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Always left off the list of names

May 19, 2016
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

I came across a list the other day and realized once again that I had been passed by.

The list stated, "Throughout history, music has been used to communicate some of the deepest emotions from one person to another. Some of the biggest hits are dedicated to specific people to convey the song's sentiment in a major way."

With that introduction, the piece went on to offer a list of the "Top 40 Songs Named after Women."

Included were such favorites as "Once In Love with Amy". "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Maria," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Mandy," "Mrs. Robinson," "Georgia," "Sweet Caroline," "Proud Mary" and many others.

And there, among the rest, was the tune that sparked my jealousy years ago. It was a new song written about "Emily."

Now, not only did my friend Emily have her own song, she inspired another honor I had always yearned for. Emily had a nickname.

All her friends and neighbors in Findley Lake simply called her "Em."

So where was my song?

And where was my nickname?

For some reason, I missed out on both.

I've tried to console myself by looking at it from the songwriters' perspective. After all, how many words could they find that rhyme with Joyce?

As for nicknames, my family had a few, but they were the kind best forgotten as adulthood approached.

When I was ten, however, I did get something of a different name thanks to my neighbor, Mr. Vinnege.

As a lonely widower, Mr. V. enjoyed having the neighborhood children visit with him when he sat on his big front porch.

Early in our friendship, I confided in Mr. V. that I really didn't like my name. I wanted to be "Veronica" or "Tiffany" or something much more impressive than plain old Joyce.

Mr. V. gave my problem long consideration, making me feel he understood how important it was to me. Then one day, he announced with a smile. "You know, Joyce, I don't know why you would want to change your name. I think it suites you quite well. Whenever I hear it, I think of "Joyous."

As the years passed, no songs, no nicknames came my way.

Then, in my teen-age years, I spent my summers as a camp counselor. In that setting it seemed everyone had a clever and suitable nickname..except me.

Sue, who loved peanuts, was appropriately called "Peanut."

Marlene who came from Kansas was "Corney."

Then there were "Punky." "Squirt," "Mac" and "Birdey."

But, no matter how many times I suggested to my friends that I, too, needed a Camp Nickname, they continually used the official moniker, "Miss Joyce."

Now that I've put a lifetime behind me, I can't help thinking about what Mr. V. said about my name. Though he only lived next door for a few years, I've never forgotten the nickname he gave me and how it changed my feelings about "Joyce."

Still, though "Joyous" is much more descriptive and upbeat than simply Joyce, I still can't think of any words that rhyme. As far as that long-awaited song, I think I'm out of luck.



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