Saturday, April 12, 2014


She always wore gloves and a hat.  And a bright yellow vest.  Daily, when I crossed the street before and after school, she would either start singing, "Here she is, Miss America" or would say, "And how are my little and big bundles of joy doing today?" Then, as I was scooting across the street as quickly as my plaid-uniformed self with green-kneehighed legs would carry me, she would sing the following song (insert eye roll here):

Rita was a sweet-natured crossing guard, and she seemed elderly... then again, I was six when I met her, so she was probably actually in her 30's.  But I'm pretty sure her singing "my song" daily for my six years of regular elementary school may have accounted for my dislike of my nickname.

Personally, I wouldn't name anyone "Katie." I don't hate it, but meh, you know? Plus... that song...

Oh yes.  And my mother was fond of pointing out any unusually bright green, unidentified insect as, "Look, Katie! It's a katydid! Just like your name!" Oh. Yay.

Free stock photo from Wikimedia
This would then be followed by my brother shrieking "Katy DID!  Katy DIDN'T! Katy DID! etc etc etc"

I thought my real name was pretty cool though. "Katherine." I was named after the original Katherine of Alexandria (so I'm told.) The one Catherine of Siena was also named after, as I was told at one point. I happily "grandfather" her in as my patroness as well, as I feel I need all the intercessory help I can get these days...
Ventura Salimbeni
When I went to college, I determined I would be known as "Katherine."  I believe this lasted all of two days. I had a friend, born on the same day and same year as me, who was also "Catherine."  My peers decided it would be much too confusing to have two of us, and thus I should henceforth be called "Katie."

Fast-forward five years.  I'm head teacher at a Montessori school, and I've got all these adorable three and four years olds lisping out "Miss Kafwin."  I loved it.

Until my mother-in-law got wind of my preference, and began called me "Katherine."  She still calls me "Katherine." Always with a hard emphasis on the first syllable of "Katherine."  As in "KAtherine, I can't believe you are doing that. You should be more careful, KAtherine. KAtherine, isn't it high time for these young'uns to have a nap? KAtherine, haven't you heard that ultrasounds cause autism? KAtherine, why aren't you staying for dinner?"

And it was this experience which gave me a renewed appreciation of the name I was called from childhood.

You may call me "Katie."  It's really not so bad after all.

(To my knowledge, my mother-in-law has not yet discovered that I blog. If she does, the following verse may prove appropos):
"King David heard all this, and was furious." 2 Samuel 13:21

P.S. My husband mentioned that the above could be considered "harsh." Oh dear. Then ignore last verse. Don't worry, I will fix it! Here's what I meant to say:
"Knower of the hearts of all [is the Lord]." Acts 1:24


  1. And the story of her name goes on! Few people can lay claim to a constantly evolving name, and you are one of them. I'm sure your mother-in-law loves you and your name!

    Have a good Holy Week.

  2. Nobody seems to think how annoying having your name sung to you can be, especially if it is repeatedly. Even another song which seems apropos can be annoying. My poor sister-in-law can no longer stand "Brown-Eyed Girl" for just that reason. The one exception: In 7th grade the cute boy who sat behind me used to sing "Christine, sixteen" to me during class. That wasn't annoying mostly because I appreciated the attention & he sang other stuff too. Far too much. Really, I don't know how I learned anything in 7th grade since much of the 2nd half of that year's memories are of him singing and talking to me.