Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Jennifer from Idaho

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!

1 comment:

FreeFamWorld said...

Jen ~ this is a great post. I remember your Jenny days, and the Jeff days and the Fer days and of course Jen, which will last forever. Of course I also remember how sorry we felt for the little "i" that got left out between Jen and Fer. :)
Of all the Jennifers out there, I'm so glad to call you a life-long friend!