Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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April 4, 2014

04/04/2014 — Lee Ward: Names can be difficult to live with

ASHLAND — “Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.”

— Bill Cosby

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I can see Cosby’s point. Vowels, when said, can linger in the air longer than consonants.

Most consonants just seem clipped off at the end.

Don’t starting thinking I’m wrong because if you yell the letter B or C or D, you can carry them out forever, just like you can E. Those consonants actually end with the sound of “e.” That puts you back to the drawing board.

With the exception of Elizabeth Taylor, who was married eight times, I’ve had more names than most people.

When I was born, I was named Pamela Jean Saul. I don’t know why the Pamela Jean, but “Saul” was my mother’s last name, a shortened and Americanized version of the Italian surname “Sauro.”

When I was adopted, I was named Lee Ann Smith. Some of my family called me “Ann,” but I hated that. I thought that was a sissy name and I was not a sissy girl, so I began demanding to be called “Lee.” Nobody cared what I wanted, of course, so it wasn’t until my junior high school days, when I switched schools, that I was able to redefine myself and tell people my name was “Lee.” It caught on, for the most part, but people who knew me from elementary school wouldn’t give up the “Ann.”

In college, nobody knew me as anything but “Lee,” and I enjoyed it. To this day, almost everyone calls me “Lee” all the time, unless someone wants to tick me off and slip in that unmentionable, girly second part. A few times, men, when they have learned it’s legally “Lee Ann,” have told me how pretty that name is, until I glare at them and dare them to make calling me that a regular occurrence.

When I got married, I simply added “Ward” to my string of names. Counting all my names, including my birth name, I have quite a collection.

It gets confusing when you take your car in for an oil change and the technician can’t find the records and they look under “Ward” but you’re filed under “Smith,” or vice versa. Even I can’t remember who I am at which office.

I propose everyone be limited to three-word names and the person who has to wear those names around for a lifetimes gets to choose.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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