What’s in a name? We all have one or several and they can change through the years. There’s the full name announced at your birth and so sweetly whispered in your ear as you’re cuddled by your mother or father or a doting aunt. Then there are the things you’re called by kids as you’re growing up, each kid trying to find out who he is by teasing you about your name and hoping to feel better about their own.
I was still in grade school when I stopped telling anyone my middle name was Jo. Kids didn’t understand it and I was always teased about having a boy’s name. I just gave my name as Vicky Dean.
“Do you know what my initials mean, Mother?” I sat at the piano playing. I was about thirteen and had come to grips with what my parents had done to me by giving me my name.
“Of course. VD is Vicky Dean. VJD is Victoria Jo Dean.”
“No. VD. Venereal disease.”
“Don’t you ever say that!” Her face looked shocked and had gone very pale. “You have a beautiful name.”
She walked away and I kept on playing. She can think what she wants but everyone called me Vicky Dean which meant my initials were VD. Whether she liked it or not.
It wasn’t until I had a job during college and needed to use my initials on a regular basis that I added the J back into my name. VJD. That led to signing everything as Vicky J. Dean which became the name on business cards and legal documents for over thirty-five years.
I’d grown up in the Western United States so I didn’t think twice about calling myself Vicky when I moved to the south. Little did I know that Southerners tongues work best with names of several syllables so Vicky was just too short and Vic was impossible. Another thing they do in the South is use “Miss” as a term of respect that they teach their children to use and use themselves quite often, hence, I became Miss Vicky. After years of being called Miss Vicky, I wished I had said my name was Victoria when I started a new life in a new part of the country. I hated Miss Vicky because I was old enough to remember when Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki on the Johnny Carson show. If you’re not old enough, google it. You probably wouldn’t want to be linked to that either!
So here I am, decades after I was given my name, in a new venture of a life of writing. Why not go back to my beginning and use the full name I’ve never used? Victoria Jo Dean. A new start deserves a new name. Tease me all you might, I’ve come full circle and I’m proud of my name. I’ve earned it.