Letter: What’s in a name

As noted in a recent “court log,” clerk magistrate Kenneth Chaffee made a statement “for the record” that he was not related to a defendant with the same last name.

I have a story about my ethnic Slavic Russian last name some may find humorous.

While generally OK, this name has a couple of problems.

Number one, it is not easily readable at first glance. So throughout school, most teachers did not attempt to pronounce the name at roll call. I was “Alan O – O – Oh. Please say your last name Alan.” I was shy and hated to be the center of attention on the first day.

Number two, our pronunciation does not correspond to the spelling. Many times people have wondered why my family had an unlisted phone number. Well, we did not have or want an unlisted number. Why have a phone if people cannot call you?

Well, names can be changed and my uncle had changed this name in the late ’50s. I asked my dad his opinion. He had no problem as he was not fond of it either. But he advised the best time to do it is when going away to school, the military, or moving.

So I spent time selecting my future new name and picked one. It started with the same three letters, was shorter and easy to pronounce. PERFECT!

And then Lee Harvey shot the president. So much for my new future name.

At least there are not enough Owseichiks to get in too much trouble.



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