Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Jennifer R., 42:
I’ve had many of the same experiences; a bad time with “Jenny” in first grade, nicknames Jeffiner, Conifer, and Refinnej, (spelled backwards,) and in ob-talk, Jobinobifober. (That’s the one where you insert ‘ob’ in front of any vowel.)
There were eight Jennifers in my eighth-grade homeroom, and the teacher just called out our full names.
I love the song about 27 Jennifers – when I’m with my 9 year old son, we sing it at the top of our lungs when it comes on the car radio. (“You could be the strange delightful one, you could be the sweet unspiteful”)
I was born in 1967. My parents were going to name me Jonathan Scott, and my mother “just knew” I would be a boy, because to have a boy then a girl was “too perfect, just what I wanted,” she says. When I arrived, they spent three days deciding what to name me, and Jennifer was close to Jonathan, and they didn’t know anyone by that name. My mother hated the idea of me being called Jenny, so my father promised never to do so, and in fact, called me ‘Niffer until I married.
One of the strangest things about my experience with my name is that when I was 9 or 10, my father’s sister decided to change her name. Her given name was Ruth, and she had always hated it. While I could understand that at the time, what made me angriest is that she changed her name to Jennifer. Just liked the way it sounded. As we had the same last name at the time, I was furious! How dare she take my name, even though she was then Jennifer Ruth and I was Jennifer Lynn. None of the other Jennifers bothered me as much as that, not before or since.
Growing up, it didn’t bother me much to share a name with so many other people, much in the same way that I don’t feel like I look like the person who I see in the mirror. Even though I am very fair, I didn’t relate to the name or feel that it described me.
I have always been such an (ahem) unusual person that I never worried about being confused with anyone else, although even now I sometimes get emails from friends who were meant for other Jennifers, or once in a while, a cell call from a college friend who confuses me with her friend, Jennifer H., which was the initial of my maiden name.
Most of the Jennifers I have met have been very strong confident people, secure in themselves, perhaps from cultivating the girl/woman/person inside them to be recognizably different from the others.
Monday, June 29, 2009
It was actually my Father who named me Jennifer. It was partially due to the character in Love Story. It was also partially due to the Donovan song “Jennifer Juniper” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_L0WL_c_Jw) which I guess is cute when you're little, but really my least favorite song.
I've been called almost every variation of Jenn, Jen, Jenny, Jeny, Jennifer imaginable, none that I really mind, with the exception of Jenny. My Father, the same one who PICKED the name, used to call me Jenny, and then tease me with “And you know what a Jenny is don't you?” For those not familiar, a Jenny is also a female mule. Seriously! I was crushed. I always wondered why name me that, and tease me about it. Did he really think of me as no better than a mule? It gave me a very serious complex. From that point on I was scarred for life and always HATED being called Jenny. I have only ever let two people in my entire life call me by that name, and after a bad falling out, that name doesn't seem to have the power that it used to, or make me feel as bad as it used to. At times I even miss being called Jenny. It's amazing the power and the weight that a name can have.
I have lost count of the number of Jennifers that have been a part of my life. There were at least 4 other Jennifers around growing up. I have two very dear friends that are both Jennifer's. One of which I see on an almost weekly basis when we go to a local knitting store to knit and chat and catch up, everyone refers to us as The Jennifers. Even my mother, but her daughter is the brunette one.
I wouldn't trade having my name for anything, even if it IS another word for a female mule. Despite being such a common name, we are all unique, interesting, beautiful, and always entertaining. But maybe I am a little biased. :)
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Jennifer G., 34:
I was born Jennifer Estelle in February 1975. Jennifer was not originally my parents' first choice for a name. Well not my mother's, anyway. She wanted to name me Noel Suzanne. Suzanne is her first name and my mom is a Christmas-loving freak (said in the most loving way, of course). Luckily, my dad talked her out of it, and when I was born they said I just looked like a Jennifer (Estelle was my grandmother's middle name).
This idea of me "just looking like a Jennifer" always struck me as odd because as I grew up I suddenly encountered a lot of Jennifers, and we looked nothing alike.
In the 4th grade there were 4 of us in my class and we all had to experience what every Jennifer does at some point in their life-the last name letter designation, or shortening of the name to keep us all straight. I was stuck with Jenny, even though I am not sure how this happened. I don't remember any sort of vote or contest. Granted at the time I was nine so I didn't think twice about it. And really, a little blonde girl named Jenny is super-cute. Later however, I loathed this designation and would accept anything else, JUST NOT JENNY. I was even ok with my little brother calling me Jeffiner because he couldn't quite get my name out right.
