Articles

Names are Important

By Karen J Mossman

In an issue of Writing New, Lizzie Enfield wrote under Writing Exercises, ‘What’s In A Name.’ So this got me thinking about my own.

Years ago I asked my parents why they chose my name for me and was told that Kathleen, my mother’s name in Danish is Karen and Karen in Danish is Kathleen. So for the benefit of this article, I googled it to see if there was any truth there.

I came up with the following from Wikipedia, Kathleen or Cathleen, anglicised form of the Irish form Caitlin. The form Karen, of Danish origin, is often considered an independent name in English.

Far from conclusive, I suppose they saw something and thought the name had an association with Kathleen and chose it. 

As a teenager, I shortened it to Kaz as this looked and sounded cool. It looked especially good next to a boy’s name.

I always had large eyes, particularly when I was younger and when my face was a lot slimmer. At school I had two nicknames, neither of which I liked. Two nasty girls insisted on calling me Popeyes and the other was Nuts. I ignored Popeyes and eventually they stopped. As for Nuts, there was no getting away from that one. My initials were KP, a popular salted peanut snack.

I eventually married, and the Internet arrived, and user names became popular. I used my nickname and part of my surname because it had a ring to it. Kazzmoss. I added an extra z to match it with the double S on the end.

When my daughter arrived, we named her Deborah Jane, which is what my Mum came up with, and my middle name. Although, I was convinced I was having a boy, and in those days one didn’t find out the sex until the baby was born. Within three weeks we had shortened it to Debbie. My in-laws didn’t like it and continued to call her Deborah. There weren’t that many Debbie’s in 1984, and I wanted my daughter to have a unique name. By the time she had reached her 20s, her name was shortened again and most people, including me, call her Debs.

In 1986, when my son came along, I wanted a name that couldn’t be shortened, and so we named him Ian. Mum hated the name and told me she would call him Boy. Or course she never, and he soon became his name.

At infant school he joined a gang of boys and told me they were called –  Daz, Diz, Is, and Waz. Ther shortened version of their names. Daniel, Darren, Ian and Warren. Then in secondary school his nickname became Mossy, like his Dad before him. This somehow changed again, and he was known as Moose. That name stuck, and his nieces and nephews always call him Uncle Moose. I will not call him anything but Ian!.

 

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