This is a strange story. It begins, I suppose, in July 1950. My parents named me Geoffrey.
In the Jewish religion, it is common to name a child after a deceased relative. Of course all my deceased relatives had odd sounding Eastern European or otherwise arcane names. My parents did what so many others do, they used the first letter, “G”, to connect me with my ancestor.
Did they know Geoffrey was a British spelling? Based on what they told me while I was growing up – no. It just looked nice, and I’ve mostly liked it as a name.
It is not without problems. When I was a kid, and Geoffrey wasn’t quite as well recognized, I would be called Godfrey or Goofrey or George. People saw the “G” and stopped reading.
I could never walk into a store and buy a cup or license plate or pencil with my name on it. There are no mass merchandised items with “Geoff” on them… at least not here in the United States. Helaine has the same problem.
Alas, we’ve cursed Stefanie with an unusual spelling too. Sorry Stef.
With time, my problems have diminished. More people have seen the name Geoff. Fewer people stumble when they read it. Life has become easier… until a few months ago.
I answered a question from a classmate at Mississippi State. He responded, addressed to my email address on this domain: geofffox.com. It began, “Thanks Greg.”
Then,. Helaine and I received a check from some failed investment. It was addressed to “Helaine and Gregory Fox.”
A few weeks ago I was playing poker at Foxwoods Casino. While you play the casino keeps track of you (and gives a few dollars in return for your patronage) by using a “Wampum Card.”
I handed mine to one of the poker managers. A few minutes he came back and handed it to me. “Here you go Greg,” he said!
What is going on? Nearly 55 years old and, all of a sudden, my name is changing before my eyes.
Steffie has caught on. To her, I am now Greg.
“So Greg,” she will say, “are we going out to dinner?” Or, there will be a note about something she’d like me to do sitting on my computer keyboard. “Greg,” it will say, “can you do this for me?”
I’m not alone. Stef has taken to calling Helaine, a name which is constantly mispronounced and misspelled, Helen.
We’re now Greg and Helen! How the heck did this happen?