I’m not one to be fussy over my kids names being pronounced correctly. After all, it’s nobody’s fault but my own if I give them names that give rise to confusion in the saying, and I don’t typically bother with the awkwardness of correcting the poor nurse who has to call them from the waiting room or the distant acquaintance who has only seen their name in writing.
But, as someone who was more than a little startled upon first hearing the correct pronunciation of Javert and Jean Valjean (after having read Les Miserables [an abridged version I’m sure] at an age when the possibility of an E and A together doing anything other than follow the old “when two vowels go walking” rule or J’s saying anything other than a hard J sound were unthinkable), I recognize that sometimes it is nice to actually know how to say the names you are reading. And, since I occasionally gather the new little reader or two to this blog, I’ve decided there can be no harm in clearing the confusion every year or so:
Jesse. It’s not Jess-ee. It’s just Jess. But it’s spelled like Jess-ee. Which is very confusing. I know. It’s a family name. Said one way and spelled another. So, he’s just “Jess”, but, with the extra good fortune of having a silent E on the end.
“. . . if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”
“What difference does it make how it's spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.
“Oh, it makes SUCH a difference. It LOOKS so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can't you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you'll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”
I should hate for him to have to be called Cordelia, so we will stick with the silent E. Jesse.
Mette. It’s Scandinavian. Both Mike and I have family from Denmark (and Norway on my side). When we found the name in our family trees, we weren’t even sure how to say it! It just jumped out at us. After a little research we felt fairly confident in our pronunciation: “Meh-duh” (though some of our kids do stress the t’s and say it a bit more like Metta). Of course we still say it in our harshly Americanized way (just like we do with Anders), but I’ve since met another Mette (given that name by her father who served an LDS mission in Denmark) and she’s always used our same pronunciation.
I try very hard not to let my nose know I’m awake. But the nose knows. (Oh good heavens, Nancy. That’s enough.) But seriously. Nearly every night this spring I am just fine unless I have to get up with a crying baby or some such. I’m even fine for the first few minutes of walking up stairs or tucking in little people, but then my nose realizes I am awake and leaps to drippy, runny attention. I can never get back to bed for a good 20 minutes after that because I must keep blowing my nose. I simply must learn to wake more stealthily.
Mike recently saw part of a documentary on beavers. The next day he said to me, “You know, Jesse and Anders are just like little beavers. Everyone thinks they’re so cute, but they cause a lot of damage.”
In Mike’s defense, it wasn’t too long ago that he discovered our lawn mower with both its gas and oil tanks filled with dirt. Jesse had been wondering, with all good intent I’m sure, if he might have found an alternative fuel source.