Contrary to what most people think I grew up in Kansas. We lived in a primarily African American neighborhood with a smattering of similarly poor and struggling faces of varying races.
I hated my name. Really hated it. I didn’t care about my brothers’ names because girls are different than boys and I didn’t bother to compare my names to theirs. My sisters were a different matter.
We went to Catholic school where most of the students had more money so even the uniform could not disguise our poverty and color. Lots of Irish and Italians, all with names that either fit their ethnicity or were at least a patron saint.
Debbie, Diane, and Patricia all had such normal names. Turns out I was named for a nun at the hospital. My mom got such good care from her she asked about her birth name and that was that.
Until the fourth grade, I wanted to change my name. I tried to use my middle name, but in a Catholic school, there are a lot of girls named Theresa. In my first-grade class, we had a Theresa and a Tess. For some bizarre reason, I started calling myself Sally. Do I look like a Sally? I’m glad that moniker didn’t stick.
In the fourth grade, I found out that Carmen was from the Latin root from which we get the words choir and chorus. I loved singing and knowing that my name was musical made it an acceptable name.
Today is National Name Yourself Day. If you could change your name, even for just one day, what name would you choose? I can tell you I sure would not change it to Sally! With my looks and my name, I do get people speaking to me in Spanish in Florida, California, and New York. Living in Brazil people were surprised my name was Carmen. Everyone was named Carmen, Theresa, or Maria along with a string of other names and always called by like the third or fourth name in the list. It was weird to me.
I like my name now. I think it suits me, though I am certainly not holy and nun-like. We chose Coconut because my grandson told us we had to use it because we moved here from Hawaii. I wanted to make an almost-six-year-old little boy happy so, Coconut it was. I’ll name the next dog we adopt and she will not be named after any nun in my past.
When we rescue and adopt a dog we get to change their names. And there are so many names out there. Is it okay to rename a dog? How do you choose? We’d love to hear your stories on how you decided on your dog’s name. Pictures and stories welcome. We can’t wait to hear about the significance of your dog’s name. This is my most favorite picture of my little guy.
Most of our dogs come to us either with no name or something that our staff has chosen. They are ready for a new name to go with their new families. We’ll help you choose a name when you adopt your new dog. Here’s a link that might help, too.