{Moving Up In the World}

This post brought to you by the letter “S.”

The Letter SImage from here.

Before I got married, my last name started with “S.”  I was Camille S—, and I was deliriously happy to be her.  (Well, except for the phase in 5th grade during which I wanted everyone to call me Kara, or later in 6th grade when I insisted I was Cammie.  Those were just growing stages.  Once I “matured” [I use the word loosely], I learned to embrace my name, and I have ever since.)

I have many theories on names, like which first names sound good with certain last names, the ideal number of syllables a person’s name ought to contain, etc.  My theories vary from person to person, and they’re quite complex, so let’s not delve that way today.  I can’t take “complex” right now.

Instead, let’s just talk about moving up in the world.  Even though I was happy to be Camille S—, there was always a quiet longing in my heart to be earlier in the alphabet.  I thought of it as upward motion.  Because really, “S” might as well be “Z.”  There are only a handful of letters in the alphabet that follow the letter “S,” and most of them are uncommon first letters of American surnames.  “T”s are fairly common, but how many “U”s do you know?  And “V”s?  Not many, I’d venture to guess.  Of course, “W” is pretty widespread (White, Worthen, Walker), but “X?”  Not really.  Nor “Y,” nor “Z.”  So you see, of the seven letters following S, only two are very abundant last name letters.  Thus, on an average attendance sheet, my name was very near the bottom of the list.  Always last to be called, that was me.  I was happy to be Camille S—, and couldn’t imagine being anyone else, but I didn’t like being called last all the time.  My plight was a sorry one, to be sure.

My sister took matters into her own hands and saw to it that she married an “A.”  Having a first name that already starts with A, she instantly became A. A., thus catapulting herself to the top of every sign-in sheet and telephone book for the rest of her days.  Can’t get more upwardly mobile than that, eh, sis?  (She’s the favourite child.  {Obviously.})

{I talk about our last name as though it is some sort of plague—I don’t mean to make my dear old dad feel bad.  “S—” is a great name, Dad—a strong, sturdy, dependable name.  Truly. If you must know, I haven’t even officially changed any of my legal papers over to Poor Kyle’s last name, so, for all intents and purposes, I’m still Camille S—.  Even my Facebook™ account still says so.  See there?  Don’t feel bad.}

the-letter-fImage from here.

Anyway, you’d better believe that Poor Kyle’s last name was a consideration when I was deciding whether to marry him.  I would become Camille F—, which, in my opinion, was a bonus.  I’d be marrying up in the world. Moreover, according to my grandma, PK’s last name sounded “fancy.”  Even now, she can never remember what it is, so she always calls us “the Worthingtons.”

Every time I correct her, her defense is the same: “Well, I knew it was something fancy, like Worthington.”

Worthington is a fancy name, to be sure, but it’s a good thing it’s not my name, because that would have been a step down for me.  I’m all about “upward and onward.”  We mustn’t be regressing now, or we’d never get anywhere.

My mom talks about how she almost decided against marrying my dad, just because she’d have to move from L. down to S.  I guess she got over it, though, and it’s a good thing, because if she hadn’t, then where would I be?

Come to think of it, I’d be lost without a lot of things my mother taught me…

Are you happy with your last name initial?  Or do you intend to become upwardly mobile someday?  Or did you sacrifice your place in Roll Call for a true love with a later letter last name?  I want to hear all about it, please.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in change, It's All Good, looking back, Married Life, oh brother what next, self-actualisation. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to {Moving Up In the World}

  1. kristy says:

    I am an S too, before and after marriage. So I definitely know what you are talking about when you were last in everything in school. I was glad to keep my S initial though because at least I still have the same initials if I don’t have the same last name.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Mill. Yes, I am pretty much first to be called now. But moving up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Because my first name starts with A, I’m usually at the top of people’s contact list in their phones. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten calls from various people on accident because my name was the first in their phonebook. Little Man just did it Saturday, in fact. He got Clint’s phone unlocked and called me all before Clint even noticed. Smart kid, that one.

