My childhood wasn’t the greatest; I was an only child until almost 9 years old. That meant most of my time was spent just my mom and I. We moved around A LOT. Some times house-to-house or state-to-state. It was during one of these moves I made a bold decision that would turn into a long running family joke.
I was born in New York but by time I was about 7 we moved to a town called West Memphis Arkansas. I was the new kid with a funny accent that no one liked. It was hard making friends so that meant I stayed in the house a lot and watched TV with my mom. I’d stay up with her watching shows like Dallas and Dynasty. Even thou I was a kid I secretly enjoyed the drama.
|Sammy Jo Carrington|
I started school and it was as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. The teacher called on me so she could introduce the new girl to the class. I hate that she made me stand up as she told everyone my name and where I was from. Right before I sat back down she asked me the question I’ve gotten hundreds of times in my life but this time I answered differently. “Do you go by Sam or Samantha?” I hesitated. I’ve always told everyone I go by Sam but I desperately wanted to fit in. As quick as I could I ran through a list of names in my head and before I could take it back I blurted out “Sammy Jo!” my teacher was clearly taken by surprise because she asked me to repeat myself. Too late to back out now “My name is Sammy Jo” I said in the best southern drawl I could muster up.
She gave me a polite smile, thanked me and allowed me to sit down. A few minutes later she presented me with a sticky nametag that read “Sammy Jo” so no one would forget my name. I only wish I remembered it was there before walking in the house that day. My mother couldn’t stop laughing as I retold the story to her after she asked, “What the hell does your name tag say?”. Her only response was “So the best name you could come up with was a character from Dynasty?” I held my head up high and told her “Yes, and I’d like it if you called me that too from now on.”
What’s really funny is we only lived in Arkansas for 1 year. I’m 33 years old now and that name has stuck all this time. So much so my children laugh hysterically every time they hear someone call me Sammy Jo.
Oh and if you were wondering, the name didn’t help me fit in. I was still the new girl from New York with the funny accent and now even funnier name.