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I am horrible with names H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E! I have read all the books and the only trick that works occasionally is to make up memory games. This doesn’t always work, but I always try. I probably got this idea when I was a small child and my Aunt Grace lived next door to my Grandparents. Did I mention her name wasn’t really Grace. (she really wasn’t even my aunt she was a cousin or something like that) Yep. I found that out one really awkward afternoon when my grandmother almost died of embarrassment. Despite living next door we did not see her often, but one fateful afternoon our paths crossed and waived and yelled “Hi Aunt Grace!” My grandmother, who was right behind me, wrapped her hand around my mouth and ushered me into the house. Give me a break I was like eight.

Her name, apparently, was Aideline.  I swear I never heard anyone (even my mortified grandmother) call her that. Maybe they did and I just didn’t know who they were talking about. Per my uncle there were so many cousins and aunts around my uncles made up “Aunt Grace.” She was dubbed that because she wasn’t very.. well graceful.  I do know that if she was still living today and I saw her on the street I wouldn’t say a word – heaven only knows if Aideline was her real name either. Maybe it was Gertrude and Aideline was just some other thing they made up.

As an adult I found myself doing that same thing. Its terrible and can sometimes backfire. I had to work on a project with a lovely woman named Laura Bloom. I had met her a number of times and knew her husband well as he was a prominent member of our community. I could not for the life of me remember her name – I dubbed her Lisa Flowers. The only problem with that is I told my best friend who was also working on the project and the only reason I could remember her real name was I lived in fear of calling her the wrong name.

Recently I have decided all of this is too hard and when encounter I a person whose name I can’t remember I don’t even try to skirt by. I just offer my hand and say, very sincerely with lots of direct eye contact,  “I know I should know your name but it has slipped my mind I am so sorry.” Embarrassing yep, a little, but way better than calling your clumsy aunt “grace” or a co-worker by a completely made up name. I have to do the “I don’t your name thing” quite often. Even when I meet puppy raisers. See I never forget a dog’s name, it’s their people’s name I can’t remember. I  have a habit of calling them by the dog’s name like: Oh Hi! Your “fill in puppy’s name here”‘s mom. I introduce them the same way – Oh have you met Spot’s puppy raiser?” You get the idea.

Now I have eight little names to remember. It is isn’t just that there are eight names to remember, it is that they too already have nicknames. So I have to erase the nickname and start using their real names (think of poor Lisa Flowers). When CCI puppies are born they are tracked by birth order and birth order is tracked by color. For 11 days now we have been looking for the “brown puppy” under the covers, listening to the “red puppy” talk, digging the “light pink puppy” out of Sabina’s armpits. It isn’t that easy to shake the paw of a pup and say I am sorry, you live here, I helped bring you into the world but I don’t know your name. Especially when you would have to do that 100 times a day times eight.

Alas, no more waiting I know you are all in suspense so here they are:

  • Red (F) Chai
  • Blue (F) Clementine
  • Purple (F) Clara
  • Neon Green (F) Cate
  • Neon Pink (F) Cindylu
  • Brown (M) Chili (The Bean Name – Chili BEAN!)
  • Light Pink (F) Contessa
  • Dark Green (F) Calliope II

The upside of getting names so early is that hopefully by the time they turn in there will be a little name recognition. (on everyone’s part) That is if I can get it together and remember them. If you plan on dropping by, don’t worry there won’t be a test. I am taping a list to the wall. Hopefully we will get this down in the next 50 or so days. Paws crossed.