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Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Wednesday, 25 March 2009 in Uncategorized

Okay, it is no secret that I am fascinated by names, that I love naming book characters, that my own children have had to curb my impulse to name their babies, and that even dogs, my own and other people's, are not exempt from my need to baptize.

But recently, in signing books in Florida, I encountered something I've not seen before.  A teenage girl had a name---I've forgotten what it was---that ended in an A.  The letter A. Let's say it was something like Alyssa.

I wrote "For Alyssa" in her book---spelling it correctly, not Elyssa or Alissa, because I have learned the hard way that I must ask them to write their names for me so that I get it right---otherwise, they sometimes cry, if I misspell.

So I wrote "For Alyssa" above my signature and handed it back to her---but she said, "There's an accent over the A" and handed it back.  I looked at what she had written on her post-it  and sure enough, there was a little mark of some sort over the final A.

So I was to make it "Alyssá"  as in voilá.  Go figure. Well, what the heck. I added the accent mark.

But no.  She almost wailed.  "It goes the other way!"  She wanted it to  be an accent grave. For some reason I can't make my computer do that so I can't show you.

So I fixed it, but to be honest it didn't look right.

But what is right?   Often I get kids--both boys and girls---who have mysterious apostrophes in the middle of their  names. Q'uineish'a.   LaQuan'da. I could ask my daughter, who is an Arabic scholar, if there is some apostrophe logic that I am not privy to.

Or I could just quit worrying about it, and write their names the way they want their names written, without a second thought.  After all their names are theirs.

Lôi's

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Comments

Guest
Carol Irwin Mack Monday, 29 November 1999

I have so many happy memories of the time you spent in Carlisle. Recently found a book we wrote together!! We are missionaries in South Africa-have been here four years.Came when we were 70!
Carol Irwin Mack

Guest
anne Monday, 29 November 1999

You've prompted me to look out of my childhood bedroom window from the corner of my memories, and I see branches in the foreground. They were part of an ash tree that had to have been one of the oldest in Massachusetts. Our home in Sherborn was built ~1680, and the tree at the front corner had such a wide trunk that I think it took about four people with full-spread arms to wrap a complete circle around it's rough bark surface.
Really? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but this is what I remember.
Oh, and the season is leafless, but otherwise indistinct.

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