Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
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I don’t often use my first name. I made that decision several years ago. I usually use my middle name, which is Marie. I’ll explain that later. My family refuses to accept the fact that I would like to be called “Marie.” They would rather use my first name and the diminutive associated with it. My friends use my middle name. They have no problem with using it. Life is complicated. Here is the story of my name.
When I was born, I was the first girl born into my father’s immediate family in many years. My father had a sister born after him who lived briefly but there were no other girls. I was a much loved and wanted child. My father wanted to name me Rosemary after his sister who had died, but my grandmother vetoed that suggestion. In Irish families, it’s bad luck to name a child after someone who died tragically or who died young. So my father suggested Rosemarie. But my grandmother also vetoes that name as being “too close.”
Then my father offered Marie. That met with my grandmother’s approval but not my mother’s. My father had an unmarried cousin whose name was Marie and my mother thought that two “Marie S.” would be too many and would be confusing. Never mind that the other Marie might get married and she didn’t live in the same city. We also had two “John S.” in the family and no one got them confused. But my mother vetoed Marie. Then she was reading a movie magazine in the hospital and came across the name Diane in the magazine. She liked it and decided that was the name she liked. My grandmother was not thrilled because she thought it sounded like Dinah and also she didn’t like the nickname Di. But my mother had her heart set on Diane. So my name became Diane Marie.
I was christened little Diane Marie S. on December 4, 1949 in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica, New York. That is my official name. Growing up my grandmother always called me Diane. My mother called me Di. My uncles called me Di. My father called me Diane. My brother and sister called me Di. My friends at school called me Diane. I hated my name. I didn’t like it at all. I wished I had been called Marie. But there was nothing I could do about it.
It was only when I retired and when I was in therapy that my therapist encouraged me to do what I had been wanting to do–be called what I wanted to be called all my life. So I’m now called Marie except by my family. My family does not honor my wishes. I guess some things are just too difficult for them to change. To them I will always be Diane.