Sunday, December 5, 2010

You Name It

Before I even opened the box that contained our Christmas decorations today, the first memory I had was of a small wooden angel ornament. It's not an ornate ornament. And my reason for liking it has nothing to do with the holiday. This ornament has my name on it. I know, it doesn't seem like a big deal. (And as you can tell, Grace wasn't quite so impressed with it.) The thing is my name was spelled right on this tiny piece of wood.  And that was  -- and apparently still is -- a big deal to me. Here's why.

These days I go by Kate. I was born Katherine and was called Katey. As a grade school kiddo, I had a heck of a time finding anything with my name spelled right on it. Many other kids had folders and pencils displaying their names. One of those kids was my best friend Katie. Everything had her name on it, not mine. The spelling of "ie" was much, much more prevalent than "ey." (And mind you, back in the late-70s, early 80s it wasn't so easy to get things personalized like it is today. Heck, you can even have your dog's name embroidered on a pet bed.)

I rather liked being Katey with an "ey." It suited me and I was proud of it. And it was especially fun once I learned to write in cursive and could use the tail of my "y" to cross my "t." That said, I still longed for seeing my name on things. Oddly enough, when I started my newspaper journalism career in college, I decided to change the byline on my stories from Katey to Kate.  I finally had the chance to see my name -- Katey -- in print and I changed it. Sometimes I kinda want to go back to my Kateyhood.  Back to the day when I first saw my name in print, on an angel ornament. 

Turns out that Grace got her own angel ornament with her name on it this year, a snowman angel, but an angel nonetheless. I'm sure she loves seeing her name in print as much as I do. Or she will. Once she's old enough to read, that is. 


15 comments:

MollyinMinn said...

I love this story. Really, as a similarly aged person to you, I so get it. Personalization was huge. But I have to admit, I kind of want to call you Katey now. I like it.

Kate said...

Go right ahead. I was almost going to suggest that to clear up the Cate / Kate confusion in the office : )

Kate said...

I went by Katy as a child. We all know that there was never any 'Katy' personalized goods around. No wonder I grew up with a complex. I was also a Kathryn. Rarely does that name go with the traditional Scottish spelling. And rarely does a name get butchered so carelessly... I went by Kathryn in college, and way too many people just tried to call me 'Kathy' when I introduced myself. Got to a point where I would just say "If I wanted you to call me Kathy, I would introduce myself that way!"

But now I am just plain Kate.

JennyF said...

That is really sweet! As a person whose name can be shortened to any one of multiple names/spellings, I can relate to the desire to find your name spelled the way you want it to be.

The Young Family said...

If it means anything you will always be Katey Roberts to me!

The Cheap Chick said...

As an "Erin", it was always hard for me to find personalized stuff, too. Which is why I love the handmade ornaments my Mom made me with my name! And now they deck my tree :)

tracy said...

Oh I love this story. What an adorable little angel. So sweet. :)
xoxo, Tracy

Jen said...

Great post! And Grace will definitely like her name angel once she can read.

Kate said...

Kate -- I experience the same "Kathy" issues and I had very much the same reaction as you did! I'll answer to Kate, I'll answer to Katey, and I'll answer to Katherine, but not Kathy.

Elle said...

I love it - what a sweet story. I can so relate and understand why it is a favorite. Thanks for sharing!

Angie said...

Such a great story! And Grace is adorable, as always!

The Marketing Mama said...

Hi Kate ~ Thank you so much for sharing this. It's amazing how much it means to us to see our name on things. I love buying personalized items for my kiddos - I'm sure your daughter will treasure her snowman angel. :)

LutherLiz said...

I love this. I always loved personalized things and can imagine what a thrill it would be to have a more unusual spelling found for a child. :)

simplyrejoice said...

Hi Kate!

What a nice story! I always had a problem finding things like ornaments with my name on them. My name wasn't as common growing up and everyone I knew assumed it was spelled Tricia. I definitely have an ornament on my tree that's got my name on it, with the -sha ending. :)

suzanne @ pretty swell said...

Love this post! As a kid, I was always so dismayed that "Susan" was so much more common than my name, "Suzanne." I could NEVER find "Suzanne" on anything. When I did, mom would snatch it up. And to this day, whenever I'm in a gift shop or pass a rack of named stuff, like key chains or mugs, I still always glance for my name. Pitiful!