Years later, while I was in college, I had a similar situation occur when I decided to enroll in a study abroad program in Italy. This program was run by a school on the opposite coast from where I lived and enrolled students from all over the US. I should be safe, right? The semester I attended, there were around 30 students in attendance, a handful of teachers, and 4 Jennifers. So, once again I was faced with the query "How do we distinguish between them so that they don't all turn and answer at once"? Lucky for me however, I had dyed my hair red before leaving for Italy, so I escaped the last letter designation AND the shortening of the name. Everyone nicknamed me "Red" (the girls I became friends with called me Jen also).
Again, the Jennifers in my program were from all over the country, from all walks of life, and nowhere near similar in physical features or personalities. The only thing we had in common was we were all artists.
It seems like every 5-10 years has a name that is more prevelant then others, ask any Sarah or David (which is my husband's name and he is unique in every way!). I think it is refreshing that even though our parents felt like we "just looked like a Jennifer", if you were to gather us all in a group we would be an amazing palette of colors, ages and distinct beings looking nothing alike. I am sure, however, we would have much to talk about over a glass of wine!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Jenn G.W., 29:
In December of 1970 my mother turned 19 and my oldest brother, Robert, was 8 months old. On one cold, Jersey night that month my mother went to see the movie LOVE STORY starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal.
As she left the movie theater, through her tears, she vowed she would name her next child after Jennifer Cavelleri-Barrett. Then in March of 1972… my brother Brian was born and the name “Jennifer” was shelved.
When my mom got pregnant with me in 1980 she was determined to name me Danielle, even referring to her baby bump as “Danielle” to anyone and everyone. Then just hours before I was born my soon to be Godmother referred to me as “Dani” and that sent my already suffering mother into a tizzy! Naming me Jennifer was a last minute decision.
The first day of 5th grade is when I decided I was going to be “Jenn”. I was, and still am, pretty adamant about that second N. I feel like so much of my identity lies there in the 4th letter of my name. It’s what makes me different from all the Jen’s, Jennifer’s, Jenny’s, and Jennie’s.
When I was a junior in High School I had my first “serious” boyfriend. We were separated in the summer while I volunteered at a camp in Maine. I wrote him lots of letters and postcards and couldn’t wait for mail call everyday to see if he’d written me. Finally, the day arrived when the mail guy tossed an envelope at me. It was from my boyfriend… but addressed to “Jen”. I was livid. Weren’t we in love?! Didn’t he know me at all?! As soon as I got home I broke up with him. There was no way I was dating someone who didn’t know my name!
As I got older I calmed down a bit about the “N”/”NN” thing. But I was still struggling to find my own identity when surrounded by dozens of people with the same name. While working at a job with 5 other Jennifer’s I started using my last initials along with my 2 N’s. That’s when I became Jenn GW.
I am Jenn GW. I love Jenn GW. I love being Jenn GW.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Jen F., 34
I was never the only “Jennifer” in a class. One year there were 4 of us, so we couldn’t even work out who would be the “Jen, Jenny or Jennifer” that year… there was still an overlap! I can name off 10 Jennifer’s that I grew up with (just off the top of my head). It was crazy.
We moved to a new house when I was in 3rd grade. The next-door neighbor girl was also named Jennifer. That could be seriously confusing. There were times I would run into the house thinking I had been called in for dinner or homework… when it was the other mom calling the other Jennifer.
I wouldn’t change my name. I like being a “Jen”. It’s fun to meet other people with the same name and the shared experience of growing up with such a popular name. I wasn’t so fond of it when I was little, but it grew on me.
I thought about using my middle name for a while, but it seemed too formal and didn’t fit. I have friends that call me by my last name, and others that call me by my initials… but even though I don’t mind, I wouldn’t choose those for myself.
My grandfather still calls me “Jenny” but he is the ONLY person allowed to call me that… I’m definitely a “Jen”! Every once in a while I get a last initial tagged on. There are two other Jen’s in my (smallish) town with very similar last names, so I think we are just careful about nicely forwarding each other’s email (yes, that happens a LOT). Also we all have such different personalities that we are easy to tell apart, even though we all have the same name!
I’m comfortable with Jennifer, and it fits me.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In truth, I've always hated my name. I grew up Jennifer May Lane before becoming Jennifer B. after my marriage. Everyone called me either Jenny or "Penny Lane." The most-hated of my acquaintences called me Jennie May. I still remember each of them with ire.At a former job, while working in an executive position, I heard a contracted event planner approach our receptionist and announce she had arrived to see Jenny. I kindly informed her that I preferred Jennifer. Throughout the next eight months of our working relationship she sneered when she said my name.After 33 years with my name, I am still amazed that people find so much difficulty in spelling something as simple and common as "Jennifer.""Spelled the normal way?" they'll ask. I've thought of changing the spelling to Geonuphur. Is there an abnormal way to spell a name?My original high school diploma had "Jan Lane" written on it. A seemingly endless line of teachers wrote "Jenny" despite my objections. After Forrest Gump, it got worse. I've always said, "I answer to Jennifer or Jen." But people will call me what they will.To me, "Jennifer" became a name I couldn't own. People would make what they wanted of it and a part of my identity was held capitive. To me, a name is a thing to hold dear. It is how we identify ourselves. We take on attributes of our name. Words take on association in societies and have meaning deeper than their surface intent and, in my environment, I am often assumed to be boring, common, not unique.How very wrong they are!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Jennifer Lynn T , 34 yrs old:
(seems pretty common to see Jennifer Lynns, no??)