    Anyway, I am happy to be an A, but a little part of me still wishes I had married an S. I always thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to have initials that spelled A.S.S. Dang Clint.

  3. anna says:

    I was an M… so no matter if role was called top to bottom or bottom to top, I was in the middle. Now I’m a P… not much change. But, I will say, I do not like my last name now. My maiden name was cool and it didn’t matter to me what it started with. Plus, M is a much prettier letter than P.

    I’ve thought lots about this stuff. But I never would’ve thought to blog about it. And had I done so, it certainly wouldn’t have been entertaining!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I went from S to B and was quite thrilled.

  5. Cyndi says:

    So glad to know I’m not the only one who contemplates these things ;-) I was a W, how much worse could it get, right? Now a Y! The only good thing is that sometimes peole do take pity and go backward – they are both common names that get misspelled all the time…..not sure how you manage a ‘fancy’ name, but I know PK is worth it! Happy week

  6. Holly Decker says:

    you see how i have copied you? i hate copying people. but i did it just the same.

    um, okay, on to the subject of last names. for me, i have always loved my first name. even my middle name was fabulous. but Richardson… ugh. so plain. so long. so… unromantic. (call me anne of green gables…)

    so i dreamed of being a Holly Wood. a Holly Berry. a Holly Hobbie. a Holly Jolly. a Holly with anything with H as the last name… because Holly Hunter or Holly Hansen or Holly Hardy is so much more delightful than a Richardson. eck.

    but, upon finding Jeffrey… and knowing i would be a Decker, i was happy to accomplish at least ONE of my goals… which was undoubtedly that my last name would be SHORTER. and that was what helped me give up my previous Richardson.
    i mean, you and i, coming from a family of all girls, we know the trauma of ridding ourselves of the “Family Name”… and lets be honest, it was traumatic for me to officially and legally change my name from Richardson to Decker. but knowing that i dont have to spell out that nasty and ever long last name when signing receipts and such… its just so refreshing.
    indeed i must say… i have moved up indeed.

  7. Katie says:

    I went from a T- to a B- when I married my husband and I thought it was the greatest thing ever!

    The only problem is that our last name is really, really common (especially in our small hometown). We might as well be the Smiths. So whenever I call my doctor’s office or the bank or anywhere where last names are really important, it takes them about an hour to dive through all the same last names. Ugh! I’m so impatient!

  8. Geneva says:

    I went from having a full name with total flair to Anderson. Geneva Castillo has just the perfect rhythm to it. Anderson was a bit of a down grade. So dull and over used.

    And I love you new site decor. So happy!

  9. Whitney says:

    I went from a D to a V. Talk about being at the end of every roll call list. But hey, How many V names do you know. I like my last name and my maiden name. Both went very well with my first name. Sometimes people have last names and it just doesnt work with their first. It seems awkward. Ive had people my last name now makes me sound like I should be a professional singer or something. I dont know maybe it will happen.

  10. ann says:

    Cute post. I know your end of the alphabet woes. I was a W. I hated that I was at the end of everything!
    Now I am a proud H. I did always worry that would happen if I fell in love with a man with a terrible last name?? My daughter has a little boy in her class with the last name Gassman and he is teased so bad. I feel for the poor boy.

  11. Mary A says:

    I win. I went from Zu—- to A. Nothing can beat that one.

  12. HeatherPride says:

    My maiden name was Stanley, so I totally understand where you’re coming from! I married a K and that did move me up on the sign-in sheets, but it’s a name that everyone mispronounces and no one spells it correctly so it constantly bugs me. I wish I had never changed my name. Even though I thought I would not want to have a different last name as my children, I feel like I was stripped of my identity and I regret it. Dang.

