Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a child growing up in Thomaston, Georgia, I was called by one name at home...and another name everywhere else. My name is Karen. It is pronounced "care-in" (my name at home) as opposed to "kay-run" (my name everywhere else). I wasn't alone in this alteration of my name as every Gary, Sarah, and Mary suffered the same trauma. I arrived in Alabama in 1983 and was called by my name...and so I've stayed...for that and other reasons (of course!)

In 1989, names were on my mind when I was expecting our daughter, Jill. I had all of the requisite books including "What To Expect When You're Expecting" (an original title if I've ever heard one...NOT) and a whole host of baby name books. I took the naming of our daughter seriously after growing up being called by a name my mother didn't name me.

Big Dave's only request was that it be easy to spell. Bless his heart.

I didn't want her to have the same name as eight of her classmates. There is nothing wrong with this...but I just felt led to steer clear of names that I kept hearing every time I asked my pregnant friends ahead of me what names they were entertaining. I liked the name Kayla...after my sweet friend...but ran into a couple of people that were using it...thanks to "Days of Our Lives" having a popular character by that name.

I then compiled a short list of names and ran them by the grandmothers. Needless to say, having a mother who knows a lot of people and a mother in law who taught a lot of people meant that one or the other knew someone by whatever name it was and put in a "it's your baby...BUT" vote.

The first one was Samantha. My mother's logic was interesting. Elizabeth Montgomery's character on "Bewitched" was named Samantha. Elizabeth Montgomery played Lizzie Borden. She associated the name Samantha with Lizzie Borden. Plus, she also knew that they'd call her Sam.

Then I tried Amanda. My mother-in-law had taught no fewer than twelve little girls named Amanda and thought that it was just too much in use...thus going against my desire for a name that was not overused.

I asked if they thought Rebecca would work. My mother-in-law said that they would shorten it to Becky, Becca, or Beck, and my mother said it was forever associated with New York to her.

The name Jamie was suggested, but it met the same fate as Amanda with my mother-in-law. My mother didn't like names that ended with "i", "y" or "ie." Whatever.

I then threw the name Jill out there. My only concern was that it was too short with the last name Mixon. My mother-in-law reminded me that my father-in-law's name is Bill. Yeah...I'd forgotten that.

Before I leave this...I'd like to go on record that my mother wanted to name her Eden Brooke. Eden. Let's just roll that one around the old brain awhile. Mom had been watching a soap opera that she was enamored with...and thought that it would be the perfect name for her first granddaughter. No offense meant if this is your name...or the name of someone that you love...but to me? It sounds like the winner of the National Pole Dancing Federation dance-off. I think NOT.

I did give her the Brooke part, though...which was part of Mom's maiden name.

I tried every combination of family names to come up with something that would work...but it would have left someone out in the cold. My mother-in-law's middle name was supposed to be Jean like my Mom's...but her father changed it to Ann at the last minute. So, I was left with a lot of possibilities...but only one name that everyone liked.


Except that Jill didn't go with Brooke. Enter the baby name book. In it I saw Gillian (with the soft "G" like "George") and I went "aha!" I'll change it to Jillian and so Jillian Brooke Mixon was named!

And then I took the easy way out two years later and named Brian after his Dad. No drama there. No...that came I've struggled to keep their records straight ever since. One is David B. Mixon and the other is D. Brian Mixon. The insurance people think that they are both David Mixon. Egad.

Anyway, I smile sometimes when I see a nametag with a name that I wonder about on it. Names that I have to ask how to pronounce. And to those mothers...they probably thought that those names suited their little precious ones just perfectly.

I love the names that both of my children have. I give kudos to my mother-in-law for naming my second one, and to my mother for helping me name the first.

And I've even found that being called "kay-run" isn't the worst thing in the world. Now? It sounds like Georgia to me. Later!

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