Something About Mary

Good morning. Let me introduce myself. My name is Mary. That’s right, Mary Heather to be exact. There are few among you who know me by any other name than Heather. I can count on one hand the number of times anyone has ever called me Mary Heather. Not even my mother or father ever called me that.

Speaking of parents, I would like to address all the new moms and dads out there. As you prepare to welcome your new bundle of joy into your lives, allow me to offer a bit of advice. If you choose to give your child a first name and a middle name, please do the child a favor and call him or her by their first names.

I promise you, it will save the child much exasperation in later years. Take it from one who knows. When my parents decided to call me Heather as a kid, that was fine. But the minute I entered school and later when I needed a Social Security card or applied for my driver’s license, I became Mary Heather or Mary H. Every legal or important document bears my name as my parents wrote it on my birth certificate.

That can be confusing to a child, who for the first five years of life, has been called by one name only to be told that’s not your “given” name. It becomes sort of an identity crisis as each new form we must fill out in life becomes a test of wills.

At least two of my siblings have the same issue as their first names are really their middle names, or is it the other way around? See how confusing it can be?

I also have learned over the years that there are many co-workers who are not who you think they are. At least when it comes to their names, that is. Ask around your own workplace and you might be surprised. That guy you’ve been calling Scott all these years just might really be Donald. Or Michael really is James and so on.

Don’t confuse the issue with nicknames. That is a whole other dilemma. Just about everyone in my assorted families has a nickname, including my husband and son who will forever be known as “Ziggy” or “Zig.” When my father-in-law was alive, that meant we had a “Big Zig” and “Zig” and “Little Zig.”

There are other nicknames in the family ranging from “Turtle” to “Moose,” and “Hammer” to “Moo.” I’m not really sure how they all came about, but some are self-explanatory.

Spelling is yet another issue. As one who enjoyed spelling class, I have a difficult time when I see what should be a simple, common spelling of Amy turned into Amyee or Amie. It just doesn’t compute with me.

We are in the process of typing up dozens of year-end high school honor rolls that will appear in the newspaper later this month.

As I peruse the lists of names, I’m not sure I can pronounce some of them. These names, however, represent the brightest and best in academics in our Ohio Valley.

I hope they all live up to their names, first, middle and last.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at