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I have finally decided that my name is OK

Jun 13, 2012 By Carolyn B. Tyler

It has taken 77 years, but I have finally decided that I like my name.

To begin with, I always wanted a nickname. The name "Carolyn" doesn't lend itself to a nickname.

Only one person ever called me by a nickname and that was the late Bill Moffat, who always called me "Carrie."

I liked that. It didn't catch on.

I say I don't have a nickname, but around the Ranger you're likely to hear me referred so as simply "CBT," the way I sign all my copy. My middle name is "Ann." The "B" is for my maiden name of "Butler."

In college, my self-proclaimed clever roommate introduced me as, "Her name is Carolyn Ann Butler. Her initials are CAB. You can call her a cab, if you want."

When I fell in love with a Tyler I determined not to go through with rest of my life with the initials "CAT."

But I didn't have much control over the first name of Carolyn.

Several times I asked my mother why they named me Carolyn. There was none other in the family.

"We just liked it," was the best answer I got.

By chance earlier this week I came across the derivation of the name Carolyn.

It was most popular in the 1930s and 40s, which accounts for the fact that most of the Carolyns I have known were about my age. However, according to the "Baby Names" website, Carolyn is still considered "a very popular first name for women," ranking No. 42 out of 4,276 on the list from the 2010 census. I've not heard of a child named Carolyn in several decades.

While I say there were no other Carolyns in my birth family, in the generations after I married into the Tyler family, two of husband-Bob's great nephews married women named Carolyn, so there are now three of us Carolyn Tylers in my immediate family.

The "Baby Names" website gives two pronunciations -- KARE-a-line and KARE-a-lin. I've always used the latter.

What I finally liked about the name when I found its meaning and name origin is that it is of Old German origin. I've always felt akin to my German heritage, via Pennsylvania Dutch.

And the meaning of Carolyn is "free man."

That I go for.

Carolyn I am, and Carolyn I am satisfied to be.

There is a backstory to all this, with has its own irony.

It lies in the reason I chose to search for the meaning of the name Carolyn.

My senior Boston terrier is named Rita. She was a rescue dog and came to me at the age of 2 years, when she was already accustomed to the name.

My mom didn't like it. "That's no name for a dog," she insisted.

But because Rita had already dealt with so much trauma in her life, I chose not to burden her with a change of name.

I was reading something over the weekend that had a boat named "Rio Rita." I knew "rio" was Spanish for river, but, in behalf of my dog, I wondered about the "rita" part.

That's what set me off to Google "Baby Names" in the first place. "Carolyn" was not the first name I looked up, "Rita" was.

"Rita," it develops, was derived from the name "Marguerite."

My late mother, who insisted "Rita is no name for a dog," was surnamed "Bessie." She hated the name. "It's the name for a cow," she insisted.

But she loved her middle name -- it was Marguerite.

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