When I was a kid, I went to Camp Robogey every summer. I didn’t even make up the name of that camp, though I may have invented the spelling.
They taught us lots and lots of camp songs, which we’d holler at the top of our lungs out in the field and on the bus. One of them was called, “What’s your name?” The boy was “Lemme Kissya”. The girl gave a variety of answers, depending on her mood. Such as “Ida Wanna” or “Wanna More”.
To me, having a variety of monikers was not unusual. In our household, we all had nicknames. Admittedly, I was the one who gave out the names, so I guess it’s more honestly to say that everyone was called something different depending on my mood. Beanaball, Dursky, Wild Cherry, Facey…they all meant something at the time. One of my sisters still suffers under the name I called her nearly fifty years ago: Leedalo. (It’s a long story.)
For me, Catherine meant my parents were not very pleased with me. Which occurred fairly often, since I was the eldest and a spoiled brat. Catherine Lynne was even worse because my mom or dad was taking the time to say the first and second, usually in a rather loud voice.
I was therefore Cathy. To my friends, my family, and to my parents when I was behaving. At school. In the yearbooks. In the newspaper, when I wrote for the Press Club, or got my picture taken with the high school field hockey team.
When I got married, the woman always took her husband’s name. So I did and now I had a different last name. Then I got married again. Repeat. Then I got married again. Kept both that time. (No comments, please, on my former serial marriages. That’s for another blog—maybe.)
Cathy This, Cathy That, Cathy ThatNow, Cathy Now. Mr. Now called me Katy, so I added that to the list.
Still not Catherine.
Until my books came along. Catherine, after all, is my legal name. Catherine Astolfo to be specific (having dropped That in common usage). So that’s how my books got published: The Bridgeman, by Catherine Astolfo; Victim, by Catherine Astolfo (www.imajinbooks.com).
BUT, my different names habit continued and I unknowingly made it very difficult for people to find my books. My blog, I call Katy’s Words (www.katywords.blogspot.com). My website, I call www.catherineastolfo.com. My email uses both: firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who are my readers (and sometimes my friends) call me Catherine. It still makes me shiver. But it’s better than having them ask, “What’s your name, old girl?”