Recently, there has been much discussion on whether I will change my name once The Boy and I get married. On the one hand, I want us to have the same name. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can spend the rest of my life having people say ‘Eh, what? Can you spell that?’ to my last name (they already do it with my first name. Then still spell it wrong. My favourites so far are Carry-Ann, Kerry-Anne, and best of all, Ann-Carrie. Even my own family spell it wrong – for my first birthday, my wonderful Grandad created a banner that said something along the lines of ‘Happy 1st birthday Carrie-Anne’).
While we’re on the subject of my grandad, I would like to share one of my favourite stories about him. In May last year, my grandad died. He’d had a lovely life and he was in his 80s, so it wasn’t unexpected, but it was (and still is) very sad. However, every now and again, a funny story will come to light that makes me laugh hysterically and reminds me how brilliantly bonkers he could be.
I actually have a double-barrelled surname (Elton-Cooper), but I don’t use it because my name is plenty long enough already. However, when my sister and I were born, my Grandad was very keen that we have the full family name, so it was duly added to our birth certificates. Bear that in mind.
When someone dies, I’m told there is an abundance of paperwork, which usually falls to a close relative to sort out. In this case, my dad had to go through years and years of bills, statements, contracts and other wordy documents, and he made a discovery. On some of the paperwork, Grandad’s name was Cooper. On others, Elton-Cooper. One one particular document, the Cooper had Elton scrawled next to it in biro. After phone calls to various authorities, it transpires that my last name is not, in fact, Elton-Cooper. Elton is my middle name.
I’m just going to write that again, for emphasis. Elton is my middle name. And my sister’s, come to that. Like I said, my grandad could be quite brilliantly bonkers, and now I’ll never know why he decided to tell everyone it was our official surname (to be fair, we’d still be wandering around thinking we had a suffragette in the family if he was still here. He’s probably been waiting for this to come out for the past year and is up there having a good laugh about it).
The Boy is thrilled, as I’d been making noises about keeping the Elton part of my surname, and hyphenating it with his, then bestowing it upon any future children. I still might, just so they can have this experience when I die.
But back to changing my surname, whatever it now may be. I work with a fabulous woman. Let’s call her Chloe (because that’s her name). We share the same initials, so at work we’re often referred to as the CCs. Or Team CC. Or CCSquared. I think this is partly because people kept calling me Chloe and it got very confusing. But I digress. If and when I change my name, we will no longer have the same initials (although I will have the same initials as my oldest friend in the whole wide world. As in I’ve known her for the longest – I’m not friends with the world’s oldest woman. Although I’m sure she’s lovely), and this has led me to consider keeping my surname for work purposes, because as someone who was always picked last for games at school, I really like being part of a team. I mean, it’s already on all my business cards and everything…
But no. I want to have the same surname as The Boy. As he is so far steadfastly refusing to become Mr Cooper (possibly because this would make him Chris Cooper, and no-one wants to be associated with a villain from The Muppets. Although he could join Team CC…), it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll become Mrs. Dring. And that’s something pretty special – apart from anything else, who wouldn’t love responding to ‘Eh, what? How do you spell that?’ with ‘Dring, like an old-fashioned telephone bell. It’s ring with a D in front.’