Have you ever owned a key ring or book mark with your name printed on it? Not the self made type. I am talking about those really nice ones you find at gift shops. I can not help myself. I always go and check what they have available. It is usually the most lovely names. Emily, Eric, Eugene, Anne, Brandon and the list go on. I can tell you now I will be dumbstruck the day I find my name on one of those.
Until now, it does not exist. I think the “print these names on stuff on a big scale” shop have never heard of my name. I do not blame them. Up until a few years ago I honestly thought I am the only one with my name. Sure, there are other spellings (still not available on a key ring), but not my spelling.
Somewhere around 1984/85 my parents decided they want a little one. I was conceived. My mom used to work in town and she walked passed a shop every day called Elrentia. My mom loved the name and as her name is Emmerentia it just sounded good I guess.
My dad said no. Not because he did not like the name. It was more a matter of it being shortened. He argued that I am either going to be named Rentia or Elre. As there are already a Rentia in the family (Hi cousin!), the latter became my name. They checked the spelling with my cousin’s dad (Hi uncle!) and to make sure the accent is on the right placement.
I was born and the name was bestowed upon me.
I hated my name. I was known as (pronounced as) El-ray in school. It did not matter how many times I corrected teachers, and in some cases friends, it always stayed El-ray. I was even teased to be riding somewhere. Yes, in Afrikaans Ray sounds like drive (ry). I could not wait to be old enough to change my name. Not just the spelling, my complete name. A new identity. A name that needs no correction because no one will pronounce it wrong. Something like Annie.
In the French language this é can be pronounced as ray or eeee (ie). For example Jean-Marié (with the eeee sound) or Jandré (which then will be pronounced Jeandray). I like this fact. We are after all descendants from the French Huguenot’s. I went to check it the last time I was in Franschoek. There was only 1 Hugo (my maiden name) on that list and he was a man.
As I got older, my opinion about my name changed. I learned to accept the miss pronunciation. I got used to correcting people. All this because I believed I am special and unique.
Well, I only know of one other person with the same name and spelling as me (I have heard of a lot of Elri and Elrie’s). Her problem was that her name is pronounced El-ray but people keeps calling her Elrie. How bizarre! We met and I instantly like her. Such a ray of sunshine. See what I did there. Hehe.
You will never find my name on a key ring unless I made it myself. Luckily my initial is widely available. There is no reference book with my name and a meaning for it. You know what, that is okay. I am special because I am the daughter of a King.
I was named after a shop. And that is cool.
My name is Elré pronounced Elré (eeee or ie). Nice to meet you.
Ps. I respect the people who checks with me how my name is pronounced. I like you! Thanks!