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Norma Jean

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

In Shakepeare's Romeo and Juliet, Juliet made this comment in reference to Romeo's last name Montague, the implication being that your name does not determine who you are. Although that is an interesting premise, I suspect a name does both affect and partially define who you are and how you develop.

My name, Norma or Norma Jean, is unusual. Growing up there were no other "Normas" in my school and certainly no other "Norma Jeans". I believe having a unique name had an affect on me. To many the name Norma was considered old-fashioned. Many older people would comment that their mother or their aunt was named Norma. When people found out my middle name was Jean, their first question was often "were you named for Marilyn Monroe?" Regrettably the answer is no. Both of my parents grew up in the country. I was their first child and the plan was to name me Elizabeth Anne, a beautiful elegant Victorian name. When I popped out chubby with a mop of dark curly hair, all 10 pounds 9 ounces of me, they immediately abandoned any ideas involving elegance and decided I looked like a Norma Jean as opposed to a Billy Jean or Bobby Sue or Ellie Mae.

On Wikipedia, the name Norma Jean may refer to everyone from Marilyn Monroe to a circus elephant from Illinois. The famous Norma Jeans are listed as follows:

  • Norma Jeane Mortenson, the given name of actress Marilyn Monroe

  • Norma Jean (band), a metalcore band from Douglasville, Georgia, U.S.

  • Norma Jean (singer), country music singer, nicknamed "Pretty Miss Norma Jean"

  • Norma Jean, the stage name of Norma Jean Wright, R&B vocalist and former lead singer of the disco group, Chic

  • Norma Jean (album), the 1978 debut solo album of Norma Jean Wright

  • Norma Jean, a circus elephant with a marked grave in Oquawka, Illinois

I have accepted and come to terms with my name and contrary to Juliet's now famous comment, I am sure my name had an affect on the person I became.

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