  13. Lindsay says:

    camille, i almost had a heart attack when i started reading this, because just last night i was thinking about my new (married) last name…and how it’s exactly the same amount of letters as my first name. I kinda miss my maiden name. But then i got to thinking, ‘you know who’s last name i really like…Camille’s. I think i should tell her that tomorrow. She’d appreciate something as random as that.’
    I swear to you, those exact thoughts crossed my mind. So imagine my surprise when i wake up to find this post! Yeah, i will be in shock for days.
    Anyway, being a W in the past was always a bit of a sore spot for me. Not because i minded being at the end of all the lines or roll calls, but because there was ALWAYS another lindsay, and she got to just go by her first name. Somehow i always got stuck with “Lindsay-double-you”. Not Lindsay White, just the W.
    Hideous. Absolutely wretched.
    I’m glad I like writing the letter S now though. I always liked the way that letter looked.

  14. I went from an N to an M. Destined for mediocrity.

  15. Alicia says:

    You may not believe this, but I was thinking about this very subject earlier today (or was it yesterday?). I moved from an N to a K when I got married, and my sister moved from an N to an F, so obviously she moved up more, but I’m not as bitter as I could be. (Okay, I’m really not bitter at all.) But then our poor brother just has to stay an N forever, and will always be last in the family. Sad times.

    Anyway, I’m glad I got to move up in the world. I would have really had a hard time marrying someone lower in the alphabet, no matter how great the guy. I’m totally with you on this one.

    P.S. I remember (somehow, somewhere) seeing your married name before, and I agree it is very fancy and beautiful. Good work.

  16. I’ve always been smack dab in the middle.
    And to be perfectly honest…I’m kind of sick of it….
    But as for moving….
    I think I’d like to move down……
    For many reasons, not the least of which is that my crush of the week’s last name JUST SO HAPPENS to start with S.
    Go figure.

  17. Jacque says:

    I am the opposite from you. I went from a Ha- to a Tu-. I never thought about it till today while reading your post but moving down did kinda make me a little sad. However, I know that I will always be on the LAST page of every attendance sheet. And with that, I think I can find some happiness. (Plus I absolutely am madly in love with my husband, which doesn’t hurt.)

  18. sarah says:

    I loved my maiden name because my initials were SSS. How awesome is that?! I didn’t care so much about attendance sheets and so forth. No biggie. It was only annoying when all my friends were at the beginning of the alphabet and I was stuck at the end by myself. I was sad to go from S to N because my coolness of triple S dissapeared. But, as you did point out long ago, my new name sounds like a country singer which is AWESOME by me. Too bad that’ll never happen.

  19. Holly Decker says:

    i didnt get your nice comment… so i will just imagine its greatness :)

  20. Granamama says:

    What about other names????? Wendy L. Evans and Lara Summers were mine!

    REMEMBER WHEN WE PUT OUR PICTURES IN COSTCO IN THE ZZZZ’S???? TOO MANY SSSS’S IN THE WORLD.

    Te amo,
    Mamamama

  21. J.A.N. says:

    i love my favourite personal 3word fullname. jeffreyallannaylor.
    the name chooser was though likely on some type of mind influence. you know what i mean?

  22. kate lines says:

    so i’m one of those ‘don’t like pink’ girls. you see, i am red. all the time. a constant sunburn. i used to wear it until someone called me a giant gala apple. (no lie, they used the word giant.)
    but i have to say, i like your look and i bought a rockin’ pink dress and goodwill this weekend. so with the help of goodwill (and you) i think i might make a pink comeback! (i’ve embraced my redness.)

  23. Joel Y. says:

    Whine, whine! I was ALWAYS last… You get over it when it doesn’t matter anymore.

  24. Carmen says:

    I have never thought about this subject at all. I always knew my last name would change and if I loved the guy, why did it matter what my last name was? Those are just my thoughts though. So yes, I ‘moved’ up in the world. Pitcher to Lowry. Now, if you want to talk about my first name, I have always had a love for it. So if I was asked to change my first name, I would have a lot more thinking and contemplating to do, a lot more, since I didn’t think a second about my last name being changed.

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