I hate to get someone’s name wrong. It’s not that I can’t recognize them. I am talking about those people with the uniquely spelled names or names that can have more than one pronunciation. For example, my aunt is named Vikki. I am sure people assume it is spelled the more common spelling of “Vicky”. My mom has a friend named Charyn. It is pronounced “Sharon”. She told my mom if she gets something in the mail addressed to Sharon, she knows it isn’t important.

I know two little girls named Moira. One is pronounced “Moy-rah” and one is pronounced Maura (rhymes with Laura). I have two customers named Jana. One is Jan-a and one is Jane-a. How about Dara? How would you say that name? The woman I know pronounces it Dare-a and not the Dar-a that I called her. How would you say Tamara? A girl I knew in grade school was named Ta-mar-a. A friend of mine is named Tamara, too. It rhymes with camera.

If that is not confusing enough, I have a customer named Kristin. She pronounces it Christine. A former neighbor was named Ava. She spelled it Eva.

What were these moms thinking? My mom gave me a simple, if not a little boring, name. You can’t spell it wrong, although one time a nurse pronounced it wrong. I only use Pamela at the doctor’s office and on financial papers. This nurse called me “Pam-mella”. Really?

I have to say that I screwed things up for my own daughters. Having a boring name myself, I wanted to give them something with flair. The result? Neither of them likes their names. They both have to spell it for people. My oldest daughter has had her name mispronounced a lot, starting at her baptism. My girls also complain that they can never find their name on a keychain or a license plate at a novelty shop.

Where do these keychain people get their list of names from? Most of the names they use were popular in the 60’s and 70’s. I can almost always find my name, but how many little girls are named Pam anymore? With all the creative spellings, if they do have a more popular name, like Caitlin, many kids cannot find their name the way they spell it.

Last names are worse. As simple as it is, I have always had to spell my maiden name. We have an extra “E” in our name so we always say, Kelley with an “ey”. I couldn’t wait to get a last name that I didn’t have to spell. My married name, Molnar, is also simple and spelled just like it sounds. (Mole-nar, rhymes with Mole-car) However, it is spelled wrong and pronounced with a variety of different vowels. For some reason, people like to change the “o” to a “u” and the “a” to an “e”. They also like to add vowels making it Molinar or Molnari. It has been pronounced as Mulner, Molner, Molar, and Mol-nair.

As a mom, I have learned from my naming errors and chose a common biblical name for my son. I can only hope that my daughters marry someone with a simple last name. After sitting here for a few minutes, I can’t come up with a last name that can only be pronounced or spelled one way. I’m glad to see that we are not alone.