When my brother was about three years old he went to my mother, so the story goes, and told her he wanted a little sister and he was going to call her Betty Jane. My mother always gave my brother anything he wanted and so it came to pass that I was born on this day 84 years ago. And I was christened Betty Jane. Not Elizabeth, just Betty. No hyphen, either, Just Betty Jane. And I've been trying to get people to call me my whole name ever since. It has become a knee-jerk reflex, when people call me Betty I answer Jane. I finally started writing my name on my e-mail signature as Bettyjane, all one word, and I write it like that, too,with the J of Jane overlapping the y of /betty. It seems to help. If you Google Betty Jane, you'll find me first or second on the list. I'm not like Cher or Madonna or Beyoncé, I mean, it's not a brand name, but it will do.
My family used to call me B.J. when I was little and I didn't mind but when I grew up I noticed that some people balked at the double-barrelled moniker and called me BeeJay to the exclusion of my given name. So when I came east I didn't tell my nickname. Unfortunately a couple I knew in Winnipeg lived in my apartment building and I could tell whom they knew and that they talked about me because B.J. was like a contagious virus and spread, air-borne. Occasionally, people ask me if I am called B.J.and I say "only in moments of passion." It doesn't work.
See, I have to have both names. when I was a child I didn't have an imaginary friend. I didn't need one; I had me, that is, I had Betty and I had Jane. Betty was nasty so I had to have Jane with us, always. She was nicer. She still is. I'm lucky to have her.