The Importance of Not Being Jennie


We are everywhere.

Unless you are one of us you do not understand the trauma of being one of three girls with the same name in every class you’ve ever been in. You don’t comprehend the pure suckiness of always having to follow your name with an initial because Jenny C. is one side and Jenny F. is on the other.

Sure, our mothers claim that they had no idea, none at all, that the name was so mega-popular. In my case I was named after my great aunt Jennie (Jennie was in the top ten in the 1870’s. Weird!).  But none of that matters when people are trying to figure out which Jennie’s phone number is written on the stall of the middle school bathroom.

It’s kind of a non-name, like having beige walls in a house. You don’t even notice them because they’re so not interesting; so dull; so bland.

In high school the Jennie situation got completely out of hand. In our class of 90 girls there was me, Jennie Davis. Then there was her, also Jennie Davis. So it came down to middle names: her Lyn to my Hildegard.

Yes, that is right. My middle name is the clunkiest of clunkers. The name they give Hippos in children’s books.

When you have one name that is the ultimate yawner you start to love the brazen uniqueness of something completely wacky. I started going by Hildie off and on because of high school. Mostly just to make it easier for myself. Also because I loved being the only person with that name.

Oh yes, except for my mother, Hildegard. She has always gone by Lorie (not sure where that came from) to differentiate herself from her mother. Also Hildegard. It’s the name of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter*. Here are the three of us shortly before my grandmother died (I’m the baby, obviously):

Hildegard means something to me. I was thrilled to get rid of my last name when I got married but there was no way I was getting rid of Hildie.

So what’s the point of all this?

I’m dumping the name Jennie.

I can’t stand it. It’s just not me. Or rather it’s just everyone.

I’m sorry if you think this is completely bizarre. I’m simply trying to explain to you the reason behind it. I will probably remain Jennie in real life. I mean, it’s not like I’m having a mid-life crisis or anything. It’s only that on the interwebs, where you are nothing more than a name and a tiny avatar picture, it’s kind of hard to figure out which Jen/Jenn/Jenny/Jennie/Jennifer goes with which blog. If I suddenly become famous and have to be Hildie all the time, that’s fine too. I am just as much Hildie as I am Jennie.

So, hi there, my name is Hildie! What’s yours?


*I gave Hildegard to my oldest daughter too. But I gave her a buffer middle name in case she couldn’t handle it. So India Jane Hildegard she is.

I had to throw in this cute picture of my grandmother Hildegard waitressing in her hometown of Vienna, Austria.

| Filed under Blogging, Good Things

21 thoughts on “The Importance of Not Being Jennie

  1. I Love your middle name, definately different. I love my name also. My parents thought that they made it up, and I love the story behind naming me. They didn’t however, give me a middle name which I also passed on to my girls.

  2. I’ll only call you Hildie when you don that waitress outfit.
    And Paris Hilton called. She wants your moms glasses.

  3. Hi, my name is Hildegard, or Hildie to a few VERY close friends (and I’m also ex-Jennie’s Mom.)

    My own mom, Hildegard, escaped Nazi Austria just after Hitler took over. She came to America, married my dad, and HE named their first daughter Hildegard Eleanor. “UGH”- I though as I grew up.

    Since I was born during World War II, and since America HATED all things German, my parents protected me from persecution by called me “Lorie” which is the Austrian short form of Eleanor – like “Bill” for William.

    When I later learned the heroic story of why my Mom was named “Hildegard” I decided to pass it on to MY oldest daughter as well. And on it goes. If you ever want to know the amazing saga, write to

  4. Nice new name. I’ll know who I’m talking to now. My name is unusual enough to be uncommon but common enough to be traditional. I love it. Good look with Hildie!

  5. I have never seen these pictures of grandma Hildegard! In fact, I’ve only ever seen one of her, ever. Do you have more?

    Being a Charlie, I never really had the same-name problem (except in middle school, there was another Charlee N. She wasn’t exactly top-of-the-class in any way shape or form. I think she actually started spelling her name with an “-ie” in our 8th grade English class so the teacher would get confused and give her my grades. I had to sort that all out).

    I went by “Chuck” all through college, though, to up my uniqueness, you could say. It was a nickname I had all growing up, but only my family and one friend ever used it for me, and that made me sad. So now in UT country I am Chuck, and in Salt Lake County I am Charlie (only because Husband doesn’t like the name “Chuck” and because of that I slowly stopped introducing myself as such. Not that I don’t like my name!)

    This is a long comment.

    But, Hildie it is. I approve. 😉

    1. I loved your license plate that said Chuck’s Truck (however it was abbreviated).

      And, yes, I do have more photos of Grandma Hildegard. Most are the ones Uncle James sent out about six or seven years ago. I’ll email them to you.

  6. When I was growing up there were lots of Kelli/Kellys but no Kellies.

    Except me. I loathed, detested and hated having to spell my name every SINGLE time, and having people ask if I was “sure” that’s how my name was spelled. Now, anyone who knows me personally (beyond the boring chit-chat level) knows me as Kel. Or Sel. I’m happy with that!

    I think Hildie is a perfectly awesome choice!

    1. I think having a common name spelled strangely is the worst of both worlds. It sounds like the same name that everyone else has but without the perks like personalized keychains and bike license plates.

  7. I like Hildie. How would we know about straw on the walls a la Trading Spaces if it wasn’t for Hildie?

    Okay true story and I will not say their real names…but in jr high/high school. I went to school with quite a few Donna’s. We had three in my class that all shared the same last name. I think only two were related (cousins.)
    So it was Donna C. Jones, Donna G. Jones, and Donna L. Jones. Every year book for 7 years they were lined up like ducks.

    So it could have been worse. LOL 🙂

  8. I had to write out my first and last name every day of my elementary school life because there was another Jessica R. Still, I felt like I got off easy. My best friend had to write out Shannon Johnsonbaugh because there was a Shannon Johnson in our class too.

  9. I hear you on this one. I was one of 4 in my third grade class, not the entire third grade but just one classroom of kids. Sadly my middle name is not as interesting as yours. I was given the middles name of Ann. Not very exciting…at all. Hildie is a great name and how nice that it has a personal history as well.

  10. I’m sorry to tell you that I really like the name Jennie and I’ll be sad to see it go. Of course, I didn’t have to live with being called that. But I do have to live with never having my name pronounced right, spelled right, or remembered. Ever. So I guess we all live with our own name issues. Just don’t expect me to start calling you Hildie, no matter how blog famous you get.

  11. Ohhhhh, man do I hear you on this one. I will be 45 in June, so I was ever so slightly before the Jennifer boom of the 70’s. In school I was the only one in my classes, but now, that we’re all out there in the workforce, momhood, etc. together, I’m just one of a mob. I hate it. Plus I think it’s sort of a silly sounding name. My middle name is Elizabeth, and I always, always wanted that to be my first name. As an adult, I’ve thought of changing my name to my great grandmother’s name, which was Edna. Or my grandmother’s name, which was Florence. You can bet I’d be the only one in the room with either one of those names. But Hildie, I absolutely love. Honestly, if you could get people to make the switch I think its darling.

  12. For what its worth, I think Jennie is a wonderful name. Hildie is not bad, but I think Jennie fits you.
    Either way I will still love reading your witty blog.

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