Monday, May 02, 2016

What's in a name

"Do you prefer Donna or Donna-Lane?" a friend of many years asked Sunday. She always called me Donna.

My name is Donna(hyphen) Lane, one name, not two, Donna-Lane.

My maiden name was Boudreau.

I kept my married name Nelson both to have the same as my daughter and I loved the alliteration. On my recent marriage I also kept Nelson partially because of the work of changing all the necessary documents.

Throughout my childhood I was called Donna-Lane. I would have loved a nickname but no one wanted to call me Donnie.

Then it all went south.

People dropped the Lane.

People sometimes moved the hyphen after I married so it was Lane-Nelson. At Polaroid when I gave the communications director articles that would have my byline he repeatedly moved my hyphen from Donna-Lane to Lane-Nelson. When I asked him why, he told me "It's your name."

"No it isn't," I said.

"Yes, it is," he said.

I am not an expert on a lot of things, but my name is one thing I do know.

Many times when I've registered for something, the traveling hyphen continues to wander. If people can't find me under N, there's a 99.9% chance they will under L.

For years working at Digital Credit Union, I had a number of nicknames such as Donda, Donda-Duck and Fraz (after I permed my hair) from my boss who bestowed nicknames on staff.

When I moved overseas I asked to be called D-L and that will always be my favorite, but interestingly, some people will tell me they don't like that and call me Donna-Lane. I don't tell them that I don't like their preference such as Bob and insist on calling them Roberto or even Fred.

Because in Switzerland and France you never really lose your maiden name on certain documents I've become Donna-Lane Boudreau-Nelson, a double hyphen and I've joked if I married a man with a hyphen in his last name, I could have three.

My first few days at IEC for some reason I was called Carol, but that went away fairly quickly. I have no idea why.

D-L is still used by my writing friends and former Interskill employees. It is the penname on my novels.

Donna-Lane is used by my former housemates, my husband and friends from childhood and miscellaneous times in my life.

Donna is used more by the people in Argelès, because my friend Barbara kept introducing me as Donna.

It is good I do not have an identity issues.

At this point in my life, I am happy friends who call me to do things, to share things.

D-L, Donna-Lane, Donna, Donna Duck, Donda, Fraz

1 comment:

Maria said...

Having a compound name, myself, I understand. I am officially Maria del Carmen. My parents and relatives all call me Maricarmen. At school and outside our home everyone called me Maria. Since moving here, people call me Maricarmen, Maria, Mari, Mar, Carmen, Carmela, and an occasional Maria del Carmen.