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.