I was suppose to be named Sarah, but my mom was fond of the character "Jennifer" in the movie Love Story. When I was born, one look at me and I looked like a Jennifer. Not sure what Jennifer babies look like, but I am happy to be among them.
I grew up with a boat load of Jennifers! I remember in 1st grade having two other Jennifers in my class. The first day of school my teacher asked each one of us what we would like to be called for the rest of the year (Jennifer, Jenny or Jen). I told my teacher I would like to be called Jennifer. Unfortunately, for the entire year I was called Jenny. From that experience on I have always hated to be called Jenny.
I do like my name. Common, yes. But I feel like I am among a sisterhood of Jennifers. Bonded by name, tradition, and a common time period. I do not like to be called Jenny because of the incident back in first grade. Plus the movie Forest Gump cemented the dislike of the name Jenny due to the slow pronunciation (backwards and uneducated connotation). I’ll take being called a Jenn or Jen any day.
I would introduce myself as Jennifer, “as in the very common name of the 70s”. People would laugh, relate and remember. Another mnemonic device game in college to introduce myself was to say I was “Jolly Jen”. Again, the laugh, relate and remember technique worked like a charm.
I am happy my parents named me who I am…it is the impression, fortitude, action and ambition that drives me to make an impact onto others in one shape or form…the first name does not define me. I consider myself quite lucky to have experienced quite a few things already, but I am always looking forward to the next adventure…as a Jennifer!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Jennifer is a female given name; it became a common first name for females in English-speaking countries during the 20th century. The name Jennifer is a Cornish variant of Guinevere, which is a French form of theOld Welsh Gwenhwyfar (gwen: white, fair + hwyfar: smooth, soft). Despite the name's similarity to the Old English words jenefer, genefer and jinifer, which were all variants of Juniper and used to describe the juniper tree, there is no evidence that it was derived from these.
The name has been in use since the 18th century. Before 1906 the name was fairly uncommon, but it became popular after George Bernard Shaw used it for the main female character in The Doctor's Dilemma. It gained even more popularity in the 1970s. Though its popularity is often attributed to the novel and film Love Story, Jennifer was already the number 3 name given to baby girls in the United States in 1969, the year before the book and movie were released. Jennifer was the single most popular name for American girls from 1970 to 1984. It is also popular for Hispanic females. Since the early 1990s it has remained common, but considerably less so. Diminutives include Jen (Jenn), Jenny (Jennie, Jenni), and Jenna.
In contrast, "Guinevere" itself is at present a rather rare first name, considered "old-fashioned" - a fate shared with "Lancelot" and other Arthurian names (except for that of Arthur himself, still very common and popular).
The protagonist in the 1938 novel "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is very self-conscious about being named "Guinevere", which goes along with her being depicted as an unworldly curate's daughter who wears old-fashioned clothing and is very confused and intimidated by the world of 1930's London.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Several of the Jennifers I have found thus far were named after Jennifer Jones, a popular actress in the mid-20th century. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1944, when she was 25.
According to Wikipedia (and we all know how reliable this information is...) Jennifer Jones was born in 1919 as Phylis Flora Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Which means, friends, that she is a stage named Jennifer! Jennifer was not her birthname.
According to the website, Jennifer Jones is now 90 and is still! alive! I really want to get in touch with her. Anyone have ideas on how to do that?
For more information about her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Jones.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
My mother loved the actress Jennifer Jones and thought the name was pretty, so when I was born, I was named after her. After my older brother, my Mom prayed to St. Rita for a girl (I think he was a terror as a kid...lol) and when she had me, she gave me Rita as a middle name.
Being born in 1973, I think there were A LOT of Jennifer's born that year. I was a Jennifer W. starting in kindergarten (there were 3 Jennifer's in my kindergarten through 4th grade classes)..that is when I became a Jenn. I don't think there was a year in any of my schooling where I wasn't either Jenn or Jennifer W. so I grew up with quite a few.
I do like my name... there were times growing up I wished I had a more unique name, but as I have gotten older, I realized I am meant to be a Jennifer/Jenn. It fits me as a person and I think it's a pretty name.
I think my parents did a good job in naming me. I'm a Jenn.
