Here a Penny, there a Penny…..
I was born with the name of Penny Nichols. Not an easy name to live up to. When I was in my teens and 20’s, I went by “Six Cents”.
The name Penny (NOT Penelope) was hard enough. I heard all the usual taunts as a kid. Henny Penny, Bad Penny. My brothers bastardized the name Penelope and called me that, making the “o” long and the last “e” silent. I hated it. Then there was that stupid cartoon on when I was a kid called “Penelope PitStop”. Kids called me that sometimes too.
Then there are those that try to be cute. “A Penny for your thoughts!” or “Penny’s from heaven!”
I always wanted to be called something pretty; something exotic. I tried for a long time to get my childhood friends to call me Eva. But it didn’t stick.
I had enough things to deal with as a kid. I had a big chip out of one of my front teeth, which caused me to look like I had a huge gap there. I had (have) crazy curly/frizzy hair that I could never control. My mom was a single mother for most of my childhood. So money was hard to come by. I wore hand me down clothes (with 3 brothers!) or 2nd hand clothes. They were clean, but never new.
I never got to BUY my lunch, like the cool kids did. I took my lunch in a brown paper sack.
I found out as an adult how I got the name Penny. I always thought it was because my fathers’ name was Nichols, I was his “little Penny”. Apparently I was very small, only about 4 lbs. when I was born.
I got the name Penny because my 2 older brothers thought it would be great fun to have a sister named Penny Nichols.
Needless to say, I hated my name growing up.
I did meet one other Penny Nichols when I was a kid. I was in the 3rd grade. Her name was really Penelope and her last name was spelled differently. BUT she was a Penny Nichols!
I occasionally look up the meaning of my name. Most of the time I can’t find it. What I usually find is Penelope. But I am not a Penelope, I am a Penny!
A few of the meanings I have found are “Web over her face”. What the… ? Or “bobbin”. Uh…ok. Or “a coin”. Duh!
The name Penelope has meanings like “weaver” and “dream weaver”. Which makes more sense than bobbin!!
My mother wanted to name me Rose Marie. There was a popular song at the time by the same name. But my dear brothers would have none of it!
Now as an adult, I like my name. It’s different. You don’t hear it all the time. My last name has changed, so I am no longer Nichols. I can’t imagine being called anything other than Penny now. I have a few friends that have shortened my name to Pen, as a nick name and that’s ok.
I have grown into my name over the years. It’s who I am.
Now, my last name…. Wait. That may be too much for you to handle in one sitting. I think I will leave that for another time.