Alter ego, confidante, bosom buddy, evil twin, ally, cohort, sidekick. Candace Jo didn’t have to be the “other me” if only Sandy Jo hadn’t caved…
It all started 51 years ago when I was born a beautiful six pound, blonde-haired bundle of joy to young parents Buddy and Sandy Jo Miller. I was the second little girl; Rhea Dawn had showed up two years before and stolen the limelight as the first grandchild on both sides of each family. She was named after my mother’s sister who had passed away at just barely three weeks old.
Now remember, this is the early sixties and everyone has cute names like Kelly, Denise, Susan and Lisa Marie. My Mom is young and she is “cool”, not too long out of high school. She has a name all picked out for me and is really happy with it but it isn’t too long before she is pressured to change it and name me after her mother.
Now I have never heard where the pressure came from…I adored my grandmother and cannot imagine she would have done such a thing to me. I have always thanked God and my Lucky Charms that they did not choose her first name, Glatis. No, I did not spell it incorrectly. It is Glatis with a T and a long A. Horrible, just horrible. So yes, I am thankful I did not get Glatis Nannette. I just chuckled, and shook, when I said it. So on with the story.
Yes, Grandmother’s first name was Glatis and her middle name was Yvonne but her family called her EYE-VONE. That is a long O. Dear Lord in heaven. Glatis EYE-VONE. Thankfully most people when they saw it in print pronounced it Evonne, or Yvonne, which is how they pronounce my name, thankfully. Whew! Now, that was just the first name. It gets better.
She needed a middle name.
I had another grandmother!
Her name was Othella Kathleen. My mother spared me that night and I am not sure how it happened because actually Yvonne Kathleen might not have been too bad now that I think about it. But I dread to think what they would have done with Glatis and Othella together.
So where does Nannette come in? Well, Mom had a friend who had a French poodle…you think I’m making this story up? The poodle’s name? Nannette.
All four of us siblings were named after relatives. Rhea after our great aunt, me after my grandmother and then there were my brothers, J.D. and G.B. The first grandson to come along was named after my mother’s father, James Lloyd and my dad, Burlen Dean, ending up with the coolest name ever in 1963; James Dean.
My youngest brother wasn’t so lucky. He was named after my dad’s father, Glanferd Burlen, which was also my dad’s first name. Thankfully they went with the initials!
So that’s where I came from, but I have digressed from my alter ego. It wasn’t until about ten years or so ago that my mother told me the story of Candace Jo. She loved the name and wanted to give it to me so badly and she even loved the nickname “Candy Jo”. Since her middle name was Jo, she wanted to give me that, but felt bad because she had named Rhea after her sister and thought she should name me after her mother.
So Candace Jo was laid aside and I was burdened for the rest of my life with the two names that never went together at all…Yvonne Nannette.
When she told me the story I just couldn’t believe I missed out on such an adorable name! I had inherited my Grandma Yvonne’s ski slope nose and Grandma Othella’s extra-wide hips, why couldn’t I at least have ended up with a sexy name like Candace? I really made a big deal out of it and Mom and The Sweetheart started calling me Candace Jo every chance they got.
Every birthday that came along Mom addressed my card with the “name I never had”, making up for all of those years I missed out. A name change seemed a little extreme at 50+ years of age so instead I started writing under the name occasionally on WordPress and she shows up sometimes whenever she takes a notion. It’s all in good fun.
We all have our unusual family names and quirks, but that’s what makes us unique. One day I’ll write about our uncle, Pleasant Green Meadows….you can’t make stuff like that up!