December 31,1994, it’s New Year’s Eve and I am in Times Square waiting for midnight to arrive so Mayor Giuliani can drop the big crystal ball on the city that never sleeps. In 1994 no one ever called me E. I was always very adamant when asked, ” My name is Elizabeth and no, I don’t shorten it thank you very much! ” Well, I was actually more polite than that, but underneath I always thought if I wanted people to call me something else, I would have told them in my introduction.
For reasons unknown to me, some people would feel obliged to come up with nicknames for me as if Elizabeth was too much of a mouthful and I was usually okay with that as long it was not a generally recognized nickname for Elizabeth such as Liz, Beth, or Betty. I have always liked my name, but have been willing at times to accept a nickname that was more of a term of endearment and specific to me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed a good bit in some parts of my life and what I’m willing to answer to is one of those areas. I am not quite sure when I began to feel as if E was an acceptable nickname, but my friend Patrice has called me E for as long as I as I can remember and at some point in the eight years that I’ve known her, it’s become okay with me for my other friends to call me E as well.
Of course if you’d prefer to call me Elizabeth, I’ll always be happy with that. John doesn’t have a nickname for me and I love hearing him say my name with his darling English accent so I’m pleased that he prefers Elizabeth.
In the photograph above I am perched at the junction of two barricades that actually say, ” Police Line Do Not Cross.” When I look at this picture from 1994, it makes me think of several things, one being how easily I seem to be balanced on the barricade (I’m not sure I could pull that off now) and two, the message underneath me. I tend to read it as, there’s a line with E (me) that one does not cross … which translates in my mind to boundaries.
I can be a bit rigid with some of those boundaries and a barricade of sorts can easily come up if someone pushes too hard or crosses a line with me. For years my name was one of those areas. I was polite but firm in my corrections and pretty much insisted people address me by my proper name.
As 50 approaches, I have to admit that I may be beginning to mellow because Gary (the man who owns our village pub) keeps calling me Lizzie and I am really not bovvered by it at all. I choose to see it as a term of endearment and acceptance into my new community.
Let me add here, while I prefer Elizabeth to anything else it does make me smile when my friends call me E.
If you are late to the party and have no idea what Day Nine means … you can catch up by going here for a quick read.
PS. I just found this photograph from the same night and had to add it to show you a bit more of the city getting ready for the ball to drop. My mouth is hanging open … we’ll say in amazement, but who knows really. Sorry it’s a bit blurry, but it was a pretty big party night.
A story from a picture. You are so good at writing one 🙂
I agree with MrsDOF!
I love your stories and your pictures!
I am so happy to call you E. The one syllable of E sounds like home, like family. I am so glad you will have your sister and husband to celebrate such a momentous day. It’s good to be 50. There is a sense of knowing. A comforting maturity. It may not sound like such a good thing on the under side of 50, but it’s a great feeling on this side of 50. So….. come on in, the water’s just fine.
Enjoy the countdown..and what comes after it. In the end, it’s the day today that you are living, so every and all days are as important as each other.
When I named my daughter Elisabeth 26 years ago, I purposefully spelled it with an s so that people wouldn’t call her Liz.
Right. As if they were looking at the spelling as they chopped it off. Sigh.
Mostly she’s been able to ignore nicknames (the younger generation often goes without them, it seems), but I have called her E for most of her life, and I’ve noticed that many of her long term friends call her that when they talk to me about her (emails, usually, in which Elisabeth feels too long for flying fingers.
So Elisabeth she is to most, E to a few. Like you. It’s sweet, I think.
P.S. I too have mellowed about my name with age (I’m 7 years ahead of you). I was called Jenni until I went to college and have been Jennifer ever since except that everyone seems to want me to be Jenni (which they never spell correctly), or, most often these days, Jen. I have pre-empted them by choosing JB, but, you know, I just don’t care as much these days. It’s just a name.
A rose by any other … is still JB.
Amazing how you created a whole story out of this one image..and the metaphors you picked up. Keep on going…
I’ve never been a big fan of my name, but woe be it to anyone who calls me “Janie.” I’ve had (guys mostly) ask if I’m ever called “Janie.” I fix them with a look and respond, “Not more than once.”
And then we wonder why I’m single… 😉
I love the name Elizabeth. However, I have to say, Lizzie suits you. It sounds adventurous, just like you! But I will always call you Elizabeth because that’s what I’ve always known you as. When I met you, you were Elizabeth Harper. And, so, Elizabeth Harper you are.
My Mom named my sister and me Lani and Lisa. She thought they were concise enough names that no one would shorten them. She then proceeded to call us Lan and Lili her whole life. By the by, my middle name is Elizabeth…which I did not learn to spell until the 4th grade, when we learned a bit about Queen Elizabeth.