Perfume de plume

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. . .
When Dane and I went back to Minnesota for our 10th high school reunion, I was quite shocked to discover one of my classmates (from grade school on) had changed her first name to Patrice after I left. I felt violated at first, but realized there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I told myself she wanted to be me and felt bad for her not wanting to be herself. There’s just something wrong about someone taking your name.
Names are easily associated with good and bad feelings, like people who, upon hearing their name, make your face light up with joy and happiness. Weird Al has always been someone without guile whose songs/parodies make you laugh. Turns out he is a decent humble guy, too. I have watched several interviews over the years and always feel bad for the interviewer who seems to want to pull something ugly out of him to tarnish his image – to no avail. He’s just a nice guy.
On the other hand, no one looks at their little baby boy and says, “Oh honey – he’s so cute! Let’s call him Adolf Hitler Smith!” At least I think no one would do that??
I do remember hearing about someone local who named their child Harley Davidson – a real conversation starter,eh? There’s the classic “La-ah”.  How do you pronounce that? You’d be told – “Lah – dash – ah” because the dash ain’t silent!!  And a girlfriend of mine who took attendance at a local high school would have to call to ask why ‘so and so’ wasn’t in school today? only to run across a daughter’s name pronounced “Sha – theed”, but spelled Shithead – no, you can’t make this stuff up.
I deal with names everyday and you can imagine that I may make up little ditties to go along with them to tell them apart. I have 13 families with the last name Smith. And yes, one of them named their son ‘John’, can’t imagine what he has to go through on phone orders, or even renting a motel room???, etc. . .
Dane and I have had our share of struggles with name butchering. His can’t be Dane – it must be Dave, Danny, Dean, Dan, or better yet, DIANE.
Mine, being Patrice is always Patricia, or PATRICK, which goes hand in hand with the Diane above.
Our last name, Hamren must be, Harmon, Hammond, Herman, suffice it to say, we are always surprised when someone gets all 3 correct. Dane & Patrice Hamren instead of Patrick and Diane Harmon. (Even my spell check underlines Hamren every time it appears).
The advantage of having an unusual name is – it’s kind of unforgettable. Once stuck in the craw it usually stays there.
My mother and father-in-love liked unusual names. Their 7 children were Craig, Claudia, Dane, Marina, Blair, Erica, and Judd. I continued the tradition With Jarl, Preston and Nelssen – they stick with you! And each of them are as unique as their names.
I realized the value of a good name very early in our marriage and was determined to honor my husband’s family by doing everything possible to make sure our last name was one that brought smiles to people’s faces when they heard it. In essence, a sweet smell, a pleasant fragrance, a perfume de plume.
As we come up on our 42nd wedding anniversary this month, I’d like to think that we have a good name – one that honors the Lord and makes people smile when they hear it – as well as ‘say good things’ about it.
When we’re finished with our work on this earth, I would hope that people would still smile when they hear our name and that it brings good memories and stories of fun and laughter, fireworks and plumbing, singing and 3 fine sons who carry on our name with honor. This is all I ask. To God be the Glory.