Grandma called me Christine Jeanie Karen. She went through different name lists for others in the family, but the route to “Karen” was always the same. I often wondered, but never asked, how I fit on this particular list.
Christine was my great aunt, rarely seen, but much remembered thanks to Grandma. The same starting sound best explains why our names were linked.
Jeanie was my mom’s cousin, maybe fifteen years older than me. Another rarely seen relative. She and I were the only blondes in a brunette and black haired family. That’s the best I can do to make any kind of connection with Jeanie.
I remember this fondly now, largely because I find myself struggling with family names, too. The first syllable of my daughter’s and sister’s names rhyme. Anyway, that’s my excuse for repeatedly calling them by the others name. The children I work with and my nieces and nephews often suffer through being called a siblings’ name – by me and others. I knew better than to name my children with the same starting letter sound, but failed to apply that rule when we named our pets. Luckily Dixie, Dogg, Daisy and Dexter don’t complain when I get their names wrong.
As the old saying goes, “I don’t care what you call me – just don’t forget to call me for supper.” Maybe that should be our family motto.