A Rose By Any Other Name

Excerpt From Jane's World

I've been thinking about names. It started with the recent discovery of my friend Charlie's middle name which is Bean. I love the whimsical sound of it: Charlie Bean!

I had never given my name, Jane, much thought until I attended a baby shower years ago. The guest of honor announced her baby's name would be Phoebe Hayes. She looked at me and said, “You must have hated your name.” I felt put on the spot and only remarked, “I hadn't given it much thought.” I didn't hate my name.

Since the baby shower, I've had time to think about my name and the horrors this gal thought it brought into my life. My earliest memories were of Dick and Jane jokes. No one, it seemed, could pass up the chance to reference Spot the dog in the Dick and Jane reader series. We had Dalmatians as our family dogs when I was growing up. Why I didn't name one of the dogs Spot is a mystery. Looking back, I wonder if subconsciously all the early Dick and Jane references led to my choosing boyfriends my girlfriends referred to as "Dicks."

During my teen years, I could have gotten rich if I had a dollar for every Tarzan joke. Upon meeting someone new of the male species, I would extend my hand and say, “Hi. I'm Jane.” He would shake my hand, while smiling stupidly, and reply, “I'm Tarzan.” To which I’d quip about his originality.

Eventually, I must have gone through all the associations my name could evoke. They went something similar to this: Plain Jane, Insane Jane, Calamity Jane, and Jungle Jane. I once received a letter addressed to Sane Jane. I was amused and have the envelope tucked away in one of my boxes of keepsakes.

Originally Published February 2nd, 2017 in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout