When McNally Robinson Booksellers first listed my novel Lost on the Prairie on their website they spelled my name with a lower case l. Marylou. I told the store’s author liaison John Toews that my name was spelled with an upper case L right beside the ‘y.’ MaryLou. He apologized and said their computer program didn’t allow them to change it but assured me people would find my book on their website even if they spelled my name in a different way. Indigo also spells my name with a lower case L and Amazon did originally but they have corrected it.
This problem with my name has happened before. When we moved to Hong Kong and I needed to get a personal identity card I caused a great deal of frustration for the bureaucrat trying to spell my name correctly. His computer program would not allow for that capital L without a space being left between the y and L. It frustrated the poor man nearly to tears but he refused to give up and finally after about an hour or so he figured out a way to do it.
Many people spell my name incorrectly all the time. Even people in my family routinely spell it with a lower case ‘l’. Friends and acquaintances get it wrong much more often than they get it right.
I am not sure where my Mom got the idea to spell my name the way it is. I know the Mary part of my name comes from my Aunt Mary who was a nurse and stayed with my Mom in the delivery room when I was born. I know Irene is for a woman who was my Mom’s friend when they worked at the Brandon Mental Hospital together as volunteers. I am not sure about the Lou part or why Mom figured she needed to put a capital on it.
When I was a kid my siblings just called me Lou and my family nickname was Loolie Poolie.
I’ve become accustomed to people not being able to spell my name correctly and so when asked for it I just automatically say, “MaryLou with a capital ‘L’ right beside the ‘y.’ “
The most common reaction however to people hearing my name for the first time isn’t to ask how to spell it but for them to burst into that song “Well Hello MaryLou” recorded by both Gene Pitney and Ricky Nelson in the early 60s. Someone did that just this week.
I am sure almost everyone has certain issues with their name and its spelling. Do you?