Tuesday, April 7, 2009
What's In A Name?
I have answered to many names in my life.
I was born Gerberta Donna but was referred to as 'Donna' most of my young life because one of my grandmas told my parents that I would hate my given name.
(She was wrong. I love having a unique name.)
As I got older my parents called me Gerby (there are only 3 people on this planet allowed to call me that so don't even try) and my friends called me Gerb.
After my family moved to California from Iowa some kids (jerks) at my elementary school called me HamburGERBerta. My sidekick was another new kid whom they dubbed HotDoug. I find this hilarious and clever now... but didn't so much at the time.
When I entered junior high I earned myself the nickname of Helicopter Head by twisting my head quickly from side to side just to feel the cool WHAP-WHAP-WHAP of my braided side ponytails as they smacked each side of my head. That name stuck like a permanent label on my forehead for years and is BY FAR my least favorite.
As I reached high school my teachers gave me all kinds of interesting pronounciations of my name, including my favorite: Jer-bear-ta. My drama teacher, Mr. Scarlata, came up with this unusual pronounciation and I just answered to it without any second thought. He was a bit mortified my senior year when someone pointed out the mispronunciation over the course of my high school years but it remains a fond memory for me.
When it became difficult for people to reach anyone in our home because I was always tying up the phone line I earned the nickname Gerb-a-phone.
As I went to college and worked as a sign language interpreter many of my clients called me "Little GerMaid" when they discovered my fascination with The Little Mermaid movie.
After moving to Utah my college roommates called me Bert and Gerbina.
I met Allen, stalked him and convinced him to marry me. We had a couple of kids. They call me things like Freak and Weirdo. But, as much as I love those nicknames, my favorite of all is the one I am referred to as most often: