Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Meet E

Again. It has happened again. A small simple letter switch because some well-meaning individual thinks the first "e" in my name is a typo and should be an "i". I always tell people it's with an "e" not an "i" and then I proceed to spell it for them: M-e-c-h-e-l-l-e. No, no, not one "l", two "l's" but with an "e" and not an "i".

The trouble started early. When I was in kindergarten I discovered that you could spell Mechelle with an "i" as opposed to an "e" so quite frequently I would switch them up. I had the coolest name! You could spell it two ways! Then somewhere in between taking a test with a purple crayon in the room across the hall and watching the Letter People on t.v. there was a conversation between my mom and the teacher. I vaguely remember it, but it was regarding my confusion about my identity because I kept changing the spelling of my name. From then on I was discouraged from spelling it the wrong way. No more cool name for me.

I made it though elementary and middle school where teachers were always double checking the accuracy of my name spelling on the first day of class. And it was just assumed that I would never be able to own any of those personalized items that were all the rage with my real name on them. Like the colored rulers or pencils that had Jennifer in fancy letters. Nope. I do remember one Christmas I found a red ruler in my stocking with MECHELLE on it and I was so excited that the spelling must be common enough to delegate the use on other such items. Upon closer inspection I realized my mom had taken black marker and added lines to the I. The fact that you could not find the spelling of my name on such items caused my paternal grandmother such angst that she took to buying me things that had Shelly on them. In fact, I wonder if some of her dislike for my mother started with the odd-spelling her first granddaughter's name. Geez, she couldn't find anything made out of 14k gold with that spelling on it! With disappointment in hand she bought me a gold chain with the letters S-h-e-l-l-y hanging from it. Thankfully the name never took and that grandma was the only one who called me that.

In high school I kept the "e" and dropped an "l". Again, with teachers making sure The Book was correct in regard to my first name.

College was back to two "l's" and acceptance of the "e". Most professors in the early years didn't care but as the classes got smaller I started receiving the verification question once again.

The best job I ever had in college I almost didn't get an interview for because my future boss thought I had a typo in the heading of my resume. He told me this after he hired me and we had a working relationship.

Skip forward to today where I received a phone call from my doctor's office because the labs I had drawn on August 22nd were still not in the system. In fact the lab claimed my last blood draw at their facility was March 08. I'm quite a regular there these days so I knew something was not right but it never entered my mind that the old "i" got put in place of the "e" and my second personality was under scrutiny and not my real one. I'm thinking if the results are less than desirable I will have them treat that woman with the "i" instead of the "e" and I'll go about my regular life, maybe change my name to Shelly if I have to.


Erin the Librarian said...

Sometimes I think people with common names with a strange spelling have it a lot harder than people with uncommon names.

meredith said...

I agree with Erin. And I can feel your pain of never having anything with your name on it! There was never anything with my name, even spelled a different way. And I once had a teacher (when I informed him that he had spelled my name wrong) tell me, "I didn't spell it wrong, you do!"

meredith said...

Oh I forgot to say: The one thing you can truly blame your parents for is your name! So when people tell me they like my name I say, "My mother thanks you".

Lisa Greenfelder said...

You are sooo not a Shelly. I'm just saying. Don't forget, you can get anything you want embroidered at Bean with any spelling you pick. I think they even know you areound town as "the Mechelle with all e's" :)

Mary Stoinski said...

If you ever asked me to call you "Shelly," I'd have to kill you.

Carol said...

Agreeing with Lisa. You are no Shelly.

I will always remember how to spell your name by singing "Michelle" by the Beatles in my head.

"MEEEE-Chell, ma belle, sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble."

Mechelle said...

I'm actually surprise that more Michelle's are not with an "e" due to that damn Beatles song. I'm quite sure that is how I got the "e" and not the "i".

And yes, if you give your kid a normal name please spell it normal, as for the strange names everyone always asks how to spell it because they want to make sure they heard you right!