Two “R’s, Two “E’s”

**This post is part of Indie Ink’s Weekly Writing Challenge.  Mare was my Challenger this week. Her topic to me was “Write the story of your or your character’s name.”  I in turn challenged Disease .**

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My name is Sherree. The name is french, I’m not. Please note that there are two “R’s” and two “E’s” in my name. There are no “I’s” or “Y’s”. It is not pronounced “Sherry.” Thinking phonetically, it would be “Suree.” Considering the inspiration, it should have been “Cherie.”

I am the eldest of three girls. I have the “unique” name, if you will. My sisters have everyday normal names that are easy to say and spell. They don’t have to worry about people mucking up the pronunciation or dropping letters. Lucky them. *sigh*

My parents lived together out of necessity, not exactly love. They were young, did what young folks do when they “think” they’re in love and had to get married. The times back then didn’t allow them to live together. She was pregnant (but you knew that, right?).

In preparing for the birth, I imagine the “name” discussion. I do know if I had been born a boy, my name would have been “Stewart.” My mother told me that.  Although I’m not exactly sure how it would’ve been spelled, I do know that being called “Stewie” or some such thing growing up would have been terribly painful. Did I mention that I really don’t like that name? I don’t, and I mean no offense to those men who carry that name with them. It took them about five minutes to come up with that name. (Well, not exactly five minutes, but it didn’t take much discussion, from what I understand).

Apparently the quest for a name for a girl was a bit more of a challenge. Not content with the “1000 Names for your New Baby” book, they pursued other avenues to pick a name for their child, if “it” turned out to be a “she.”

Believe it or not, they turned to past romances in their lives for inspiration. Really? Who does that? My parents. “Yep, a couple in love”, (she says sarcastically).

It seems my father had the more interesting romantic background. Of course he did – he had been in the Navy. He had “been” places, “saw” things, and had “more” relationships. It brings new meaning to “ship in every port” for me.

Somewhere in his travels, my father made a stop in France. I love France, I’ve been there. The food, the clothes, the architecture, and the countryside are fabulous. The people, not so much. (That’s a story for another time.)

Apparently, the inspiration for my name lived in France. I have no clue who she was, what she did or where she actually lived. All I know is that my dad had some sort of romance with a woman whilst in France and that’s how the talk of my name began. For all I know, my inspiration might have been a courtesan (I’m being polite here) or a very nice young woman.

I can’t imagine the discussion between my parents (oh to be a fly on THAT wall), but do know that somehow my father had his way with the name and between the two of them, they came up with the spelling.

In an effort to be more unique (apparently Cherie wasn’t unique enough back then), they butchered the name Sherry. They wanted the french pronunciation, but not the traditional spelling. So, they dropped the Y and added two more “e’s.” Sherry became Sherree. There is an accent over the “ree,” but I’ve never used it. A bit too pretentious for me — to be honest.

I sometimes think first time parents want to make a statement when they name their first child, boy or girl. When my mother was pregnant with me, the most popular names for girls were Deborah, Mary, Susan, Patricia, and Debra. In looking at the most popular names for boys, Stewart doesn’t even make the list (oh so glad I’m a girl!).

When looking at the girl names, you really can’t make a statement with any of those. So, in an effort to be different (I’m sure they thought they were oh so clever), they gave me a name that when looked at, people would more often than not pronounce (and spell) as “Sherry,” until I put my foot down in junior high school.  Even today, people don’t see “Sherree,” they see “Sherry.” It just curls my eyelashes.

When people ask me my name and how to spell it (at Starbucks, for example), I tell them “Sherree, spell it anyway you’d like.” It’s easier that way.

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16 thoughts on “Two “R’s, Two “E’s”

  1. Pingback: The Problem with Social Media Best-of Lists

  2. This is a great “what’s in a name” story. As parents, we struggled finding the “right” names for our kids. A name carries such power, (does it not?) it opens (and closes?) doors, it shapes and directs an identity. But how will we know who our children will be until long after they’ve worn their names? And so we settle for the names we like to hear and the emotions they evoke in us, the words that bring us closer to the darlings of our hearts. A very interesting prompt and a great response. Nice job.
    – Karla

    • I feel for the parents, I do. Nine times out of ten, they get it perfectly. It’s that “one” time that sometimes makes you wonder “what were they thinking?” I really don’t have a problem with my name, just the way it’s spelled 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words.

  3. I liked the history behind this – and your honesty about it. I would have liked to have been a fly on that wall too when your father got his way. Sherree is very nice – much better than just Cherie – and way better than Stewie!

  4. Your name does not look as though it should be pronounced Sherry. Not by a long shot. Great story! And yes, I think your idea about collecting name stories would be exciting to all.

    • Thank you…One would think by looking at my name, at the least it wouldn’t be Sherry. I am seriously considering a “where did you get your name” project for my new writing blog (that is in the works). Can you imagine the stories?

  5. Oh, I am SO calling you Stewie from now on… that is too good to pass up, lol!

    Funny story along these lines, a high school buddy was named via traffic sign. (I couldn’t make this up if I tried) Supposedly, his parents weren’t agreeing on names. They finally decided, her VERY pregnant and driving in the desert heat in Nevada, that they would take a name from the next billboard they saw. Rock City was it. Therefore Roccitte ended up being his name. No middle, either.

    The irony is they were not on their normal route. Had they been, they figured, joking, that they would have passed the Ruby Falls sign… life has a way of working things out, doesn’t it?

    Interesting story, Sher—I mean, Stewie! ;D Good job!

  6. Pingback: Indieink | The Week In Review: September 19-23

  7. My parents met during WWII, courted then married during WWII. Their first child was born during the war as well. Needless to say my dad rarely made an appearance during this 3 year span so they corresponded with each other on almost a daily basis. My dad had a nickname for my mom; “his Queen Bee”. All their discussions on what to name their baby was all done by letter.

    So naturally they decided to name their first born daughter “Honey”. By the time she was 9 years old she changed it as no one could seem to take her seriously. So, her new name? Christine. The family still calls her Honey.

    For myself, I am the seventh out of eight kids and they were running out of names. By the way,one of my sisters is named Sherry, after my mom’s favourite drink. So by the time I was born, my mom was resorting to some names of nuns she had in school. Sister Marie I am not but I was named after her. My mom told me the year she died, that my name was very close to being “Virginia”. I think it would make a good pen name if anything.

    • Ya know something, this would make a great project. “How did you get your name.” I’m betting the stories would be something else.

      Can’t blame your sister for wanting to change her name. Good for her. I have nothing against the name Sherry — it’s just not my name 🙂

      Being named after a nun isn’t too bad, is it? Btw, my MIL’s name was Virginia…it’s a good name.

  8. See, I never would have thought to call you Sherry. Sherree is much prettier (no offense to the Sherrys out there). And wow, are your parents still together? Because I think, had I been your mother, I would have killed your dad for naming you after a past paramour. 😀

    My parents named me Julia but insisted on calling me Julie. When I hit adulthood, I took Julia back because I think it’s prettier.

    • Thank you, I also think Sherree is prettier. No, my parents were divorced when I was in my early teens! You would think just by looking at the spelling of my name, that it wouldn’t be Sherry. Nope. 🙂

      Now see, with your name, I would definitely go with Julia rather than Julie. Definitely sounds prettier.

      “What’s in a name” takes on new meaning, eh?

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