Sunday, 2 June 2013

Storytelling Sunday Three: Pick Your Precious

Storytelling Sunday Three? There is no excuse for not joining in with this one! Everyone can do it. Pick Your Precious is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things.

Ready to begin?

The Copper Bracelet

Now here's something that'll make you laugh. When I went to hunt out my Precious this month I couldn't find it. i know what you are going to say: So much for Precious. Maybe you'd be right. After I'd balanced on a kitchen chair to look on the shelves and done that thing - you know the one, where you look under the bed, realise you're covered in dust, consider bringing out the vacuum cleaner and then reconsider very quickly - and scratched my head, I realised what my missing Precious was telling me. What I think we are all becoming more aware of as the year goes on: the story can be more fun to hold on to than the thing itself.

The thing, the Precious, this month? (because The Not So Small One found it, of course, she can find anything) I think it cost less than a pound, when I was, oh, about thirteen, maybe? It doesn't look like much now. It was a cheap little thing, even then. But - and this is the big bit - it had my name on it.


Some of you will understand what that means. If there aren't a lot of "you" around. When I was growing up there were no other "Sians" for miles around. Possibly not surprising, because it's a Welsh name and we didn't live in Wales; but a tricky situation when you are little and your second name is also so unusual you are the only one in the phone book. Nobody could say it (it's "Shan"), nobody could spell it, not even the teachers at school. I dreaded the first roll call of the school year. Doctors, dentists, opticians, hospitals? Every receptionist left me to the end of the queue: clever, on their part, because it meant they didn't have to announce me. I was the only one left. Wow, my Mum must have picked up a lot of useful stuff from all those magazines she read while we waited.

But all of that I could take. I got used to gritting my teeth and smiling sweetly through everyone else's mangled vowels. What I couldn't bear so easily was the lack of stuff. The little things we all like to gather round us as children: proof of ourselves, things named as our own. Souvenir keyring with my name on it? Nope. Mug from a service station shop? Not a chance. Personalised birthday card? Dream on, Sian. It seemed to matter in the 1970's world of novelty items. Funny, now. And so, that's why my little copper bracelet became so important. I spotted the "any name engraved" sign in a shop when I was on holiday at the seaside, and I begged , and I was allowed to order one. I picked it up the next day and the shiny copper sang out that I was Sian, and life was good. Best holiday souvenir ever. Even if it did turn my arm green.

Things are different now. I spend a lot less time in queues since I became Mrs Fair. But I've grown to like my name. It makes me think of those lovely words "I came into the world with nothing and I'll leave with nothing but love". We arrive with nothing and what's the first thing we are given? A name. The first thing anyone chooses just for us. That's worth holding onto. That's precious. I don't really need the bracelet - or even the copper stained green arm - to remind me.

And that's my story done for this month. If you have one of your own to share - and I very much hope that you do! - write your post, introducing it as a Storytelling Sunday story, and come over and link us up. It doesn't have to be about anything precious: we love all kinds of stories here and we promise to give it our full attention. Everyone welcome!

40 comments:

Amy said...

Sian, I completely relate to your story today. Growing up in a small country town in rural Australia there wasn't another Amy within coo-ee. No mugs, notepads or anything with my name on it.
Now days it seems to have had a resurgance and there are a few I come across - they are aged between six and twelve I find!

Karen said...

I know how you feel as Gracia (Gray-cee-a) feels the same. She is constantly called Gracias and once in school assembly when a lady from the local library was awarding prizes was called Grassie Arse in frot of the whole school and that tool a long time to live down. As for the NSSO finding your copper bracelet. When Gracia was home at Easter I got a photo text of her holding a ring with the caption "is this your missing engagement ring" it was and had been missing for about 10 years!

Missus Wookie said...

As a woman who married into a family who were the only ones in the phone book... and who has to spell both names on a regular basis I do understand :)

I like Sian (and being part Welsh had come across it before) and agree it was sensible of you to marry someone with an easier to spell last name.

One thing I've found interesting over the last few years is how many unusual names there are in exam papers and textbooks - reflecting the ethnic diversity when they were written. Have thought it could be an interesting social research project to see how the names appeared and I'm sure disappeared as new groups arrived.

Louise said...

Ha ha - i wondered if your lovely bracelet turned your arm green!! My grandparents are welsh and I spent a lot of times in Wales so Sian was a familiar name to me. I remember though the first time I came across it and it took a while to get to grips with the spelling.

My sister "Marnie" felt just like you growing up...I had all sorts with my name on it from necklaces to pencils and she had none!

Great story, there is something there for everyone xx

Becky said...

Penny would quite agree with you on this! We have only ever found about two things with Penny or Penelope on and they were in Australia! Glad you managed to find one thing with your name on and that the Not So Small One managed to find the bracelet too :)

Chipper Newman said...

