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LARSON: Readers spell out mistakes in name calling

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Judging by the responses to my "spellbound" column, it appears that all names are bound to be misspelled by somebody.

Jason Bernardo of Duluth remembers when he set up a checking account 25 years ago and could not communicate his name to the teller.

"Since I just moved here from California, I figured she might not be used to my lack of an accent." Bernardo said. "So after repeating my name several times, I spelled it out slowly and clearly. When she slid the application over for me to sign, I saw she had written Jensen Prattlo."

Because of similar experiences, Lilburn resident Diana Hickson (born Diana Grandinetti) was thrilled to marry a man with such an easy name. But it didn't help much. She still sees her name spelled Hixon, Nixon, Dixon or Dickson.

On the other hand, life did get a little easier for Theda Davis when she wed. The Lilburn resident said, "My maiden name was 'Wehrle,' pronounced 'Werly.' If I pronounced my last name, nobody could spell it; when I spelled it, no one could pronounce it. It was a relief to marry and assume the name Davis." But even after 80-some years of living, she still has to answer "no" every time someone asks her if she was named after the movie star Theda Bara.

"Another name recognition mix-up came to mind similar to the Yale/Lock story in your column," Davis wrote. "I once worked with a man named Andy Locke. He said that originally he told people that his name was spelled the same as the philosopher's but then found that most people hadn't heard of him. Then he told them his name was the same as the lock on the door, only with an added 'e.' Someone called him 'Keyes' after that."

I'm sure situations like that can be frustrating. But maybe the key to dispelling that frustration is simply to have a sense of humor, as this reader from Lawrenceville reveals.

With a name like mine, I have many funny stories," Judith Housekeeper wrote. "I usually tell people who ask the inevitable question about my 'skills' that my husband is the born housekeeper in the family. And we both will comment to folks who question us 'We don't do windows.' And then my husband just happens to be in the home repair business. He gets kidded a lot by customers, but one is really cute. I don't think she realizes Housekeeper is his last name. She believes it is his title because she makes out his check to 'Ron the Housekeeper.''

"But one of the funniest stories happened a few years ago. We met a couple while camping. My husband helped them get their TV set up in their RV. A couple of months or so later, our daughter and son-in-law were camped next to them. The couple told them, 'Your parents are such nice people. We will never forget them, the Kitchencleaners.'"

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.