Family: The Story of my B


In preschool, I learned the alphabet. In kindergarten, I mastered writing my name. And then, years passed, and I was about to turn 16!

At this point, my mom explained that when I signed my drivers license, I would then have a legal signature.  Truth be told, I listened more than she thinks I did. Wow. A legal anything made me feel grown up. I couldn’t help but be enamored by the thought. 

“It would be good for you to decide how you want to sign your name. It helps to be consistent and sign the same way especially on important or legal papers,” she advised.

What a decision! I got to work right away practicing various options.

 First, middle and last name? First name, initial, last name? First and last names only? The variations made me dizzy!

 What mom didn’t realize was that her suggestion actually caused concentrated thought on my behalf. A miracle for any 16 year old!  I was developing a signature  and it would symbolize me while demonstrating connectedness to my family.

Throughout the years, I had always admired my mother’s beautiful signature. Between her first name and my father’s last name was a beautifully flourished capital “H.” It signified her maiden name. I considered it a glorious reminder of her life before marriage.

 Now that it was my turn to have a serious signature, I commenced the cursive options:

  • Cheryl Bailey – first and last name – short and sweet like me!
  • Cheryl L. Bailey – first, middle initial and last name –  too rugged for my personality.
  • Cheryl Lynn Bailey – first, middle and last name – took too long to write.

 Then, years passed – again. Funny how that happens, but back to the story.

 College graduation. Then a “keeper,” engagement and impending marriage. But what would I do with my name?

 Keep it? Combine it? Have a collaborative effort? Hmmm.

I considered them all!

  • Cheryl Lemine – first and new last name – too tricky sounding.
  • Cheryl Bailey Lemine – first, maiden and new last name – too cumbersome and timeconsuming to say.
  • Cheryl B Lemine – first, maiden name initial and new last name – yes, this would work. 

I would keep my “B” just as my mother had kept her “H.”

And like her initial, mine would pay tribute to my loving past – one that includes:

  • A mother who was the first in her family to graduate from college;
  • A father who was a forester and whose parents I never knew due to their early deaths;
  • Maternal grandparents who unknowingly loved and hugged me so much that it seemed as if I had all four grandparents. There’s much more,  but I don’t want you to miss the point.

 Your name is also important. However, you choose to use it is your signature on life.

I love my name because the  “B” is a bridge from my unmarried life to my married one. While it may not have the curly cues my mom’s heavenly “H” does, it reminds me that yesterday still matters to me.

 By the way, there’s no period after the “B.” It would take waaaaay too long!


4 thoughts on “Family: The Story of my B

  1. kadi

    My first name is a combination of my parent’s names. Their names are Kay and Dick. While my mom was pregnant with me she and my dad had to play golf with a someone higher ranked than my dad in the Army and he kept calling my mom Katie (instead of Kay). She thought later, after my dad left for Vietnam (he went when she was 5 months pregnant with me) that Katie was a cute name. I am not sure when she came up with the idea to combine the names. But she took the Ka from Kay and di from Dick and formed Kadi. This in an era before people were really making up or combining names to make other names. She then chose the middle name Anne. Her thinking was I may not like the name Kadi (or having to spell it all the time) and I could go by Anne instead. When I got married I chose to keep my middle name (not my maiden name as my middle name), because I knew it would hurt my mom’s feelings that she took so much time coming up with my name. I too found how I was going to sign my credit cards a challenge. I decided that I did not want it to say Kadi a Welty, so I sign my full name Kadi Anne Welty. I have just given up at restaurants and let them spell my name how ever they want. I am so a “Kadi” unique and individual. Now on a side note if my brother had been born a girl: mom my was naming him Kari (for Kay-Ka and Richard-ri my dad’s full name). : )


  2. Lisa

    While I was not crazy about my middle name as a child (I thought it was too grown up), I have come to love my full name because of the beautiful person who was willing to share her name with me – her first grand daughter. Lisa Claire Fisher is the name my parents gave me – Claire after my grandmother whom I was blessed to have in my life well into adult-hood. I learned so much from my grandmother. She and my grandfather led me to Christ. She (they) always made me feel very special (my dad was their only child, so they never had a daughter). I have great memories that I will cherish always of beautiful Clara – my loving grandmother!

    The way I sign my letters, cards and other personal notes, however, came from my other incredible grandmother (my mom’s mom). Her name was Lucille (Lucy), and when I was a teen, I noticed one day that she signed her notes with a BIG cursive L – with ‘ove’ to the right (at the top) and ‘ucy’ below. Hey, I could do that too, I thought! I remember my grandmother’s reaction when I asked her permission to use her trademark signature. It was one of delight, honor and pride. “Of course you can mimick my signature, honey!” she said. I was honored to have the privilege one day to sign her name, L ove, ucy – on a memorial piece for family and friends that we developed following her death. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember that special day I penned my grandmother’s signature on her behalf. The next time you notice my unique signature, you’ll know it’s not so unique as it seems… it comes from my very loving grandmother, Lucy!


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