhaps had a conversation around that we combined our names and created a new surname all together. Anyway, we didn’t and that is that. These days though I am enjoying using my maiden name on FB at least.
I have though decided I am going to give Kit a really good go. There will be people who will never call me Kit but maybe they will. I have an aunt who is really a funny lady! About five maybe six years ago she told my three kids that she really didn’t like her name Joyce. They stopped in their tracks and as kids do simply said well “what shall we call you?” LOLA! was the reply and now even her kids, her own grandkids at times and the rest of the family (including her brothers and sister – my mum) now call her Lola. She was about 60 at the time. So I guess you are never too old to change your name (although I am not really changing my name I just want to be known by a different variation)