My story is that I am a mother, lawyer, lover of the earth, animals and building lasting relationships. I grew up in the small town of Moab, Utah. My life journeys took me to Brussels, Belgium, where I am finishing up a post graduate degree in international law and international relations. I have lived here since September 2008, with my two children and our dog. Brussels has been a challenging, rewarding and wonderful experience.
When I first told people that I am moving to Brussels for the year, the first response for many was "what are you going to do with the children?" Well meaning friends even asked me if I wanted them to keep the children in their home while I went on Europe to fulfill my dreams. What they didn't seem to understand was that giving my children the experience of learning a foreign language, new culture, seeing the art and beauty of Europe was a big part of my dream. I suppose many thought it would be hard for me to manage two children while going to school in a foreign country. Or perhaps they thought that pulling them away from the comfort of their friends and school would be more damaging. Truth be told, going to school and raising children was far easier than running my own law practice in the U.S. I should know, I have done both before.
While I was in law school, my husband was sick and dying from cancer. The monthly visits to the oncologist ensured that I could never step foot in a doctor's office again without feeling extreme anxiety. As my husband died during my second year of law school I was forced to take the remaining year, one day and one commute at a time. After he died, I was looking forward to putting an end to life's tragedies for a few years. Unfortunately, this didn't happen, because my son's father (my kids have different dads) also died a year later. By this time I was just 33 years old with two kids without a dad. I rarely feel sorry for myself, because I know there are millions with far worse stories to tell.
My life is an endless quest for knowledge and understanding. The more educated I become, the more I realize how little I know about life, myself and human suffering. For the first time in years am I grateful for the gifts I have received in life. Once again I truly feel blessed for being American and what it stands for. I can eat and drink, own my own home, live safe and secure, vote, express my religion and opinion open and freely; I can teach my daughter that being a woman is special and not inferior to men.
I no longer fell my name is common, I celebrate it. I'm a white wave, feminine and ferocious.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I was named for the actress Jennifer Jones and because my parents really wanted to call me J.D. (DeAnn is my middle name.) Apparently J.D. was some guy in the old westerns. But they never did call me J.D. Instead, I was - and still am by my father - called Barney (of Flintstones' fame).
I didn't grow up with too many Jens. I had a great aunt named Jenny Olson (old Norwegian spinster - I wonder if she was cut from the same gay cloth that I am) and knew of a couple other Jens from the neighboring towns.
Of course, now I am surrounded by women with my name. At work, there are so many Jens that we have our own alias so that we can redirect email to the appropriate one ("Hey Jen - is this for you?).
Until I read about the Jennifer Project, I never thought of us as a sisterhood. But now I do. Human beings love to build community any way they can - and I think this is as good as any. And come on, we are way, way cooler than say, all those Marys and Stacys and Lauries and Karens.
As a Jennifer, I am 46 years old (young?,) live on a gorgeous 5-acre piece of land north of Seattle, about half-way to the Candian border, married my best friend 23 years ago and am still deeply and happily in love with him, got my bachelor's degree in education then stayed home to school and raise our 2 children (that son is now 23 and our daughter is nearly 21,) worked a ton of part-time jobs during those years including about 10 years of substitute teaching, and now that the kids are successfully launched have decided to return to school for a registered nurse degree.
I plan on starting a whole new career by the time I turn 50. I love to sing and have been a member of a choir that specialized in Gregorian chant and Rennaissance sacred music and more recently in one that performs music from Eastern Europe. When I have leisure time I garden, cross-stitch, or read.
Communities of friendships are highly important to me and I'd rather hang out with girlfriends than almost anything else.
When I was little I went by Jennie, decided as a teen I'd rather always be known as fullly "Jennifer" and recently slipped into more and more times when Jen is used more frequently.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I had my first Jennifer Project photo shoot. Out of the 14 people I had originally scheduled to have their photos taken today, only 2 showed up. It's about what I figured... Most of the Jennifers called or emailed to let me know they couldn't make it. I'll find another time to meet with them.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
|Always had at least three Jennifers in my classes. I tell everyone that all MY daughters will be cursed with interesting, beautiful names. But the chain isn't completely broken. My first husband insisted that our daughter have Jennifer as a middle name. I often wonder if she is the only one with Jennifer as amiddle name. :) My kids names are: Alia Jennifer, Violet Ember, Aria Rose|
Jenn I, 30-something:
I'm a 30-something yo Licensed Midwife. My best friend from high school is also Jennifer. She was Jen with one N and I was Jenn with 2 Ns. When I lived in the Philippines and worked at a charity birth center there, I took on the nickname JennJo (my middle name is Jo) because of the other Jennifers coming through. I have never liked being called Jenny because my mom's name is Genevieve and everyone has always called her Genny.