16 May 2006

We are not alone.

If there was one thing I could always count on growing up, it was the fact that I would be the only Biddinger in my class, and in my school, most likely. As a kid I was somewhat lukewarm about my name. Nobody could say it right. It was long. It inspired nicknames like "biddy." But once I got to college I decided that I loved it. When I got married I kept it. When I moved to Ohio, I knew I wouldn't be the only one any more. This is Biddinger country.

Around here they spell it with one d and sometimes pronounce it differently: bid-in-jur instead of bidding-ur. Last week our new family medicine doc was surprised to see that we weren't established patients--there are lots of Bid(d)ingers that go to the practice. I made an appointment for Gabi's 4 year birthday photos; how funny, the only other people with an appointment that day were also Biddingers. And who could forget Bidinger's Ice Cream in Wadsworth, Ohio?

In less than two weeks, my folks will be moving to Akron from Chicago, thus increasing Ohio's Biddinger population by two. For those of you who don't have uncommon names, this must seem like a strange thing to contemplate. But for me it's quite bizarre and rather intriguing. As far as I know, I am the only Biddinger poet. That's a title I would like to keep.

7 comments:

Gerald Huml said...

Since I have an usual last name, I can relate to what you are saying. My last name is pronounced Hummel (like the figurines, Hum-el) even though it is spelled Huml. People are always trying to add extra letters to my name, particularly the vowel e. My last name is a Czech name, and we think that somewhere down the line we dropped the e from our last name, which was probably originally Humel. In German Huml means bumble bee, so we wonder if we had an ancestor that was a beekeeper or if we had an ancestor that was restless and moved around like a bumble bee. Anyway, I always scratch my head when I order say a pizza or give the hostess my last name in a restaurant. I always say this, “It’s Huml. Four letters. H-U-M-L.” They always either ignore what I say and make it Hummel or Humel, or they look at me with confusion and say, “That’s it?” It’s amusing to see how my last name is spelled on junk mail. I’ve seen Humi, Hume, Hum, and my favorite: Homo.

Penultimatina said...

Gerald! :)

I'm so happy that I've been pronouncing your name correctly in my head all this time.

Justin Evans said...

Mary:

There is a twist to the normal, average, common name.

I was having a conversation with Leslie Norris about a decade ago. Because it was our first, I thought I would play the whole Welsh card. He asked me my last name and when I told him, he said without the slightest air of exaggeration, "I grew up near a small village where the entire population had the last name of Evans."

That would be weird.

Gerald Huml said...

I'm glad, Mary. :-)

wayne said...

You know what's freaky is that I get e-mail from the grad student union all the time and the name of one of the senders is M. Biddinger. I keep thinking it's my lucky day, getting email from the poet laureate of Akron, Ohio, but alas, just spam. And not even the Austin, Minnesota variety.

Penultimatina said...

Wayne, I wonder if that's Megan Biddinger. I've gotten calls for her before, back when we both apparently lived in Chicago (my number was listed as M. Biddinger).

Glad she's following the Biddinger tradition of the Maize & Blue! I used to swear that my kids would be Wolverines, but now with this whole free-tuition-until-23 benefit at UA, I may be breeding Zips instead...

mbid17 said...

Hello fellow Bid(d)inger. My family owns Bidinger's Icecream... Swing by and ask for Dave. He'll get a kick out of the pronunciation of our last name. Everyone in Wadsworth uses the "jur" versus the "gur".