Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where Do You See A Wye In My Name?

Before I got married, I never really had any problems with people mispronouncing my name. "Mary" is pretty easy.  "Gambino" is also pretty easy.  I mean, no one ever called our home and asked for "Mr. GamBYEno."  It's pretty easy to say based on how it's spelled.

Okay, there was that one time in high school.   There was a guy in my science class.  He was cute, but not the brightest crayon in the box.  We sat next to each other.  That first week of school, we had to grade our science partner's papers.  He called me Mary GUMbino.  My name was printed neatly in the upper-right corner.  Of course, that was the beginning of being called Gumby all that year.  Gumbino or Gumby.  It didn't go past Sophomore year, thank God and he was the only one that called me Gumby.

When I got engaged, I was on the fence about how I felt about my name changing to my husband's name.  I loved my name.  I hated the whole hyphenated name thing.  To me, it just seemed silly.  My surname was long enough, why do that?  So, I went with the change. I practiced signing and saying what would be my new name over and over and while it looked and sounded great, my heart broke knowing I would never be using my maiden name ever again.

I decided to do a little name re-arrangement.  I was talking to my aunt (who is also my Godmother) about this very subject one day, and she happily told me that I could still use my name.

"Do what I did;  start using your maiden name as your middle name.  If you do that for a long time, it'll become legal."  Well, I don't know about that, but I did it.  I may do it legally, someday.  My name has a story.  When I was born, (and my folks argued about this for as long as I can remember) my mother wanted my first name to read, "Maryfrances (no middle name) Gambino"  My father did not.  He wanted "Frances" to be separate and wanted it to be my middle name.  Well, he won.  The hospital assumed my mother made an error and left the middle name area blank.  The hospital put "Frances" in that spot.  So, here I am.

I'm rambling... but I'm happy that you're still reading.

Anyway.  I got married and took the name Botkin.  I did come around and eventually loved my new surname.

And then we had kids.  And those kids would get sick.  And those kids were now in the waiting room at their pediatrician's office, and suddenly our name changed.

"Aaron Boykin?  And Alexander Boykin.  Come with me."

Eh?  Say again?  Now, I knew they she was referring to us; my children.  An honest mistake.  Once back in the room I politely corrected her.

Then the phone calls.  "May I speak to Mary Boykin, please?"  Again, most likely a simple mistake.
"That's BoTkin." I'd politely correct.

Now, being a family of four, we had bills to pay.  We still have bills to pay.  Every single collector that called "May I please speak to Robert Boykin?"  Telemarketers (before the Do Not Call list), "Is this the Boykin residence?"

I would just shake my head.

Years later, I would become very ill and began seeing a plethora of different doctors, specialists, and numerous nurses at various testing facilities. Every single nurse and receptionist - and I do mean EVERY ONE - called me "Mary Boykin"  I'm screaming inside my head. "WHERE on that sign in sheet do you see a Y in my last name!?"

Okay, I lie; there was that one nurse who got it right.  At Labcorp.  She said it like she knew me.  It slid off of her tongue like butter on a hot knife.  "Mary Botkin?"  Rob and I were actually speechless. It was beautiful!  Clouds parted with bright rays of gleaming sunlight as the angels sang!  I commended her. I told her why.  She was amazed. "Really?  It's so - phonetic!"  Yup.

When people call my home and ask for Robert, or Mary Boykin, I now tell them that "There is nobody here by that name." I wait.  "Oh, my apologies,"  and as I wait for them to re-say my name correctly (assuming that they are looking at whatever list they have), instead of hearing my name said correctly, they hang up!

It's become so bad that whenever someone asks me for my name, I say it like this:  "Mary BOT-kin." It's become second-nature now and  Rob laughs and mocks me.  It's truly come to that.  If I see a new doctor, or go anyplace that needs my name, chances are, they'll get it wrong. And these are educated professionals.  It's truly sad.

Which brings me to today.  My youngest son has been very ill for the past week and I have been emailing his teachers and his counselor daily with updates.  Now, I have known his counselor for years.  She is a wonderful woman and has been a great help to my son, academically, and socially.  I don't know what we would have done without her at times.

I emailed her and told her about Alex being in the emergency room last night.  Her response:

"Hello, Mrs. Boykin,"

**Bangs head against wall**

I used to want to get "Gambino" tattooed on my wrist.  I love it and miss it.  I may just have to forgo that idea go with this on my forehead, instead:


  1. OMG I hear you on the name! Beno is always being pronounced Bey-no. Like it's French or something. It's BEE-KNOW. Just like it's spelled people!

    I haven't changed my name either. When we decided to move to Japan, the name on my passport had to match the name on my visa which also had to match the name on my birth certificate. So we didn't change it. And when we came back to America, I asked Willie if he wanted me to change it now that we were back. He said not to. So I haven't.

    But now with the talk of children dancing in my head, I am thinking about changing over. But I'm undecided.

  2. Beno before; there'll be no ass-kickings after. :P

    Seriously, it'll come to you. ♥


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