What’s in a Name?

I met new friends at Jung in Ireland (in the week-long seminar I recently attended). One basically told me the story of his life through his name. Here is his account:

“My name is ‘Leonard Robin Clark.’ Both my grandfather and father were also named ‘Leonard,’ so my family called me ‘Robin.’ When I went off to school, the teachers asked me what was my first name? I told them ‘Leonard,’ and that’s what they called me. When I joined the Navy, they called me by my last name ‘Clark,’ which changed to ‘Mr. Clark’ when I finished OTS. Then, after I got my Ph.D. in chemistry, folks called me ‘Dr. Clark.’ And when my wife decided to go into politics I became known as ‘Mr. Rita’.”

Isn’t that interesting? I sure think so. I began to think about my own name changes and how it has shaped my narrative.

I was named “Joyce Elaine Murray, Junior,” after my mother. My dad wanted to call me “Junior” (and he did), but my grandparents called me “Little Joyce” and it stuck during my younger years. I was “Joyce” during my school years, except when my older brother Stone’s friends nicknamed me “Rocks-Ann” (and called my younger brother “Pebble”). I was Miss Murray when I started teaching, and then I became “Joyce Anderson” and “Mrs. Anderson” when I married at 25. My son called me “Mommy” (but calls me “Mother now that he’s grown). I went to court to reclaim my maiden name when I divorced at 30. “Joyce Boatright” became my moniker when I married for a second time five years later. A colleague, Frank Thornton, used to call me “Joyce Murray Anderson Murray Boatright” to remind me I had gone to the altar twice. Guy humor. Sharp with a sting. When Texas A&M University conferred its doctorate of education to me in 1984 I became Dr. Boatright. Through those same years,  I’ve had my share of nicknames: Joycie, Jerse, Juice, to name a few. Now that I’m retired and living with the love of my life, I think I’ve come full circle. Just call me Joyce.

How about you? What is the narrative of your name?