Posted by: bourbonmama | 18/03/2009

WBW #11: Mary Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

I’ve mentioned it here before. I used to be Mary, now I’m Caroline. I’ve been Caroline for about four years, give or take. No, I didn’t go down to the courthouse and legally change my name, I’m not that crazy. Caroline is my middle name, so I guess technically, I am still the Mary. (“I’m the Mary, you’re the Rhoda!” “Whatever, you’re the Rhoda, you’re the Jewish one!” “No, cutenesswise I’m the Mary, everybody knows I’m the cuter one!”–Best. Movie. Ever.) (BTW, I just wasted about 30 minutes watching it on youtube–I am such a dork) So, anyway, being the Mary was not all it was cracked up to be. I have hated my name ever since I was able to form an opinion about it. It’s an old lady name. No one my age was named Mary. Plus, I felt a little left out in my family. Everyone in my family, aside from me and the twins, who have last names as middle names, is called by their middle names. My mother says that my father started this trend, it’s apparently, an Italian thing. So it goes, middle name, middle name, middle name, first name, middle name. Knowing what I know now, I can pretty much figure out why my mother didn’t let it stick when my father started calling me Caroline, it being the name of her mother-in-law. My family tried other names, too. My grandfather called me Molly for a little while (I would have KILLED to be a Molly). But mom says that nothing else stuck. So, I was destined to be a Mary.

I tried changing my name a few times, first in the second grade, I wanted to do a simple switch, just to give it a little more pizazz–I started heading my papers with Marie Fettuccine (no my last name is not Fettuccine, but it sounds pretty close). Every single one came back with a red line through Marie and Mary written above it. This went on until my teacher told my mother to make me head my papers with the correct name (effing creativity-stifling bitch). Then, the next year, I though it would be really cool if me name rhymed (that’s OK, I’ll wait till you stop laughing), so I became, wait for it, Mary Carrie. Yeah, I know, that porn star totally stole my idea. So, that lasted maybe a couple of months.

I gave up for a couple of years. I actually missed the perfect opportunity when we moved to TN, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me. I tried again in high school. The first day of high school to be exact. The thing is, that we had one high school and one middle school, so it wasn’t like I hadn’t been going to school for three years with everyone in my homeroom. “Edwards, Sean?” “Here.” Edwards, So-and-so?” “It’s Bethany. Here.” “Fettuccine, Mary?” “It’s Mary Caroline.” Thirty-five teenagers start laughing, my friend Brooke looks at me and says, “What? You tryin‘ ta change yer name er sumthin?” (I’m not making fun of her, that’s just the way we sound when we talk–I want you to get the full effect, here) (effect or affect? I’m going with effect)I am mortified, needless to say, the rest of the day when my name was called, I just said, “Here.” And, I was stuck with Mary for a while longer.
I missed another great opportunity when I moved back to KY after the Big Breakup (that is another WBW, or five, stay tuned). I guess my head was still spinning and there was so much changing already, I kinda needed my name to hold on to a piece of who I was. In 2004, I decided, once and for all, I was going to shed the horrible excuse for a name. I had recently cut ties with some people and was fed up with my job, looking for a new one. I was determined. There have been many times in my life where I become really gung ho about something when I first start it, but after the newness wears off, I lose interest. So, everyone expected that to happen this time, especially since when asked why, all I could come up with was “‘Cuz I wanna.” Until I went to job interviews as Caroline. And I came up with a better reason as to why the potential employer would have to ask about Mary and not Caroline that didn’t make me sound like a complete lunatic. Philip’s last name rhymes with Mary (and Carrie). So, I would tell my potential employer that I was changing my name now, so when we do get married, I wont have a rhyming name, like Julia Gulia ( have spent too much time watching movies made in the 90’s about the 80’s). Anyway. It’s a good joke and it worked, I got a job, as Caroline.

It took about a year to really get used to it. For a couple of months, I sometimes forgot to answer to it sometimes. And if I was really concentrating, I would only answer to Mary. It took Philip about six months to stop calling me Mary. My family still does, I don’t expect them to ever stop. My dad sometimes calls me Caroline on my answering machine (and it’s weird), but never in person. Up until about two years ago, I turned my head no matter which name I heard. It was a strange adjustment, just changing my name all of the sudden. I would definitely do it again, only probably during one of the moves, when I wouldn’t have to do a bunch of explaining.

So there you have it, how I went from Mary to Caroline. The funny thing is that after all that, all the questions, all the Julia Gulia jokes, I’ve decided that if and when we do get married, I’m keeping my last name, I like it, I don’t want to give it up. Besides, on all legal documents, my name would still be Mary Fairy. (Philip’s last name is so not Fairy) And, really, who would chose a rhyming name aside from a nine year old who hates her old lady name?



  1. My 12 yo is named after her great grandma. The ggmas name is Mary Sophie, but I just wanted Sophie, so that’s what I named her. Ggma doesn’t like the name Sophie tho, and she said “If you wanted to name her after me, why didn’t you name her Mary?”

    Seriously? Because I don’t like you…lol…I just wanted a baby girl named Sophie!

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