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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

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15 Responses

  1. Hootin Anni Says:

    Excellent post. My name is Anni and my dear man used to sing Annie's Song. And then, there is Bette Davis Aunt Bette [and her name is spelled like Bette Davis]

    My 13 is posted. Scroll below my Thursday Thunks. Happy day to you.

  2. Hazel Says:

    great list. cute no. 11 my ex-husband's little nephew had exactly the same term "stole" for what I did when I married his uncle :-)

  3. Gattina Says:

    My name was a very often used name. In my class there were 6 ! When I moved with my parents to Belgium suddenly my name was from the space. Never heard it. So suddenly I was the only one in the whole school with this name,lol _

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Carleen is the perfect name for a writer. Traditional enough so people won't stumble over it, but unique enough to put your own brand on. You lucky bug.

  5. Cherie Says:

    I never could find a coffee cup with my name on the side either. lol With all the different spellings, I'm always delighted when someone gets it right. I was overjoyed when I heard the Stevie Wonder song, "Ma Cherie Amour." I always found the Four Seasons song a bit grating. LOL

    P.S. I love your blog theme!

  6. Forgetfulone Says:

    Yes, I would think Carleen is hard to find. Great list of songs, too!

  7. Calico Crazy Says:

    Great idea for a 13, creative and fun.

  8. Nessa Says:

    This was fun. I was called Susie Q when i was a child.

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  9. Anonymous Says:

    What a wonderful list. I really enjoyed it and the songs your picked were just perfect. Ode to Billy Joe...i'd forgotten all about that :)

  10. Kellie Says:

    Oooh I love Annie's song and Bette Davis eyes! Great list! :o) Happy TT!


  11. jillconyers Says:

    Great idea for a list!

  12. Ode to Billy Joe, what a great movie. Annie's Song, makes me think of my long departed Annie. Great Post Carleen.

  13. Heather Says:

    Great idea for a T13 list! I'm afraid I would strike out with most of the names in my family. Have a great weekend!

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