Nothing, but…

…nonsense, numbers, nuns, and names

Alphabetical Post N

I must admit, I have indeed neglected my duties here at AMD (A Milkman’s Daughter). I guess, to be truthful, neglect may not be the true term; rather, it’s been in neutral. Once again I started and stopped…stopped and started…Null, may be the best term.

A post about neon fashions was quickly nixed. Neon and my pale complexion are not a good combination.


I know what you’re thinking…“You mean you had a $10 coupon at DSW and you didn’t buy these?” My loss!

Next, I started a post about my neighbors…I decided that since they are not always on the pulse of my blog it might be better to remain neighborly. Afterall…


(What would Mr. Rogers say?)



I do love a cardigan, so I’m going to continue to nurture my neighborliness.

I know a set of newlyweds, but they may not want me to share their nuptials until the professional photos are released.


Recently, I read that chalk signs at weddings are “so 2012″…as a teacher, I am a sucker for a good chalk sign.

Indeed, the above, is all nonsense…so let’s get started with the real content of the post.


As time would have it, Hubster added another year to his age. His sister, KM and her husband, Waterman, paid us a visit from Maine to celebrate his birthday weekend. Typically, we do not celebrate Hubster’s birthday for two and one-half whole days, but this year we made a weekend of it. I was utterly exhausted by the time it was over because during the school year I hit the mattress no later than 9:05 pm and start snoring sleeping by 9:06 pm. I stayed up until midnight one evening and 11:45 pm another. My youthful glow and mutlitple bubbly personality has been running on half power for the last two weeks. Numbers will do that to a girl!

Nuns and Names

I received a Catholic education for 16 years (that’s right, grade 1 all the way through college). On the first day of first grade, all of us were placed in one first grade classroom and told to stand against the wall. Needless to say, as my age group was still considered part of the Baby-Boomers, there wasn’t enough wall space.  Sister Noreen* and Mrs.Buckland* told us to listen for our name to be called. Sister Noreen said if you hear your name take a seat at one of the classroom desks. She read very quickly and students began sitting. She didn’t seem to take notice when she called “Ba’mae” P., that it produced no student taking a seat. When she was done, Mrs. Buckland told the rest of us to follow into her classroom. I followed Mrs. Buckland. She told us to stand against her wall because she would seat us in alphabetical order.

While this process was taking place, I continued to stand long past the letter P., which was the first letter in my last name. Suddenly, Sister Noreen appeared at the classroom door. It seems she was seating her students in alphabetical order and she was missing someone from her list. Mrs. Buckland and Sister Noreen looked to the last two girls standing … “What is your name?” she sneered.

Afraid to answer, I let Madonna Wallace* go first. When she said her name, Sister Noreen looked at her with a frown and advised, “You’d better live up to that name.” (My Madonna Wallace went on to earn a full scholarship to UMASS…the real Madonna, the one I think Sister Noreen was talking about, went on to earn millions singing; however not acting, “Like a Virgin”).

Then Sister Noreen looked to me….I said my name Beemie P. (Be Me)* and she challenged, “That is not how you say your name!”

I replied with the confidence of a precocious child who spent two years in kindergarten perfecting the art of coloring inside the lines, “Oh yes, it is. It’s my grandmother’s name and that is how my parents say my name.”

“You are not pronouncing your name correctly and since you don’t even know your name, you can stay with Mrs. Buckland.” Sister Noreen and her sensible shoes trotted out of the room.

Sister Noreen’s First Grade Class

classroom 1st grade (1)

She was a tough cookie…that “Obey” bulletin board was looming over their shoulders all year.

Mrs. Buckland then looked at her list and asked everyone after Soledad Peron* to move back one seat. This produced a few grunts and groans, as well as a disapproving look from the teacher who was presented with the gift of a new student on her list.

“Ba’Mae” P.

Beemie...a childhood nickname

Beemie…a childhood nickname: The name I use on my blog and for creative purposes in this post.

Mrs. Buckland’s Classroom

teachers desk revised

I am just out of camera range in this photo, but the portrait I created of Soledad Peron has quite a prominent place on display.

