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What’s in a name? Everything

By Staff | Jul 31, 2009

I read an article in a Baby Names book awhile back about the pros and cons concerning naming a child after his father.

The article went into great detail about all the confusion having two people with the same name in the same household would cause. In this book appeared a letter from a mother lamenting on how naming her son after her husband was a big mistake.

When he was a baby it was no problem. They called the son Billy, and his father was Bill. When Billy got older, he decided the name was too babyish, so he asked to be called Bill. So they called one Big Bill and the other Little Bill. That worked out fine until Little Bill got bigger than Big Bill. Then they changed to Young Bill and Old Bill, and as you might imagine, Old Bill wasn’t too thrilled about being called old.

It’s one thing to have a child with the same name as his father. That child will likely move out of the house someday and the confusion will ease a bit, especially with phone calls and mail addressed to the same person. But what about when two people with the same name choose to marry each other? There’s an entirely new set of confusing issues that come along with that.

I recently came across a story on the Internet called “A Tale of Two Kellys,” about two young people – a man and a woman with the same name – who met on Facebook (the social networking website) and now plan on getting married.

The pair share the same name – Kelly Hildebrandt. Kelly the female is from Coral Springs, Florida, and Kelly the male is from Lubbock, Texas. After meeting by chance on the Internet the pair met in person, fell in love and are now engaged to be married. Kelly the male recently moved to Florida. Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Well, the couple is already finding out that having the same name might be a great story, but it has its drawbacks. Kelly the female is finding out that it’s confusing when it comes to the mail. She’s quoted in the story as saying, “We have to open everything, because we don’t know whose mail is whose.”

I’m sure that’s just a drop in the bucket when it comes to confusing situations for a married couple with the same name. This got me thinking about a local couple living here in Rugby named Darcy and Darcy Martin.

When I talked with Darcy the female she, too, had read the story about the two Kelly Hildebrants who decided to get married. She naturally found it quite amusing.

Although Darcy the female didn’t start out as Darcy Martin like the couple I mentioned above, I couldn’t help but wonder what sorts of troubles this couple has encountered over the years. She actually started out as Darcy Rhone from Devils Lake. Darcy, her husband, grew up around Anamoose.

Darcy the female says that after all these years she and her husband have figured out ways to ease the confusion, but for outsiders it’s not so easy. She said that phone calls and mail are confusing. When people call and ask for Darcy, they simply say, “Speaking,” and then try to figure out which one the caller really wanted.”We get a lot of Darcy he or Darcy she or Mrs. Darcy or Mr. Darcy when people are trying to distinguish which of us they want to speak with when they call,” she said.

Sometimes things do get confusing for outsiders. On one occasion the Martins had an insurance policy inadvertently cancelled because the company thought it was a duplicate.

But all in all, Darcy the female said it’s really fun because it’s sure to catch people off guard when they introduce themselves as Darcy and Darcy Martin. It’s also makes for some great conversation when people find out the pair shares the same name.

“It’s great to watch people’s expression when we meet and introduce ourselves for the first time. But you notice who’s really listening,” she said. “If they are really paying attention, most of the time they pause for a moment and ask our names again.”

Darcy and Darcy Martin will celebrate 25 years of sharing their lives (and names) together this year.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

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