We’re not sure what name my great-grandfather took with him when he fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe 115 or so years ago. We know that sometime after my dad started school in the early ’30s, Grandpa Ben the gambler had the final syllable dropped, leaving us with the clipped version we use today. It’s pronounced the same as the 40th president’s, although the spelling betrays the years the family spent in Poland and Prussia.
And that’s where the confusion comes in. People whom I’ve met in person invariably spell my name incorrectly when sending business correspondence; those who encounter it in print often mispronounce it when we first meet.
For a brief period in the early ’80s, this worked to my advantage. As news director for a university radio station, my calls to the State Department, Congressional staffers, and county legislators were always returned promptly.
Now my oldest daughter is turning 18 and heading off to college herself, thinking about a career in journalism. She’s spending part of this summer interning at The Independent. Last week, she published her first bylined article. I scooped up about a dozen copies of the paper, and sat down to send an email to her proud grandparents telling them where to find the article on the web.
But then I saw the byline.
Well, Liz, congratulations on getting into print. And welcome to the family.
(Editor’s Note: The incorrect byline in last week’s Front Porch, Liz Regan, should have been Liz Ragin. Thanks Liz, and welcome to the Indy family, too.)