One of my mother’s favorite stories was about my oldest brother, Bob’s, first day at Sunday School when he was about 3 years old.
In an attempt to get to know him and find out more about him, the teacher asked Bobby a series of questions.
“What is your name?”
“And, Bobby, what is your father’s name?”
“Yes, Bobby, but what does your mommy call your daddy?”
“And what is your mommy’s name?”
“I understand that, Bobby. And what does your daddy call your mommy?”
“Honey Bunny Boo, Choop-choop-a-doo.”
My mother would always start laughing before she got to the end of this story, as she remembered my father’s pet name for her. And I remember, as a little girl, long after Bob left home to go to college, my daddy calling out to my mom when he’d come home from work, “I’m home, Honey Bunny Boo, Choop-choop-a-doo!”
Names are important. I have had several in my life. I started out as a little girl being Jennie Lou Campbell. I then outgrew the Lou, and became just Jennie Campbell. I’ve been married twice, so I am AKA Jennie Hampton and Jennie Lazarus. I have gone full circle, and am now back to my maiden name, and many of my family members and close friends again call me Jennie Lou. My name is also shortened to Jen by some, and J-Lou by a special group of friends. It is good to be Jennie Campbell again. This is who I feel like I really am, and have been all my life, even with taking on my two husbands’ last names for a time.
I am Jennie. Sometimes people will ask me if my name if Jennifer, or Virginia. They can’t seem to understand that the name, Jennie, can stand alone. I’ll reply when asked, and say, “No, it isn’t short for anything; I am just Jennie”. In fact, my name, which was my mother’s name as well, when she wasn’t Honey Bunny Boo, Choop-choop-a-doo, was the name of my grandfather’s second wife, who died at a young age, and I think during childbirth. My grandmother was Wife Number Three. Evidently, Jennie, Wife Number Two, was very, very special to my grandfather, because my mother related another story about her.
When Granny (Wife Number 3) was pregnant with Mama, she told my grandfather that if this baby was a girl, she was going to be named Jennie. Granny said that she was tired of hearing Jennie this and Jennie that, and if she was going to hear that name for the rest of her life, she wanted it to be about a child of her own, and not my grandfather’s previous wife! Actually, the first Jennie was named Sarah Jane. Jennie was her nickname. Interesting.
So, here I am – once again Jennie Lou Campbell. I am not Jennifer, and I am not Virginia. I am just Jennie, or Jennie Lou – take your pick. And I don’t ever plan to change my last name again. Not only is it a pain and aggravation to jump through all the hoops associated with a last name change, I feel like this is who I really am, have always been, and will be for the rest of my life.
And when someone calls me by my name, I will answer.
”I have called you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1