Brian was the first person that I ever met with the last name of Hohenbery. He was raised in the small town of Princeville, Illinois: population 1,636. With his Dad being one of 13 children, Brian will tell you that about every third person you meet from Princeville is a Hohenbery. He swears that's why he moved to the south - to make sure that he didn't marry someone from another branch on his family tree. But outside the city limits of Princeville, the name is pretty uncommon.
About a year after Brian and I married, we conceived our son, Drew. I went to my OB-GYN's office for the first time since my name change. I was about 7 weeks pregnant and suffering from a case of "morning sickness" that latest all day long. My doctor said, "Are you sure that it's the hormones making you queezy or is it your new name? Heh. Heh." I didn't know whether to laugh or to punch him in the mouth.
I LOVE being a Hohenbery. I am so proud to be a part of such a loving, wonderful family. But nobody can get this name right. Can't spell it. Can't pronounce it. Most people don't even attempt it. It is not unusual for me to answer a telemarketing phone call and hear the person on the other end of the line say, "Yes, uh... may I speak to, uh... Mr... Brian?" It makes me smile.
Brian and I have a running joke that we are trying to find the person who/ situation that annihilates our name the most. A Best of the Worst, if you will. We've never established an actual prize for winning, but the prize doesn't matter. It's all about the gloat of victory.
Recently I was given an award for contributions to insurance industry media. I was so proud of this recognition, especially considering that I worked with my two sisters this past year to earn it. (In case you're curious about what this entails, we wrote articles about insurance, submitted them for publication and actually had some articles published in real newpapers. But trust me, most of the articles were total snoozers. Blogging is way more fun.)
The first thing that I did was look down at the award to see how bad Hohenbery was misspelled. I laughed when I saw that both my last and first names were misspelled on the award. Since Amanda and Brian are both very common names, nobody ever gets those wrong.
I am now "Amand Hohenberry"... and I win. :)