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What’s In a Name?

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This is Jenny.

When I was born, my parents knew they wanted to call me Jenny. They almost named me Jennifer, but quickly realized during the pregnancy that Jennifer was a ridiculously popular name. So, they thought that Guinevere would be a good name. Seeing as they were naming me after King Arthur’s bride, it seemed fitting. Thankfully for me, they opted with Genevieve, still calling me Jenny for short (as Arthur called Guinevere).

Jenny seemed a very fitting name for a silly, funny girl. One who, I’d be reminded of my whole life, danced in the backyard in her slip at the age of 5. Even though I wasn’t a Jennifer, I was always one of many Jennys during my schooling. I was Jenny T. There was usually at least 1-3 other Jennys in my classes. It just was something I got used to – not a big deal.

When I got older, though, people started formalizing my name. I was called Jennifer a LOT. Not that there’s anything wrong with the name Jennifer – it’s just not MY name. So, I would tell people that it’s actually Genevieve, and started getting the simple question, “Why don’t you go by Genevieve? It’s so pretty.”

So, when I graduated college and finished up my credential, I moved up to Los Angeles and started introducing myself as Genevieve. It was weird at first – it took some getting used to (much like it took a little getting used to saying my married name), but after awhile, it was second nature.

When I was a tour guide at Universal, it was perfect. These were theater and movie people. They were singers. They knew about Camelot and the musical and would sing my name to me. I have to say, I loved it. I felt somehow more glamorous as Genevieve. In fact, when my husband met me, he was introduced to me as Jenny, but when he found out that I was Genevieve, that’s all he would call me, and he’s called me only that for 15 years. (Though he did sing Jenny 867-5309 when he proposed to me.)

I love having a semi unusual name. I love going to Starbucks and giving them my name. Sometimes they ask me for the spelling, and sometimes I offer and they say they’ve got it. Either way, I usually get some really unusual spellings. In fact, I went to a wedding recently where my place card was waiting for me:

It’s sort of become a game – it’s kind of fun.

So, whether you call me Jenny or Genevieve, I’ll answer. I’m still both – the responsible, sophisticated (ha) grown up and the little girl in the slip, dancing in the backyard.

Is there a story behind your name?


3 responses »

  1. I have always wished there was an interesting story behind my name. But alas. My mom liked the name Emily. Boring.

  2. I was named after a little Russian girl my parents met on a trip (not Russia). They were John and Nancy Clark and decided the common names would end there. My brother got Andre, which is sort of fitting since he was born in Belgum. I ended up being Katusha. Which is amusing because even though I look Russian, I am not. Born and bred in Wisconsin to boot. Also amusing is that Andre and Katusha are 2 of the blackest sounding names in the country, and again, I’m not that either. To top it off I married a Zerzanek and went from black to fresh of the ethnic boat in one small wedding ceremony in Vegas. I do look like my name though now even if it still doesn’t fit my heritage 🙂

    Even though I love my unusual name, my kids have very traditional ones. I can’t wait to see which way they go with naming when they have kids of their own.

  3. Gone with the Wind. Obviously. My mom almost named my sister Ashley…which might have been a bit over the top, no?

    Lots of people call me Mel, and that totally doesn’t bother me.

    I love your name, Gennavie!

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