Let Me Spell That For You... Living With A Slightly Different First Name
My first name is often misspelled.
My mother says she got the idea for my name and it’s spelling from the Bible. Elisabeth was the mother of John the Baptist.
OK, I guess that’s nice.
All I know is that when I was a kid, especially 35+ years ago in the Midwest, owning a name with an alternate spelling was a real pain in the keester.
The common spelling for my name (in the U.S., at least) is Elizabeth. Elizabeth with a Z. My name is spelled Elisabeth........ Elisabeth with a S........ An S instead of a Z.
You have no idea how many times I have stated that same phrase.
In grade school, My favorite show on TV was ‘Bewitched’ with Elizabeth Montgomery. I wanted my name to be spelled like hers. I thought the common spelling was somehow more “cool”.
Maybe even a bit more exotic and worldly.
Hey, I was a kid !
I have to admit, I tried writing Elizabeth on my school papers. Of course, that didn’t last long. Misspelling your own name, especially on purpose, gets noticed pretty quickly!
At that age, like most children, I just wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else.The last thing I wanted was to be singled out, especially for something like my name.
It felt like such a big issue in school, the teacher calling roll the first day of class, asking “is this the correct spelling of your name?”, and all the kids turning around to stare at me.
It’s funny how a kid can feel embarrassed by things that seem so silly now.
I still have to make sure the proper spelling of my first name is clearly understood. Say I am calling my doctor’s office. I tell them my name and they can’t find me in the computer. That’s because they did not catch the alternate spelling. I have to be diligent, with everything from credit cards to job applications to car insurance.
Now I know that this sounds as if I am whining over nothing.
Well, it turns out I am.
Because now, as I have gotten (significantly) older, I love the way that my name is spelled.
I’ve learned that Elisabeth-with-a-S is a common spelling in Europe. That’s cool. Kind of exotic and worldly. (Now where have I heard that?) There are several well-known Elisabeths who spell their name like mine. Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Elisabeth Shue. Elisabeth Moss from the amazing TV drama Mad Men. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, ground-breaking researcher on grief, and, my personal favorite: Elisabeth of Bavaria: Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. From what I have read about her, she was quite an individual. (see links at the end of this hub)
I feel a certain kinship with these ladies. A kinship that I would never have with Elizabeth-with-a-Z Taylor. Or Elizabeth Arden. Or Queen Elizabeth.
People tend to remember your name when it has an alternate spelling. And for that part, remember you better. Also, it’s a good gauge to see if people are paying attention.
I’ve noticed that the HubPages writers always spell my name correct.
But of course!
The misspelling of my first name is not much of an issue these days. I think that it is because you see such a variety in alternate name spellings. Some of them can be a little wacky, but who am I to judge?
My slightly-different name spelling is now something that I am proud
of. My name is part of me and my unique self, and I love it.
Thanks, Mom. Thanks for breaking the common-name-spelling rules.
There’s one thing, though.
My nickname is Liz.
With a Z.
Elisabeth of Barvaria
A Fascinating Woman: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation - Scottsdale, Arizona
Continuing the life work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, scientist, doctor, educator, mother.