Name unpronounceable – never called on

VBHeadshot-1Edvige Kromayer Barrie,
Clinton, NY.

Growing up in the ’50s, I was unaware that most people had no idea how to pronounce my name and were therefore reluctant to call on me in class or say hi to me on the playground. At the beginning of kindergarten, one kid even asked if I was a boy or a girl. My father came from Germany in 1938. My mother’s first language is Italian. They wanted to give me a unique name, that reflected their European origins. That’s how I came by my first name, Edvige. My maiden name is Kromayer. “Edvige Kromayer” is quite a mouthful in elementary school. I would have loved to have been a “Karen” or “Kathy” or “Susan” or “Linda.” My name made me feel so foreign and odd. I didn’t know anyone with a non-American name in my grade school. My name went with my guttural pronunciation of words with the letter “r,” probably a replication of my father’s German accent. I just wanted to be American, to be like everyone else.
As an adult, I am pleased to have a unique name, usually shortened to “Vige” and grateful to my parents for bestowing it on me. And, I assure people that when called by my name, I will respond to anything that begins with the letter “V.”


Tweets by Michele Norris