Mis­spelling of names may not be de­lib­er­ate

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I’m writ­ing to respond to the let­ter from the mother of the 12-year-old boy whose grand­mother can’t spell his name right. (“His Name Is Joe!”; Jan. 4). The same thing hap­pened to my hus­band. His grand­mother spells his name with a C in­stead of a K. I have al­ways put K on our cards and let­ters to her, but I think at her age she’s stuck in her habit.

Once she sent my hus­band a beau­ti­ful sil­ver money clip for which she had spent sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars. She had it en­graved with the wrong ini­tials — in­clud­ing the C. She’s such a sweet, lovely woman that, at that point, I in­sisted he never make ref­er­ence to the cor­rect spell­ing of his name again. En­graved items rarely can be re­turned, and I knew how hurt she’d be know­ing she had spelled his name wrong. He called and thanked her pro­fusely for such a gen­er­ous gift, and we’ve never brought up the mat­ter since. — ANNE IN TEXAS

DEAR ANNE: Thank you for writ­ing. I guessed that the grand­mother might not have been pleased with the name the boy had been given. Other readers also had hunches about why the grand­mother would con­tinue to mis­spell it. Their com­ments:

DEAR ABBY: I sus­pect Grandma doesn’t like that par­tic­u­lar spell­ing of the child’s name. These days peo­ple have come up with un­usual spellings for com­mon names. In­stead of Re­becca, you have Re­bekka. For Ash­ley, you have Ash­lee, Ash­leigh and Ashli. Karen can now be Caryn or Caren. This makes it es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for any­one with an un­usu­ally spelled name. You can bet that no one will get it right. So I imag­ine this is Grandma’s way of ex­press­ing her dis­ap­proval of the spell­ing of the child’s name. — ONLY THE SPELL­ING HAS BEEN CHANGED DEAR ABBY: My sweet grand­mother mis­spelled my name ev­ery time she wrote to us. She had only a third-grade ed­u­ca­tion, lived in a home with no electricity, raised four girls alone af­ter her hus­band died and con­tin­ued to main­tain the fam­ily farm.

She wrote with a pen­cil that was sharp­ened with a knife and spelled my name — Karen — the way it sounded to her, “Kron.” I was never in­sulted. I al­ways laughed about the fact that it looked as if my name were that of a cave per­son.

Of course, I knew she loved me un­con­di­tion­ally. Maybe that is why “HNIJ” seems to have a prob­lem with her son’s grand­mother. Could it be she feels Grandma doesn’t show enough love to the boy? — CAVE WOMAN KRON

DEAR ABBY: Rather than sug­gest that Grandma doesn’t like the child’s name, it may be she’s like my mother. Mom has a hear­ing prob­lem and can’t make out sounds, which is why she con­stantly misspells her grand­son’s name. — JOYCE IN KEN­TUCKY

DEAR ABBY: I made the same mis­take with my grand­daugh­ter’s name — for 10 years. No one told me her name ended with an “i” and not a “y.” Boy, was I ever em­bar­rassed. The mis­spelling was not de­lib­er­ate, and I sure wish some­one would have pointed out my er­ror sooner. — JUST UNINFORMED IN ALABAMA

DEAR ABBY: My now-de­ceased mother and my fa­ther-in-law both mis­spelled my chil­dren’s names. Mom even took lib­er­ties with my name af­ter I was mar­ried. I don’t think ei­ther one was send­ing me a mes­sage. They just weren’t fa­mil­iar with the par­tic­u­lar spell­ing.

“HNIJ” should give Grandma a framed photo of her grand­son with his name (and date of birth, maybe) on a la­bel at the bot­tom. See­ing his name daily may be all the woman needs to learn the cor­rect spell­ing. — BEEN THERE, TOO

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