While I was writing last night’s post, the Sage came in the room for a chat – which was a pleasure of course, but distracting. I quite forgot what was to have been my last example of name changing.
We were having dinner with friends, Alan and Sophie, some years ago, and her mother was about to move to a nursing home in the village. Sophie told us not to be surprised that her mother would call her Janet, she being the only person who had not accepted her change of name.
Sophie was a nurse when Alan first spotted her, and he heard another nurse refer to her as Sister Sophie Ward. He invited her on a date and, during the course of the evening, called her Sophie. As you do. Sophie explained that, at the hospital, each sister was called by the name of the ward she (probably she in each case) was in charge of, rather than by her own name. Alan mulled it over. “Actually, I think of you as Sophie. The name suits you much better than Janet.” Sophie agreed and that’s what she became. This could, of course, be one of the most charmingly romantic things one could imagine or a bit of real control-freakery, that a man choose his wife’s name. Actually, it was the former.
As for me, I quite often get called Sophie, or sometimes Chloë. Even among those who remember my name, it’s not unknown for me to be Zo or Zo-zo. A few of those who know me from here call me Zed. And, as for the name I called myself before I was two years old, it was Dodo. But the only person who ever continued with that was my mother, and that was probably an affectionate link to her oldest friend, who had similarly been unable to cope with Josephine as a baby, but with whom the nickname had stuck.