While having my name mispronounced for the first few years of school was a bit annoying, those who really knew me pronounced my name the way it was intended; those who didn’t went with Sister Noreen’s version. By high school, I began introducing myself with the Sister Noreen version of my name. At the time, it actually seemed, “Cool”. I watched as a few of my female classmates began using their own imaginative spelling for their names or a new nickname to seek an independent identity.

I never felt robbed of my identity because Sister did not pronounce my name correctly, if anything I believe it provided me with a “thick skin”When I introduce myself today with the version my parents intended, I often have those who revert to the Sister Noreen articulation. I have an acquaintance who I would see out & about, and occasionally at social events over the course of 28 years. I realized that for as long as I have known her, she never called me by my name. I sensed she did this because she was afraid she would say it incorrectly, so I inquired. She told me that I was correct, she didn’t want to mispronounce my name. Having no identity, honestly stung a bit more than having my name mispronounced.

I usually do not correct people attempting my name because I find that I am creating an immediate barrier to getting to know someone. Many times I have those who use the Sister Noreen version and ask why I never corrected the pronunciation…


…names can never hurt me.

See what I mean, sucker for a chalk sign.

Until next time…


*names changed to protect the innocent







  1. Nana Diana says:

    Oh! I SO get the NAME thing. I have always gone by my middle name-did not even KNOW it was not my FIRST name until I went to school. I, too, had no idea who they were talking to when they called my name. LOL

    It’s a wonder we aren’t babbling away in some round rubber room after being so traumatized. lol xo Diana

    • Beemie says:

      My son goes by his middle name, thus he can relate to the middle name never being used first. I suppose group therapy is in order.

  2. janey says:

    you have taken me right back to my 1st grade classroom at St Francis Cabrini with Sister Ignatius!!! That was EXACTLY how we were split between the 2 classes and I can remember standing on that wall…..OMG……you jogged that memory right back into being!!!! Catholic schools must have had that procedure in their curriculum!
    Funny Funny stories!! Hope your school yr is going well.

    • Beemie says:

      I believe alphabetical order was the 11th commandment…those stone tablets could only fit 10. Around the 7th grade, when there were fewer nuns, this tradition seemed to go to the wayside, but many of my school friends all had a last name somewhere close to my own. In high school when we had a new crew of nuns, it began all over again.

      So far, school this year is status quo.;)

  3. Kelly L McKenzie says:

    I only had four years of Catholic schooling, starting in grade 9. The convent I attended closed a short 5 years after I graduated (after operating since 1912). Things were rather lax in those later years so I wasn’t subjected to the lining up against the wall deal. Most of our nuns didn’t even wear their habits!
    Your photo is absolutely adorable and speaks volumes to me about your personality. I think you and I would have gotten along very well! I was an R so we’d have been lined up closely together I suspect.

    • Beemie says:

      For sure, with that letter R we would have been close in seating arrangements. Both my elementary school and high school are closed…the nuns were paid $7 per month for their services (my 8th grade nun told us this), once there were no more nuns schools had to raise tuition, most inner city Catholic schools had a population that could not afford those higher tuitions…most moved away to send their kids to suburban schools. I think we will never see that type of education again…I do know some were traumatized by the nuns (trust me, a few had me shaking in my shoes), but for the most part they provided us with exactly what we needed, routine and no excuses, not to mention excellent handwriting.

  4. Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

    Names and pronunciation are sticky subjects and you seem to have a very healthy and good attitude towards those who flub it up. Good for you. I always got “Leigh Anne” for “Leslie Anne” in school. I don’t think I said much, but it always confused me since I didn’t know who they were talking to!

  5. Emily says:

    My oldest daughter’s last name is only three letters, but is mispronounced all the time. (Email me if you really want to know what it is and I’ll tell you). We’ve learned, like you, that it’s just easier to go with the flow most of the time.
    My husband went to a Catholic school in elementary and always tells the story of a time when a nun tied him to his chair because he wouldn’t sit still. I find that ironic now, because I have a hard time getting my husband OUT of his chair these days… 🙂
    Hope you are having a good week!

    • Beemie says:

      The nuns were not fond of creative movement in the classroom back in the day. If the good Sister had just waited 30 years her problem (him getting out of his seat) would be solved. Time has a way of resolving many challenges. As far as the name thing…a “go with the flow policy” seems the best solution.

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