Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Denise" . . . Not

My parents didn't give me a middle name. At the time they married, a woman could only have 3 names, so my mother gave up her middle name and retained her maiden name. Apparently, this was very upsetting for her. So upsetting in fact that when her daughters came along, she just didn't bother giving us middle names. (I guess she just assumed we'd get married!)

All the years of filling out paperwork, when it came to the middle name, I had nothing. At school each year, no middle name. Teachers didn't question it, but the other students did. It left me feeling awkward, left out, lacking somehow.

Sometime around middle school (junior high, back in those days) I decided to just give myself a middle name. My dad's name is Dennis, so I chose Denise (plus, I'd seen an after school special where the girl's name was Dennie). For a couple of years all my paperwork had "Denise" in that previously vacant middle name slot.

But it felt fake. Manufactured. Everybody around me knew I'd just made it up.

Eventually I dropped it, and went back to just my two names. But I clearly remember the first form I filled out after I got married. I filled in that legitimate middle name with glee.

linking up with the Writer's Workshop


  1. My name is Danica Lee Surette. Doesn't Danica Lee sound chinese? I'm french acadien!

  2. Great story. And congrats on that middle name! I say I have 4 names. Legally and on forms, my middle name s my maiden name. But I won't entirely let go of my Elizabeth!

  3. I am named after my mother's two sisters, Sandra and Diane. Then Grease came out in theaters. I've lived my entire life with strangers singing to me about my virginity because they think they are being clever and in 38 years, I would have never have heard that one before. I'm Sandra D...please stop lookin at me.

    1. Well bless your heart. But that is a hilarious story!

  4. My husband's grandfather didn't have a middle name...but at some point he gave himself one too :)

    Officially, I dropped my maiden name when I got married. But I sometimes get mail addressed to me by all 4 names, and my work license is actually in my 4 names.


Please sign up as a follower to see comment replies.