Even with a 'common' name like mine (Christine) I very rarely found anything with my name on it! It was ALWAYS Christina or Chrissie!!!! I am most definitely neither of those! I had one thing with my name on it as a kid. My mom bought it for me ... a tiny name badge with my name and the meaning of my name :-) I still have it. Only The Princess regularly finds her name on things ... if the boys find anything with their name on it we buy it!

I managed to join in this time!

JulieJ said...

DD has a similar issue. Growing up in England there's not a lot of demand for things with Siobhan on them. And of course very few people can spell it, small children can't say it and when we went to see Santa in Lapland, the elf came bounding out of the cottage shouting 'Si-o-ban, we've been waiting for you!'

Jo said...

Great story and a lovely bracelet. Being a Jo I'm the other end of the scale, there is named stuff everywhere but it also meant I shared a class at school with 5 other Joannes!

debs14 said...

I remember how the fashion was for having your name on jewellery - and I was quite lucky I guess that Debbie was a popular name at the time. I work in a girls school and some of the names nowadays are eye opening! People try to find new ways of spelling old names and you just know the hassle they are causing their children. Abbeygail instead of Abigail? Or even just the actual names they are giving - why would Mr & Mrs Lee call their daughter Heaven? (honestly, that did happen!)

Twinkle Star said...

I had the same problem growing up with a French name, living in Wales! Never could find anything with my name on, so it was such a treat to get my name heat burned onto a wooden dolphin brooch :)

Luckily, my children won't have that problem!

I really enjoyed your story, you have such a way with words!

Hugs, Estelle xx

Sheena said...

I can totally relate with your story Sian as I too had two unusual names growing up. I remember once my parents had a mug specially printed with my name on as we could never ever find anything that said Sheena !

But oops it looks like I've given the same curse to our daughter with our choice of her name...

Julie Kirk said...

Loved the story Sian. Growing up it was always frustrating not to be able to find any greetings cards with the word 'Mam' on them. While there were [and still are]hundreds of 'Mum's and plenty of 'Mother's on them there was never a 'Mam' and that's what we [and I'm sure plenty of other people in various regions, but especially parts of the North East] call theirs. It's like you say - you want to feel like the name you use is validated / recognised. I used to think we must be doing something wrong!

Obviously nowadays I just make the cards myself!

Kirsty.A said...

Yes. I always loved it when I found the occasional thing with Kirsty spelled "my" way on it. My good friend Jacinta had a much worse time of it.
Funny story - my middle name is Therasa (with an A in the middle) My Dad didn't know Mum had spelled it like that until I was 14 and asked him to sign my passport application for a school French trip!

Jane said...

I always think that when people give their children unusual names!

Jennie Hart said...

I did find the odd Jen or Jennie but usually it was Jennifer and i'm not one. I can understand how annoying that must have been. I am glad you like your name, it is nice to have something different and traditional. My Dad wanted to call me Genevre, which I was horrified about when he told me when I was young, but I would have quite liked it now.

You have such a great storytelling style, I have loved it as usual :)

laurie said...

Rarely do we love something because of what it is - like you explain in your story, the things we treasure are often symbolic for something nontangible. I'm glad you found your bracelet so we could enjoy your story.

Jimjams said...

Fabulous story and, judging by the comments so far, one that resonates with a lot of people. Jemma (with a J) isn't so common either ... but that's what you get for making up a different name from the one your parents gave you!!!

Irene said...

Another gem of a story, Sian. Our names are certainly precious; they make up our identity. I laughed out loud at the thought of your identity bracelet turning your arm green but I bet you wore it anyway.
Sad to have missed some of the exciting things that have been happening on your blog. Makes for great reading though.

scrappyjacky said...

Funny old things names....I remember at primary school there were 3 Jacquelines in my class....and not another one in the whole school!!

Carmen said...

Same here with me. No other Carmen's in all of Scotland it would seem! I was always being called Carmen or even Caramel! Even now my girls get all excited when a Carmen comes on the TV. And for a Carmen to be in Tracy Beaker! Excitement overload!

My Devvie is the same - can never find those named items. So my friend who hails from Devon (the place) made her year once by bringing back a beaded keyring with, of course, Devon spelt out in beads. Souvenir of the place? Or perfect pressie for a little girl with an unusual name:) Funny thing is there are now two or three girls with the name in our area - maybe she started a trend ;)

Carmen said...

Should've said I was always being called Carmel. Duh!

Alison said...

There weren't many Alisons around either...plenty of items which said 'Alice'! ..and I had a green wrist on many occasions too!
Alison xx

Melissa said...

I definitely remember all those souvenirs with names on them and have a few small ones in my group of precious items still. Melissa was a fairly common name, so it was easy to find. I can imagine how much this meant at the time and the story is a wonderful one to have recorded here now!

