While the name Rochelle isn’t bizarre, it still isn’t heard that often, so whenever I do meet someone with my name it becomes something of an event.
In fact, I have only ever met two or three Rochelle’s and they didn’t spell their name like I do.
It usually happens on the phone at work. A customer will be surprised when I identify myself. Then they go on, “Rochelle is MY name too!” We discuss how infrequently this happens, whether we have a nickname, who named us and why.
I doubt people with names like Mary or Kathy have this experience.
As a little girl I liked the name Patty. If I were named Patty I would have a long pony-tail that swayed when I walked and be Patty with the pony-tail. As I got older I thought of changing my name to Jennifer. If my name were Jennifer then I would be called Jenn or Jenny and surely I would be beautiful and boys would like me and life would be great. My Dad said there was a very sexy actress named Rochelle Hudson but none of my friends ever heard of her so it didn’t count.
I was never called Shelly but rather “Rocky.” Of course, once the movie “Rocky” came out I no longer found the nickname flattering or cool.
As I got older I learned to like my name. I got some pleasure out of knowing that all previous boyfriends would surely think of me whenever they watched the Seinfeld episode “Rochelle, Rochelle” or for that matter anytime they heard the name since it is likely I am the only Rochelle they ever knew.
I like that my father chose my name. I like that I need only my first name to identify me. Madonna, Cher, Beyonce, Rochelle…we share a special bond.
I read about a couple who named their daughter E. That’s it, just the letter E. They thought once she got older she could pick the name she wanted that began with that letter. Turned out she liked E and had no desire to change it. Her brother has the longest name in New York City: Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. They call him, Yo. (Psychology Today, April 2010; You Named him What?!)
When it was my turn to name children I took great pains to choose well. I looked for unique but not bizarre, traditional but not boring. I was not going to spell Alicia “Alyeesha” and my twin daughters’ names would not rhyme. The initials of their first middle and last name would not spell out a wacky message. I am pleased with my choices.
Years ago I was told by a nurse friend that a new mother preparing to leave the hospital with her baby had not filled out the birth certificate. When told she needed to name the baby she said it had already been done.
“See, right here,” she pointed to the certificate, “baby: Female.”
I believe Fee-Ma-Lay Wilson is entering Middle School in September.