When I was in elementary school, I brought home a paper for Mother to sign. It had her name properly listed as Mary and to say there were fireworks when she read this would be the understatement of the year. With her “friends” (the barflies she spent all day with), she had called herself “Jo” for many years and was aghast at the nerve of anyone calling her by her birth name.
For reasons unknown to me, she hated being called Mary and was offended that her children would even dare to speak her given name. The fireworks continued long into the night and she could not give up on why anyone would do this to her.
I was the one she blamed since I gave the teacher her legal name at school. Mary was mad at me, the teacher, our school, pretty much everyone she had ever known.
To say it was peculiar would be stating the obvious. It seemed to me that if she hated the name so much, she should have been mad at her parents for giving her that name in the first place. Her madness was often misplaced and the target was usually my sister Abby and me.
We knew we didn’t name her. We would have chosen a more appropriate name for her if it had been up to us. Something along the lines of Cruella DeVille.