Which Sandi are you?

When I was in 7th grade, I met another Sandra, and she spelled Sandy with an “ie” instead of a “y”… Sandie.   Ohhhh, I thought that was soooo cool. (As only an excitable 7th grader can.)  After Sandie and I became friends, I told her (I’m sure with lots of envy in my voice) how neat I thought it was that she used a unique spelling for Sandy.  So (and here’s probably one of the reasons that we became good friends), she suggested a way that I could spell my “Sandy” differently too…Sandi.   Wonderful!  Now I was “cool” too!  So, from then on I was known as “Sandi”.  And I loved having a unique way of spelling my name.

Then after Hubby and I married and had our two small  children, when I was about 25 years old, Hubby’s younger brother Keith began dating a new teacher at our Lutheran grade school who had just moved here from Iowa, and her name was Sandra too…annnnd, she spelled her nickname “Sandi”!

Well, you guessed it…Keith married “Sandi”.  Thus began a long and sometimes complicated relationship between two sisters-in-law who had exactly the same name (yes, our middle name is Kay), including spelling our nickname, Sandi.

Looking back it is amazing to me that one or the other of us didn’t at least start spelling our nickname some other way right then, but we didn’t and I can only guess that we didn’t think it would be that big a deal — after all, she was a teacher and I was a secretary.  It wasn’t like we were ever going to work together!

Well, what we couldn’t have predicted was how confusing it was going to be to share your exact same name with your sister-in-law, made just that much more confusing by sharing our nickname too.

Twice we lived on the same street.  Luckily, both of those streets were on the mail route of a very special man named “Marv” who was the most conscientious mail carrier I have ever known.  So Marv was always very careful not to mix up our mail.

We have also found out  over the years that it’s best if we avoid sharing doctors.  Did I mention that both of our birthday’s are also in May?  So, that makes it just that much more likely that someone in a doctor’s office will see the name, glance at the birthday and just see “May”, and assume they have the right person.  We memorably learned this lesson when a person at the office of a doctor we both went to, called and left her test results on our answering machine!

The way Hubby’s family always differentiated between us is that they hyphenated our names with our husbands.   They called us Sandi-Keith and Sandi-Jim.  That worked pretty well.  And if we both belonged to an organization, they would use that way to keep us straight too.

Luckily, Sandi and I have always liked each other, so that lessened any tension that could have been caused by sharing our name.

But when I retired four years ago, I decided that was the time to make a change.  After all, it was a time of lots of changes in my life anyway, why not my name too?  My thinking was that now I didn’t work in an office where I had always been known as Sandi so I wouldn’t have to explain over and over that I had changed the way I spelled my name.

So now I am either Sandra or Sandy.  And I am perfectly happy with either of those names.  And I realize now that for all those years, Sandi and I had just a little extra unreachable “itch” while dealing with the confusion our shared name caused, by also sharing our nickname.  Well, now I feel like I’ve finally “scratched that itch” a little bit, and it feels good.

In a few weeks, Sandi will retire from teaching and I will be saying a few words at the program on behalf of the family.  After all, which in-law could know her better than the one who shares her name?

10 Responses to Which Sandi are you?

  1. Mrs4444 says:

    This is a cute story. I’ve never heard of anyone changing their name like that when they were older, although “Barbara” has been growing in appeal for me. I think it just sounded to mature to me, growing up. Now, though, it seems like it just might fit. 🙂

  2. Sandra says:

    Barb — I don’t know why I resisted using Sandra all those years. I guess, like you, it somehow felt old to me. But now that I’m using it, I really like it! Who knew! 🙂

  3. Julie says:

    Growing up I always thought it was great having two Aunt Sandi(s)! It’s so natural for me to call you Aunt Sandy-Jim and her Aunt Sandi-Keith and what a great example to me that you both got along so well and had, from my point of view, no issues with your names being exactly the same.
    Hope you are having a great week Aunt Sandy!

  4. Sandra says:

    Julie — It was definitely a unique situation, but it didn’t ever really make a problem between us — it just confused OTHER people! 🙂 Love to you and your family, Julie. Aunt Sandy

  5. C. Beth says:

    For some reason I thought you were Sandi, not Sandy. What a coincidence to share the exact same name as her! That’w wild!

  6. Hilary says:

    And here I thought it was confusing to run into, and share blog circles with other Hilarys. I can only imagine how odd it would be to share a first, middle and surname with someone else. You’re full of interesting information Ms. Sandy Kay!

  7. Sandra says:

    Beth — It’s possible that when we first got to know each other a couple years ago, I may have inadvertently used “Sandi” in something you saw. Those old habits are hard to break!

    Hilary — It’s definitely been interesting! And always a great conversation starter. 🙂 Recently a woman was introduced to the two of us and didn’t catch exactly what our relationship was, just that we had the same name. She looked shocked and blurted out, “Do you mean that your parents named BOTH OF YOU by the same name!”

  8. carlahoag says:

    Sandra: that is the most incredible thing! My goodness.

    So now (if you don’t mind) I’ll call you Sandra. I always thought that was such a cool name (I think of Sandra Dee).

    I never had a proper nickname (lunchroom jeers don’t count) but there was a girl who moved into our school district and was in my class named Carla. That bothered me no end. There were only about 25 kids in our grade and here I was miffed at having to share my name, arrogant little twit that I was. I was somewhat mollified that she spelled her name Carlae.

  9. *Isabella* says:

    What a great story. 🙂 I have the same thing with my sister in law, except we have different middle names (I wasn’t given one at birth, but I added one when I changed to my married last name). For a couple years we lived next door to each other in an apartment comples – apt. 6 and apt. 8 – so it REALLY got confusing for our mail carriers (and for credit reporting).

  10. Sandra says:

    Carla — I actually have enjoyed being called Sandra. It’s hard now to imagine why I wouldn’t have wanted to use that earlier in life. So, yes, definitely call me Sandra (for instance, when we get together for that cup of coffee). 🙂

    Isabella — It sounds like you and your SIL can relate closely to what we experienced. And that surprises me because Isabella doesn’t seem like a common name!

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