I was born Susan Caroline Diane Skeleton. My mother chose one Christian name, my dad another, and that would have been the end of it if my Godmother hadn’t insisted she had a right to choose a name too. So a tiny baby was given a rather grand name to grow into.

I was always proud of being a Susan. It was the most popular girls’ name for quite a few years. I thought popular meant best or excellent. I didn't realise popular meant common. I should have done. One year at school, there were at least three Susans in my class. I was known as Susan S.

When I was about ten, a new girl joined our school. One day she confided to me she’d always dreamt of having a friend called Susan Skeleton. It wasn't long before we were the best of friends.

Don't you just love the sound of Susan Skeleton? Try saying that name a few times in a row very quickly. It will twist your tongue into delightful knots.

There was only one thing I didn't like about my name. ‘S’ is rather a long way down the alphabet. I always had to wait a long time for anything that was organised on an alphabetical basis. Sometimes as a child, I was sure I'd turn into a skeleton before it was my turn to give a speech, come up on the stage for my prize, receive a Christmas gift from an alphabetically minded Santa...

You'd think skeletons would be numerous. Maybe they are, but living ones are few and far between, and I’ve never actually met a Skeleton that isn’t part of our family. 

A popular first name coupled with a rare surname is rather a good combination. But then again, a rare name always needs spelling out. 

"Susan Skeleton... Skeleton? How do you spell that?" I wasn’t Susan Skeleton. I was Susan Skeleton S-K-E-L-E-T-O-N.

Somewhere along the line I became Sue. Sue Skeleton.

And then I married Andy and my surname changed too. I became Sue Elvis. I moved up the alphabet, almost to the beginning, which pleased me immensely. Sue Elvis:  nice and short and simple. But I'm still spelling my name.

“Name?”

“Sue Elvis.”

A quizzical look.

“Elvis... E-L-V-I-S. You know, like Presley.”

 Big grin. “Really? You’re not making that up? What a great name!”

It is a great name. Short. Simple. Memorable. Thanks to Elvis Presley, most people have no trouble remembering who I am. 

Names are so important. They are part of our identity. And they all have a story behind them. Perhaps you're a Susan too... or a Skeleton. Or maybe you have a name story all of your own. Please share!


PS I wasn't really called Susan Skeleton but my name was close enough to satisfy my childhood best friend!
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  1. Skeleton?? That's funny!!!

    Yes, names are important, aren't they? I've already admitted to 'Sticky Licky.' I think that conjures up enough bad visions for me to leave it there!

    God bless, Mrs Skeleton-Elvis:-)

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    1. Vicky,

      I guess you must have been Vicky Skeleton as you are my sister!

      When we were children you were mainly known by the name Vicky rather than Victoria. But as an adult, it seems to me, you have taken back your full name to some extent. Perhaps we appreciate and grow into our given names sometimes.

      Mrs Skeleton-Elvis? I never seriously considered keeping my maiden name. Did you?

      God bless!

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Sue! I love your name! I was often called "Ellen Keller" because without my (very ugly) glasses I couldn't see. I took it as a compliment, though. And I never used my maiden name after marriage until I became an author because Gable is easier to pronounce than Hrkach. God bless...

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    1. Ellen,

      Yes, Helen Keller is certainly someone to admire. We read her inspirational story together last year so I understand how you regarded your nickname as a compliment.

      I am so glad you told us (on your blog)how to pronounce your surname! I was wondering... It's very unusual. Yes, Gable is much easier to say than Hrkach. It's always good to have a spare name just in case it's needed! I wonder if I should publish my children's book under the name Sue Skeleton!!

      God bless you!

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  3. I'm going to admit that I think you're SO lucky to have such a cool maiden name! And then a cool married name, PLUS you moved up in the alphabet!!!

    Lucky!

    I went from a common last name that begins with R to another common last name that begins with W -- so even FURTHER down the alphabet road. But I've tried to make the best of it. Hehe.

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    1. Amy,

      Common names have their good points too! They are certainly easy to spell. And some people make common names cool just by their association with that name. And common surnames go wonderfully with unusual first names. Anyway, I love your name!

      I've always wondered if authors are affected by where their names come in the alphabet. Is there an optimum place to be? I guess for a great writer it doesn't make any difference! Just thinking... what would I choose if I wanted a pen-name... Something at the top end of the alphabet or the bottom?

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  4. Hi Sue,

    You've had a couple of interesting last names! Mine wasn't interesting but people said it wrong all the time. I don't know how to phonetically spell the mispronunciation and the correct one! Blessings!

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    1. Noreen,

      It must have been so frustrating having everyone mispronounce your name all the time. Names are so much a part of us it's important people say them properly.

      There are a lot of Samoan children at Andy's school with long and complicated first and last names which are almost impossible to say correctly. And the spelling... the children can't even spell their own names. The children with short straightforward names certainly have an advantage when it comes to learning to write their own names!

      Thank you for your comment, Noreen!

      God bless.

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  5. A very interesting post - neat to learn more about you! You have gone from one cool name to another! Love it!

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    1. Hi Dana,

      Glad you enjoyed my post! You've got a cool name yourself. Just right for an author. It rolls off the tongue and is memorable. Near the top of the alphabet too!

      God bless you.

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  6. So your surname wasn't REALLY Skeleton? My son Aidan would be disappointed... he has nicknamed his older brother "Relligan Skeleton" for some reason. He likes to chant it : ).

    I did the opposite of you .... I moved from near the front of the alphabet "F" to "R" when I got married. I also have an unusual maiden name-- our direct family are the only ones we've found with our exact surname.

    Fun post, you have such great stories to tell!

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    1. Willa,

      It would have been good if my name had really been Skeleton, wouldn't it? But it was close enough. Sorry to disappoint Aidan! I guess I cheated not revealing that fact until the end of the story.

      Kids love rhyming names. We were reading "Anne of Ingleside" the other day and there was a character called Jenny Penny which rolls off the tongue beautifully.

      Your family must be like ours. If we come across anyone with the same family name as us, we know we must somehow connect into the same family tree.

      Willa, I think we all have great stories to tell. All our lives are made up of fascinating details. Sometimes I think I have nothing worth sharing and then I remember one of these details. Life is interesting!

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  7. Funny post Sue :-) I changed one unusual German last name for another - both need to be spelled and are impossible to pronounce for a non-European ;-) Dh's family has anglicised (is that a word) the pronounciation of the name so now it it rhymes with Fisher, even though it isn't spelled that way at all! I used to tell people that it took me many years of going down the phone book to find a name matching my first name that had an acceptable guy attached to it as well ;-)

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    1. Beate,

      I am so glad you shared the pronunciation of your surname. My girls asked me how it was pronounced and I had no idea!

      I wonder what would happen if someone didn't like the combination of their first name and married name. Would they retain their maiden name? Or would it be a case of love the man, love his name, and they'd adopt it anyway? I am so glad I received an acceptable married name and didn't have to think about this!

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  8. Something to ponder ;-) I just can't imagine Beate Smith - maybe the guy would have been willing to go with Schmidt? No matter, I love my guy and his name =) You're name is super cool - at first I wondered if it was a pseudonym!

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    1. Beate,

      My name a pseudonym? I suppose some people might think that, especially as many bloggers like to be anonymous and not use their own names. I'd never considered that possibility before. However my name is real. It's a pretty good blogging name!

      Delete

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