A Flower by Annie Other Name…?

Click the pic for the original challenge. Adapted from Webster’s Kiss for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write.

It was funny to hear Jessi call me Annie. She loved my name and she always called me Flower, sometimes even in front of friends, like she was flaunting being the one person with that privilege. The two boys who had just seated themselves uninvited in our booth were not our friends.

As much as I’ve always hated my name, I liked it when Jessi called me Flower. There was something about the way she said it, even from the first time in kindergarten, that just made it sound pretty. It made me feel pretty too, a luxury mirrors didn’t afford. At the moment, I felt nervous, and I was grateful she’d protected my dignity.

Flower Schilde is a name that you just don’t give your little girl if you have any feelings for her at all. I was supposed to be born Margaret. That’s the name my parents agreed on. Daddy claims he changed it because when he first saw me in the delivery room, I was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He just wanted to give me a name that reflected it. I’m skeptical. Daddy considers beauty some kind of criminal offense. Besides, I spent the next fifteen years being mistaken for a boy, even by my own grandfather.

It wasn’t just the hippie connotations I caught grief for. I’ve probably been asked, “Is that your real name,” as often as anyone, with due deference to the girls of the world named Sweetie Pie and Baby. I got lots of references to the skunk in Bambi too, many of them not so nice, and it really didn’t work out well for me at all that Flower was a boy skunk.

Sophomore English was a perfect example of why I hated my name. My parents had called me Annie as long as I could remember, except for when I was in trouble. It was a custom in our family to go by your middle name. Yet for some reason, they always forgot and filled in my school registration with my birth certificate name. There were times I thought it was intentional, and Daddy was probably laughing at his desk imagining the discomfort he’d caused me.

Mr. Smythe called out roll for fifth period on the first day of school.

“Flower Schilde?”

It was followed by the accustomed snickers.

“It’s Anne, sir.”

He peered up at me over the top of his glasses. “It says Flower here.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure it’s me and I’m pretty sure it’s Anne,” I said. “…Annie.”

He made some scribbles in the ledger. “Anne Schilde?”

“Here.” I rolled my eyes.

He marked me present and peered over the top of his glasses again. “Have I ever had any of your siblings in my class before, Anne?” he asked. “An older brother or sister?”

“No sir. I don’t have any brothers or sisters.”

He stared at me blankly. “I’m surprised your parents didn’t name you Only,” he deadpanned, and then glanced around to see which students had laughed.

I’m surprised your parents didn’t name you Jerk! I thought. I didn’t feel like getting kicked out of class for saying it.

There were cruder remarks of course, referring in one way or another to a flower as a part of the female anatomy. They really don’t need to be repeated. It was largely due to these latter offenses that my teachers were requested after the mirth of first roll call each semester, to please address me by my middle name. And so while most everyone knew my first name, they all called me Annie.

But Jessi called me Flower. So it was obvious when she called me Annie, she was telling me she didn’t think we should get too familiar with the two boys sitting next to us now in Marlin’s ice cream parlor.

© 2012 Anne Schilde

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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26 Responses to A Flower by Annie Other Name…?

  1. Hi Anne 🙂

    Wow, you have a pretty impressive blog here hon! 🙂

    Xx

  2. Thu says:

    This hits too close to home. It know what it’s like to be made fun of because of your name.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I totally forgot about that, but you told me before. I love your name. ♥ Thu is my favorite day of most weeks. Thu is the pattern sequence in to, too, two… a name that means “loving couple”. Thu is a name that stands for reason. It is why. And when all your evidence is presented, and no one else agrees, it is the sound their ignorance deserves. I think it is a good name! ♥

    • Ermilia says:

      I love original names. People keep calling me Elizabeth because they either don’t notice my name is Eliabeth or because they assume I typed it in wrong. I do however understand the teasing kids receive when their names are unique, so I’m trying to get it all out of my system by using the names on characters rather than kids. So far my top character names are Paisley and Mandolin. We also have a Crescendo, but he goes by Cris.

  3. manty67 says:

    Wow, love the blog. Look forward to reading more. It’s Vikki from “The View Outside’s” fault I found you. Saw your comment on insecure writers.

  4. joetwo says:

    I like how a simple fact, like saying a name differently than usual can lead to such an outpouring of memory. Nice Piece Anne.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Interesting piece of trivia… The first version of this was written in a Facebook chat with “Jessi.” It was the first piece of fiction I ever wrote and I was just making it up as I went along to make her laugh.

      • joetwo says:

        All from a Facebook chat session. I’m impressed, My chats usually involve “What you doing?” “Nothin!” “Wanna Get a Coffee?” “Yep!” The end! No matter how good I am at padding I don’t think I’d be able to extend this much. You’ve got a gift there Anne!

  5. Ermilia says:

    Anne, I forget if this is a pen-name or if this is a true story. Either way I was riveted. Most of my not-so-nice nicknames had to do with my height or boyish figure, but it still brought back memories. Much love Anne, 😀

    -Eliabeth

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Anne Schilde is a pseudonym. Webster’s Kiss deals with the struggle of not being “pretty” or “feminine” among the other struggles Annie goes through. Memories that are born in or colored by dreams always have an element of reality knitted in them, so I expect my stories will often bring back memories for others. Much love, Elia! ♥

  6. I love it. I smiled at the Only Schilde.. Ha. I had plenty of names i suffered through but won’t go into here. Thanks for sharing a darn good story. Randy

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thank you so much, Randy! I hope Webster’s Kiss is a good story. You can read Chapter One here if you like. I’ve written a number of posts here using these characters, including excerpts, adaptations, and “deleted scenes.”

  7. Anna says:

    This is lovely, and I adore how you end at the same place you began, it makes me want to know more about these boys, though I know we should stay away from them 🙂

  8. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    How curious your parents agreed on Margaret, & then came out with ‘Anne’. I’m actually glad I never had to discuss naming Daniel, as his father wasn’t interested/in the picture in an immediate sense (had to ‘come round’ to acknowledge being his father). I haven’t had to discuss his schooling, religion… nothing! If I’d had a daughter, I definitely would have given her my mother’s name.

    ‘Only Schilde’ …. omg, it was a bit funny! I hope no one has ever said that to you before, though. Another terrific story, Anne 🙂

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Noeleen! Of course my comments are as fictitious as my stories, but… “Daddy” used to see young actresses and say stuff like, “They’ll never make another actress like that Ann-Margret.” So that’s where I got the name Margaret Anne. 🙂

  9. I left with a great sense of intimacy and understanding, closeness even between flower and Jessi. Well done.

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