I really didn’t like my name when I was younger. I didn’t want to be different. I wished my name was Mary or Lisa or Karen, really any other name that someone else had. There were just not other Emily’s my age, or very few and I rarely encountered the others. As I got older I grew out of that nonsense and I have been happy to be an Emily. My dad had a bunch of stories he would tell people as my brother and I were growing up.
One of them was about how I got my name. He always said that I was named after a pet chicken that he had as a young boy. He actually had two pet chickens, but the other one was named vonRunstadt and he didn’t think that would be the best choice for me. When I was young I would turn to my mom and ask her if this was true and she always said no and tell me that she always liked the name Emily and it just fit when I was born.
In the late 70’s I went to Camp Menogyn in the very NE corner of Minnesota. It was basically a camp for wilderness outings and I went for 2 weeks. I grew up around water and boats of all sorts, but they started out everyone on the same level by teaching you the basics; getting in and out of your canoe, proper paddling and portaging. I can’t remember how long we were out on our “outing.” I think it was 9-10 days. What does this all have to do with my name? The group I was with shared a cabin with another group and there was an “Emily” in that other group. The similarities were uncanny. We both had blond hair, brown eyes, black eyebrows and came with our clothes packed in a green army duffel bags. Cool, huh?!
You know when you hear your name you have that reflex to turn in the direction that you heard it. I knew when I heard my name called, it was in fact, directed at me, and I would turn. Then came the mid-90’s and Emily started gaining popularity. I would be standing in the line at the grocery store and hear, “Emily stop that!” or “Emily come here!” For that brief second, I would start to turn, hearing my name and then quickly realize it wasn’t aimed at me. It took me a while to adjust to that.
As the years went on, I didn’t run into many other Emily’s my age. Then when we lived in Kenya and I met another Emily. She was the girlfriend of a friend of ours and the only thing we had in common (other than our wonderful personalities) was our name. She was a native to Kenya, came from the Kikuyu tribe and she was a few years younger than I was. When we got together, everyone called us “Double Trouble!” I can’t remember her given name, but Emily was the name she went by.
My next “Emily” encounter was in Palm Springs. I had started to do bead work and was invited to join some of the ladies who got together and beaded on Wednesday nights. I was the 2nd Emily to that group. This “Emily” was a bit older than I was and a wonderful, full of energy, red-head! How were we going to keep us straight? The other Emily was there first, so she was “Emily,” and I quickly became E2 or Emily #2 or Emi. I had been called “Aunty Em” in junior high, because those adolescent boys just didn’t know how to walk right up to you and actually talk to you; they had to come up with some way to tease you I guess (Aunty Em, Aunty Em.) My brother has called me “Em” or “E” along with some other 7-year old clever taunting rhymes that I just can’t remember right now. He was probably just getting back at me for calling him “Wayne the Pain,” or something equally as clever from me I am sure. A few of my friends have called me “Emma”, so now E2, Emily #2 and Emi are added to the nicknames.
When I would have my booth set up and was selling the beaded jewelry I made I would encountered many little (younger) Emily’s. When I found out their name was Emily I would look at them and ask them with astonishment, “Is your name Emily?” and I would usually get the non-verbal acknowledge of a nod. I would then say “your kidding, MY name is Emily!” and I would stick out my hand and say, “nice to meet you Emily!” They would usually smile and giggle and shake my hand.
Fast forward and I know live in South Texas. I have joined a small garden club in the town I am in and wouldn’t you know there is an Emily there too. She is a few years older than me and she has been a joy to meet and fun to talk with. But here we go again with the nick names. Somehow I kept “Emily” and she went with “Emi.”
Now I find myself here at NDIN and as you may already know… yup… there is another Emily! It has been fun running into a few more Emily’s closer to my age. I am still glad to be named Emily and I have had fun meeting other Emily’s along the way.
Recently I was telling my dad’s version of how I got my name, explaining about his two pet chickens and my God Parents where listening as I told the story. As I finished the story my God Mother looked at My God Father with a look of shock and horror and then they both started to chuckle. I asked them what was so funny and she explained to me that they have known this story since before I was born and made a pact to never tell it to me. Never in a million years would they have guessed that I already knew it.
You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.