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.