the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

What’s in a name?

on March 26, 2018

My maiden name is Chappell. My Dad thought we were descended from those who fled France during the revolution but it is more likely we have Huguenot ancestry. I hated my family name from the first time a classmate shouted, ‘What’s the time, Chappell? Or has your clock gone wrong?’

I was delighted to shed my family name upon marriage. I met my first husband in Tenant Creek, a town in Outback Australia. He persuaded me to travel with him to Cairns where we applied for a twenty-four hour marriage licence. My horrified parents couldn’t understand the urgency but a whirlwind romance is terribly exciting.

Four years later and back in the UK we fell out of love. But, I liked the sound of my name, Gail Marshall, so much I continued to use it for another five years. Upon marrying David, he obviously didn’t want me to carry on using that name, but I was mortified by the prospect of adopting his. I was a primary school teacher by then and anticipating being called Mrs Aldwinckle all day long filled me with dread. So, I chopped off my husband’s ‘winckle’ or rather his ‘ckle’ to become Gail Aldwin.

It is an irony to now find myself back in the Chapel fold. The publisher of Paisley Shirt (my collection of short fiction) is called Chapeltown Books. To reconnect with my family name under these circumstances is a surprise and delight.



7 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. Judi Moore says:

    Sympathies – I once nearly married a man called Gerken. He was a sweet soul, but … Thank goodness these days being an ‘a.k.a.’ is no big deal!

  2. jamescbates says:

    What a delightful story!

  3. kathysharp2013 says:

    My maiden name was Blunden, and I hated it. No-one could ever spell it, and my sister and I were unkindly called ‘Blunderbuss’ at school. It was quite a relief to get rid of it when I married someone called Sharp!

  4. jen_bookworm says:

    If my boyfriend and I got married I’d hate to change my surname: Rainbow.

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