Monday, March 28, 2016

What's In A Name?

I was contemplating a name change 35 years ago. I definitely was ready to marry Mr. Randy Fritzemeier, but I wasn't so sure that I was ready to give up my easy, five-letter last name for his 11-letter monstrosity - especially when it came to newspaper bylines.

As luck would have it, The Hutchinson News published a special bridal section that was delivered in the Sunday paper the day after my Saturday, March 28, wedding. As one of The News' lifestyle reporters, I wrote several stories in the special section. I also wrote a column called "Name's like an old friend; it's hard to give up."

Today, Randy and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. For one, I can't believe it's been 35 years. For two, I can't believe I actually found the newspaper supplement in my boxes of "stuff." For the record, I'm glad I changed my name, both personally and professionally, even though it's rarely spelled correctly (which is a big deal to a newspaper reporter/editor). Just for chuckles, here's what my 23-year-old self wrote back then:
It's a traumatic experience to lose your identity. For 23 1/2 years of my life, I've been Kim L. Moore to my family, to teachers, to the bank, to credit card companies. 

My parents obviously like the name. They gave it to me. And I've never been one of those people who complain constantly about the lifetime affliction branded upon them when their parents gave them a "John Henry" of their very own.

I'll admit it: I've heard often enough, "Your real name is Kimberly, isn't it?" To which I always replied, "No, just Kim. My parents don't believe in nicknames." And, with my unisex name, I've received a few letters addressed to "Mr. Kim Moore."

But, all in all, I've grown fond of that name. It's mine.

But not anymore. Kim (just plain Kim) will stay the same, but the last name underwent a big change. Literally. It jumped from five letters to 11 in a single half hour. I married a Fritzemeier yesterday, March 28. For another time in my life, I'm vastly thankful my parents don't like nicknames. Kimberly Fritzemeier would take too long to sign on anything.

I realize women change their names all the time. It happens hundreds of times per day across the country. My situation is a little different. My professional identity is tied up in my name. For a year and eight months, people have been reading stories in The Hutchinson News by Kim Moore. I "sign" every story with it through my byline. A teacher doesn't have her name stamped on a child every time she teaches his something. A librarian doesn't have her name stamped on every book she checks out. But my byline is an integral part of my story. It's there, front and center, for everyone to see. 

People tell me quite often they look for my name. My name is linked every week to my "Cook of the Week" feature and to "Herman," the sourdough starter. Will readers know to look for a new name?

I have no qualms at all about being Mrs. Randy Fritzemeier. Well, truthfully, I'd rather be called Kim Fritzemeier so I don't lose both my names. I'll use the name with pride and pleasure in my private and social life. My credit cards will change, as will my checking account and post office box. That's fine. I'm prepared. 

But I wanted to remain Kim Moore for my professional life. Randy doesn't agree. He said anyone who knows us will know about the change anyway. And he said the people who don't personally know us are smart enough to figure out that the Kim Fritzemeier now writing the "Cook of the Week" is the same person as Kim Moore.

I understand how Randy feels. Fritzemeier is his name; he's used to it. I don't have any quarrel with the name either. The name's fine, though one of my pet peeves is having names misspelled. 

Randy and his parents say with a name like Fritzemeier, you're bound to have you name misspelled at least half the time. In fact, I had to give my own family instructions on adding enough "E's" in all the right places. 

By the time this appears, I've already lost my name. It's hard saying goodbye to an old friend who's treated you well. 
Happy Anniversary to the guy who is responsible for my name change all those years ago. I'm still blessed to be your wife.


  1. Replies
    1. Wow ... you can't believe we're that old or what?

  2. Congratulations and best wishes for many more happy years. Do you still write articles for the papers?

    [Our 35th is in May]

    1. No, I haven't written for The News for many years. I worked for them full-time for 9 years, then wrote a column from home for a couple of years.

      Congrats on your 35th also! Doesn't seem possible, does it?

  3. Happy 35th Anniversary, Kim and Randy! I like your name thoughts from 35 years ago. I'm sure you enjoyed remembering who you were when you wrote that article, how life has developed and how you have grown into the person you are today.

    I hope you had a blessed Easter and Anniversary celebration.

    1. It's funny to see how relevant I thought it would be. I think I've grown up a little ... at least, I hope so!

  4. Congratulations Kim & Randy on your 35th wedding anniversary.

    I loved reading your article, even if you did add it only for "chuckles". I am learning so much about you, my friend afar, from your blog!

    1. Thanks, Lynda! I, too, love the connections we are establishing across the miles!