When you've got a name like Carleen, finding it on things like coffee cups, keychains, t-shirts, and the like is impossible. As a kid, I remember scouring gift shops along Route 66 hoping to find something -- anything -- that had Carleen written on it. I never had any luck. My sisters didn't have problems finding kitchy little tourist gifts with their names emblazoned on them. As much as I have always loved my name, it has always been a problem.
For starters, my own grandmother consistently spelled it wrong! There aren't a whole lot of Carleens in the world to begin with and if the info that I found online is accurate, the total is 24,567. Of that number, only 6,142 of us spell our name C-A-R-L-E-E-N; the most common spelling of the name is to change the last three letters to E-N-E. So I don't really blame my grandmother for spelling my name that way; she probably figured that my mom had gotten it wrong!
Pronunciation has always been an issue with my name. In fact, it got so bad that as a kid, if I heard an authority figure call a name that ended with an "een" sound, I responded just in case they meant me. Charlene and Colleen were the two most common mistakes made with my name, but I was also called Darlene quite frequently.
Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It was my own sweet rose that inspired this week's Thursday Thirteen -- songs that have the names of family members in the title. But even better, there's a bit of poetic justice here. Even though I still can't find a coffee cup with my name on it, the Amazing Egyptian Dude now has a ringtone on his phone that sings my name -- yes, you heard me correctly -- whenever I call him! I can't embed the video here as that feature has been disabled, but I am thrilled to report that at last, at long, long last, my name has been given some awesome recognition, even if it is spelled wrong: Phil Vassar's Carlene.
1. Ode to Billy Joe: My dad's name is Billy Joe
2. My Melody of Love: My youngest sister is named Melody
3. Sherry: My middle sister is named Sherri
4. Help Me Rhonda: I have a cousin and a niece named Ronda and Randa (different spellings, same name)
5. Nola: This is the name of my very favorite aunt in the whole wide world
6. I'm Not Lisa: My step-sister is named Lisa (well, actually it's a shortened version of her name, but it's what everyone calls her)
7. Johnny Angel: Uncle Johnny is Aunt Nola's husband
8. Bette Davis Eyes: I have an aunt (by marriage) named Betty and a crazy funny mother-in-law (not mine, my sister Melody's) named Betty
9. Christine Sixteen: My mom's youngest sister is named Christine
10. Annie's Song: I have a cousin named Anne
11. Juanita: Aunt Juanita is the woman who stole my Uncle Jerry away from me when I was five
12. Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter: Mrs. Brown was my father's grandmother, my great-grandmother
13. Suzie Q: Susan is my cousin