Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's In A Name

My Mom gave all of my siblings and I very interesting names - mostly Biblical/Hebrew.  She told us from the time we were all little of how she prayed about all of our names, and the meanings of our names.

 But I think, more than all of them, I have the weirdest name of them all.

 You have no idea how my name - "Hosanna" - has been butchered over the years.

 Just yesterday I was called "Havana"at the Post Office and then the computer repair guy wrote it down as "Joseanna" - like some kind of feminine form of "Jose". I get that a lot - along with people assuming that I am Spanish. It has to be the tan - or my dark eyes? I don't know, but much of the time I get asked if I am Spanish. Which isn't surprising, as my Mom was always presumed to be Cuban when we lived in Florida because of her olive skin and dark hair/eyes. 

 There  is a neighbor that has always called me "Hannah" forever and I just play along with it. As long as there is not another Hannah in the room to be confused with.

 I remember being a part of a summer reading program at the local library when I was in grade school and when someone asked me for my name to write out on a certificate for reading a bunch of books, they didn't believe my name was "Hosanna" and wrote, instead, "Roseanna" even after I spelled my name out for them.
I've been called Roseanna on many other  occasions and I just smile and nod. Smile and nod.......

 And growing up in Church was really awful, as you can imagine; I was constantly greeted by people singing some song or another with "hosanna" in the chorus or verse. It made me want to seriously stab my eye with a fork.

 When I was showing horses frequently in my teens and early 20s, the show announcers almost always botched my name. If they got the first part right, they'd botch my last name - which was Pennell at the time. I was a different name at every show. I'd be sitting there, on my horse, baking in my black hunt jacket, velvet hunt cap, and tall black boots, and groan as they called me in for my prize.
"And in second place.... Hos.... Jose..... Hus-anna............Penel." OR, "Hose-ann Peeeenayle".
Finally I started using my middle name and was just plain "Joy" at horse shows.  At least, I figured, they could get that part right.

 When my brothers started having kids, and they started talking, they'd always stumble over the mouthful of "Aunt Hosanna" so eventually my official name for the kids in my life (7 that I see frequently) became "Zanna". This worked out great for all of the kids, except my niece Emilie, who is now 4. She would not - or could not - say "Zanna" or anything like "Zanna" so when she started talking, she simply called me "Kevin" - my husband's name. She'd come over to my house and say something like "Hey, Aunt Kebin? Kin I pet that kitty?"
I would explain: "Yes, you may. But, my name is 'Zanna'. Can you say  'Zanna'?"
Emilie, mumbling: "Aunt Zanna".
"Yep! That's my name."
 "Hey, Aunt Kebin........................?"

Sometimes the kids will try my whole name on for size. Then it's something like "HOSE-anna" or "Hoseyanna".

My close friends call me "Hos" (like "hose"), or "Hosie".

 In addition to the strange pronunciations of my name, I get strange looks and blank stares when I introduce myself to someone I have never met before. The head tilts of inquiry.

 So while I do like having an unusual name, it does come with certain "issues".

 That is why, should I ever produce offspring, I think I will go with names like..... "Mary". And "Ed". Or names with easier to pronounce nicknames.

Yeah. Plan carefully when choosing names for your children, parents.


Lisa T. said...

I love your name. It's old fashioned and almost musical. However, I can never read this blog again without thinking of you as Kevin-THAT is funny. When my daughter was little she called my brother, "Uncle" and his girlfriend, "Girl Uncle". It made sense to her!

Herb of Grace said...

Aunt Kevin. *snork* I love it. I think I shall start calling you Aunt Kevin :D

Any name can get butchered. No one ever spells Sofi's name right, and all our lives Susi and I were mixed up with each other... Even you and Omi used to mix us up :)

Denise said...

I got my first name pronounced as Dennis. Very aggravating - Do I look like a Dennis, really? My niece and nephew couldnt say Denise so I got Aunt Deece. Too cute! It's amazing how many people cant even get my married last name right. It's Park, not Parks and I am not Korean so stop sending me credit card applications in Korean...

Catherine said...

This is so weird! I just wrote a post about names with the EXACT same title a few days ago. It's still a draft at the moment.
I think there's a balance between naming a child something unique and something traditional. You don't want them to be made fun of, but you also don't want something worn out and over-used. I think your name is the perfect balance. :)