I was over at my niece's blog tonight catching up, and I came across a post in which she mentioned her Aunt Kathy (me). I wouldn't have her call me anything else! Unless she wants to revert back to Khaki, like she used to call me when she was little...I was about 12 when she started that, after which my father never called me anything else but Khaki for the rest of his life. :)
But in commenting on her post, I had a very hard time signing my name as Kathy. I wouldn't have the problem if I was signing a personal card or letter to her, but being that a blog comment is kind of public, I had a little struggle. I usually just settle on signing 'k' these days.
I'm a tag along baby of the family. My oldest sister wanted my name to be Kathy. She never knew what it was like to have the teacher call your name and have three or four other girls look up. Thanks a lot, sis. I am eternally grateful to my mother for opting for Kathleen.
According to the Social Security's list of top 1000 most popular names for baby girls from 1950 to 1959 (I came along toward the end of that decade), Mary was the single most popular name. There were 625,328 baby girls named Mary in that decade. That surprised me, because I know a lot more Kathys than Marys. Or at least it seems so. I'm willing to acknowledge that maybe I'm just a little more sensitive to recognizing people with my name, but since I'm a stubborn type, I went through the whole dadgum list, and this is what I found.
Kathleen came in at 15. Then there was Kathy at 22nd. Followed by Catherine at 32nd...Cathy at 52nd...Kathryn at 57th...Katherine at 65th...Cathleen at 282nd...Kathie at 320th...Kathi at 402nd...Katharine at 471st...Cathryn at 507th...Kathrine at 604th...Katheryn at 715th...Cathrine at 798th...Catharine at 806th...Cathey at 906th...and finally Kathaleen at 958th.
You add all those up, and you get 755,170 baby girls that I am willing to wager got called Kathy (or some spelling thereof) at least part of the time, either by choice or because people like to call others by familiar rather than formal names. That's a lot more than the 625,328 Marys. (I knew it!)
I started school at a private school where the girls had to wear a head covering to chapel with their name embroidered across the front. Mine read 'Kathleen,' and that is what I was called by everyone. So I was accustomed to being Kathy at home, and Kathleen in public. It was actually junior high before we could choose to go by a nickname. I actually preferred Kathleen, but there was one person in particular who called me Kath-A-leen. Oh how that drove me crazy! So I told this person to just call me Kathy, and it spread. And it clung until after I married and moved out of the area.
For the last twenty-five years (give or take), I've gone by Kathleen in public (again) by personal preference. I don't ask or even want my family to call me anything but Kathy...that would actually feel weird. But if a new acquaintance does so, I usually make my preference known.
Sorry to bore you with such a self-indulgent post. Anyone else have an identity crises?
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