Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Moments 2009: March 19 - Name Changes, Chapter 1

March 19 - Name Changes, Chapter 1
by JoAnne Parente

(Editor's Note: No surprise - lots of us still are known by the other names we acquired while with the Saints. This is my story.)

Facebook. That magical, virtual place where my two names are colliding over and over again. Nick, Tony, and everyone else out there who are confused by my name, this one's for you ...

Today, on the feast day of
my adopted patron Saint Joseph, I'll share with you all how I went from Marilyn to JoAnne. (stop snickering!)

Ralph Fair came to the Saints in mid-1968, and primarily worked with what we called the Big Guard. I was with the Little Guard, or Guide-Ons, at the time, and still remember how thrilled I was when Ralph asked me to march with the Big Guard after their first winter season ended in Spring 1969.

Around the same time, a new member named Joann (last name intentionally omitted) joined the guard. Other than the color of our hair, we looked NOTHING alike. For some reason, Ralph called her Marilyn, and me ... well, you figure it out.

She quit after only a few weeks. My name went with her.

It got to the point that people had to refer to me as "Marilyn, the one you call Joann," for Ralph to know who they were talking about. That shortened to "the one you call Joann." Finally, once I accepted the idea that Ralph was NEVER going to call me Marilyn, I embraced the name change with my own spelling.

Since the JoAnne thing happened the summer before I started at St Mary's, I used that name all through high school and college. Even though my parents never changed how they addressed me (
the first few times people called the house asking for JoAnne, my parents would tell them they had the wrong number), somehow my two youngest sisters (born in 1969) didn't realize my first name was Marilyn until their first day of kindergarten - that's a story I'll save until the next time I see you.

When I started working for the federal government after graduation, it became too cumbersome to use a non-legal name. That's when I went back to the M-word. To this day, I respond to people based on the name used when we were introduced.

Which do I identify with more? Depends on the situation, but most of the time it's JoAnne ...

Ralph, thanks ... I think

Interested in submitting your own favorite memories for March Moments? Click here to submit, or if that doesn't work, send them to joparente DOT saintsdrumcorps AT gmail DOT com.

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