Barbara Eads said...

I think every little girl (and big ones too) love things with their name or monogram on them. I remember feeling sorry for my best friend, Reenie. Her name was so unusual, she could never find anything with her name. The same was true of those 70's hippy type moms who decided to change the spelling of perfectly normal names like Christine (Kristyne) or Nancy (Nanci). It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just set those girls up for a lifetime of misspellings and mispronunciations.

Ifa said...

Great story. I so prefer unique names. A & I do look at named products on behalf of our boys and fail...much to the amusement of the boys.I am glad you found the copper bracelet after all.

Linda said...

LOL at all the name stories! Mine of course was very popular back then (but you never hear of a new baby now called Linda do you?) We were all Lindas, Karens and Susans in my school! My DD was one of 3 Lucys in her class - so was Lucy P to everyone!

Miriam said...

Thanks for this lovely story. (and all the great comments!) I wrote a post about how I felt about my name, glad I didn't post it now :)

Sandra said...

I wonder what the future for so of those children with really out there names ... The so called celeb names :).

Gail said...

Oh I can so relate to this (Gail is not my first name - I gave up on it). I never ever did find anything with Edith on it and people (even now) don't seem able to pronounce it properly - they're forever saying Adit and not Edith with the th sound.

S said...

Oh what is in a name - stories and scrapbook layouts and aggravations little and big! In fact, your story - along with something that happened to me this a.m. - have me all set up for next month's precious. You are the best kind of storyteller - you make us all want to tell stories too!

Jennie said...

Oh I do so understand! I don't think my daughter's have ever forgiven me for their names - they too could never have "stuff" with their names on - - they were never there either! We always had to resort to finding somewhere to get customised items!I'm late to the party - but I have been away with no internet access!
J x

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Such a fun story, Sian, and it seems like everyone can relate to having a name that's not readily available on printed items. Of course, my name was all over the place and I hated it because it was so common! I always thought my sister got the cool name (Valerie) because she was the only one in school with that name.

PS: I'm late to the party this month, but have a story scheduled to post tomorrow morning. I'll be back to link up then... xo

dogmatix said...

I can totally relate to this. While my name when u say it is pretty common (the tarzan jokes were the favourite in the playground) but, at school, it was rare to find a Jayne, rather than a Jane so I was very proud of my Y...it made me unique. It did make it harder for me to find the novelty gift though and that always bugged me.
Talking of unique names, my hubbys name at home is fairly common....Jeremy! But the amount of invites we get in Ireland that spell his name with a G (Germay being my particular favourite) shows that its not so well known here lol

Sandie said...

Sian, you have a beautiful name and you are quite right, having a name that is unusual does mean you miss out on the merchandise but it also means you are special.

Susan said...

Great story! I remember the 70's and all the stuff that was sold with names. Even though my name was fairly common for that time, it was often "Sue" or "Suzie" that was available and I didn't want to be either of those. I wanted my real name! LOL Also, it's so nice to finally know how to pronounce your name. Jen and I always refer to you as "See-Ann". A while back I found a thing online to type in a name and it would say the pronunciation out loud - you ended up being "Sharn" then. LOL Even though I now know how to say your name, you'll probably always be See-Ann to us. ;-)

Maria Ontiveros said...

Your story is so well told this month. . . . just lovely. And the bracelet is, too.
rinda

Karen said...

I've always had a remarkably easy name to pronounce (my maiden name was Barr) and Karen was quite popular when I was younger (less so now), but I often try to find a little something with my granddaughter's name on it (Skylar) and have yet to find a single thing. Caleb shows up once in a while, but not often either. It's good to be back catching up with you today! I've had to admit that Storytelling Sunday is going to have to wait until the July edition, but I'll try to get around to those posted here later.

Cheri said...

I can relate! Not that Cheri is such an unusual name, but the spelling is... so I could find "Sherry" or "Cherie" but not MY name. In fact, I can't tell you how many people want to pronounce my name "cherry" like the fruit rather than "sherry" like the wine! I made sure that my own daughters would never have that problem and gave them all traditional biblical names with normal spellings!

tidbitsandtreasures2011 said...

I like the conclusion you draw here--of how precious a person's name is, that it's the first gift they are given. I like that very, very much.

As for having an unusual name, I understand completely. I didn't meet another "Wanda" until I was a young adult, and it was impossible to find anything with my name on it. So you can imagine my delight a couple of years ago, when I met two other Wandas on the same day! And I've been able to find a thing or two with my name already on it too.

Angelfish said...

I think it's a lovely name and have known one or two over the years. I didn't know anyone else with my name until I went to secondary and there was another girl in my class. Thankfully my Dad didn't get his way 44 years ago, otherwise I would be Juanita! I think I would have struggled to find anything personalised with that name.

Related Posts with Thumbnails