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Walking on Sunshine or The Story of Becks

A while ago in Who the Heck is this Becks Davis Chick? I gave Detroit Moxie readers a choice between two future posts. Bent out of Shape was the clear winner but here is Walking on Sunshine.

I’m not sure if it was the hormones or what but my mom wanted to name me Sunshine, you know, so people would call me Sunny. Good thinking, mom, kids would never make fun of a girl named Sunny!

It should be noted that although I was born in 1969 my parents were not hippies. They were born in the 40’s and were the typical teeny boppers of the 50’s. Think poodle skirts and white socks with black shoes.

My aunt, dad, and mom. This picture was taken around the time I was born. See, they are not hippies!

They did become a little crazy in the 70’s when my dad and brother got matching afros and my mom wore a long, red, Ann Margaret wig. Oh, and the blue walls in our living room had a yellow stripe at the top that culminated in an arrow on the landing.

This picture, however, makes them look a bit more like hippies! Dad has a Saturday Night Fever thing going on.

But they weren’t free spirited hippies!

I don’t think my disposition really fits with Sunshine and luckily I had someone on my side. My dad wasn’t hip to this Sunshine/Sunny moniker and told my mom, “Rebecca or Sarah, you have a choice.”

For the love of all things reasonable, thank you dad!

And so I was named Rebecca.

I was called Becki. Yes, spelled with an ‘i’.

Why the ‘i’? Once again, I have to blame my mom here. She unconventionally ends her name with an ‘i’ and I think she was trying to pass that on to me. Not only does she spell it with an ‘i’, she’s been known to dot it underneath.

You know, when you spell your name differently you don’t get to buy key chains or other tchotchkes with your name on them while on vacation. I’m just throwing that out there.

Besides not being able to buy key chains with your name on it, spelling your name weird means that everyone misspells it.

I AM NOT BECKY! I know it might seem like a small thing but it looks and feels totally different to me. It’s as annoying as the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Did I mention my maiden name? It’s long and Polish: Owczarski. It’s pronounced of-char-ski. My dad told me it meant “son of czar;” for years I thought I was related to some high-powered people. Turns out, it means shepherd.

My best friends couldn’t spell the damn name so I was known as Becki O. Spelling my last name constantly became a chore, “O-W, C as in Charlie, Z as in Zebra...”

Sometimes when saying of-char-ski people would ask, “of where?” When I tried to get around that by saying O’charski I was called out by an extremely short nun for trying to be Irish.

I lost the long, Polish last name when I got married. Davis. Simple enough.

Actually, it’s not so simple. The surnames Davis and Davies are pronounced the same in the UK. I thought I was finished with spelling my last name but I wasn’t so lucky. I either had to spell it or was asked if that was with an E.

When I joined Facebook, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be found. And that is how Becks Davis was born.

The truth is that all my close friends and family, the people who loved me and said my name a lot, dropped the ‘i’. They just called me Beck or Becks. And it stuck.

I prefer Beck or Becks but I won’t kill you if you call me Becki, as long as you spell it correctly. Just a warning, if you call me Rebecca you’ll get the evil eye.

My mom and I still buy each other sunflowers and cards with some kind of sun on them. Hell, I know all the lyrics of “You are My Sunshine” because she sang it to me so often.

After all that, I do miss my long, Polish last name. But I’m pretty happy that I’m not Sunny Davis. I’m sure some clever person would be calling me Sunny D.

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Reader Comments (14)

What a cute story! Thanks for sharing, Becks :)

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I am totally with you on the frustration of name spelling, as my mom changed Jenny to Jenni in 2nd grade, as there were 8 other Jennifers in my class. Personalized tchotchkes for me was Jennifer, which I always feel like I'm in trouble when I'm called that. lol

Great post. Here's to the power of the "i"s!!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenni (with an "i")

Cute story & post! I totally get what you're saying on the keychain thing - still have yet to ever find a keychain, mug or magnet with Elena on it! That was actually one of my arguments against Charlie when naming Lanagan - I wanted him to be able to buy a pencil in a gift shop with his name on it. Of course Charlie's response was that he would design one for him and have it printed. Obviously he won ;)

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElena Wollborg

What a fun name history. My name is Cheryl, but my dad is the only one who calls me that. It's Cheri for almost everyone else, and Cher for my very closest friends (and only because we go by one-syllable nicknames: Nik, Steph, and Deb). Do you think anyone can spell my name right? Sherry, Sheri, Cherie, and Cherly are just a few of the ways people try to spell my name...

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
Everything that's wonderful is sure to come your way

-- Marvin Hamlisch, 1963
[ Sung by Lesley Gore ]

Before your time, yeah . . . but part of the context that nearly tagged you with golden rays.

Thanks for peeling back another layer of the colorful package, Becki!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Stamm

My mother's maiden name: Bekalarczyk
My grandmother's maiden name: Cieszkowski
My best friend's last name: Zmija

Believe me, I know your pain!

Ambrozy is most often mistaken for Italian. "Ambrosi?" they ask.

When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who INSISTED I was pronouncing my OWN last name incorrectly! She said "Your name is pronounced AmbroZHA". I stubbornly refused to listen to her and finally asked my dad. He said "Tell that teacher to stuff it!"

I didn't, but I wish I would have!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian the Polski

You're line about giving people the evil eye if they call you Rebecca cracked me up because my sister Rebekah is the complete opposite. Call her anything other than Rebekah and her evil eye awaits you. Its funny when we go back to Vermontville because everyone there still knows her as Becky. Drives her NUTS!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Lingholm

Tell me about "weird" names! Try finding something with "Dominique" on it...or having any one spell or pronounce it correctly. And mail addressed to "Mr. King" or phone calls asking for "Mr. King" get the immediate deep-six here.

Oh...yeah...and I really detest that "singing nun" song...detest it.

Thankfully my last name is short and simple.

I do get what you're saying about not being wild about having certain folks find you on FB...which I why I neglected to list the high school I graduated from on my profile :lol:

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

sunny d...hahahaha.
ahem, sorry, i thought that was funny. don't ask, it's been a long day.
cute story!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

hahaha...yes, I agree Sunny D would be bad.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

I know what you mean about adding that 'i" or 'ie' to your name...Angie...NAILS ON CHALK BOARD...HAAATE it. Some people don't know my name is even Angela because I hate having to ask them NOT to call me that. Ange, Watty, Watts, or Angela please. (even Hey...hey you! :) Gotta thank Cameron for my 'name" though. (then an old chat room on talkcity :)

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWatty

Wow! Thanks to everyone for sharing their own name horror story; we could start a support group. Moral of the story: Spell names correctly and call people what they want to be called. :D

My mom's maiden name is also long & polish. It has 11 letters and only 3 of them are vowels. I learned how to spell it to the tune of the Mickey Mouse song.

July 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

K - W - I . . . I want to learn this . . . - A - T - K - O oh it sure is hard . . . - W - S - K - Y . . .Why? Because I'm proud to be Polish!

Yes, 11 letters with only 3 vowels in Kwiatkowsky - - a totally random grab in the spirit of celebrating Sunshine, hippies and Becki.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Stamm

Not even close but thanks for trying. :D

July 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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