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On my favorite birthday, I got an important job

May 4, 2012 - By Carolyn B. Tyler

Seventy years ago today was my best birthday ever.

Five days before my seventh birthday, my baby sister (and only sibling) was born.

I was given the responsibility of naming her.

You know her today as Linda.

I wanted to name her Mary.

But expert manipulators that they were, my parents convinced me that I wanted to name her Linda.

Linda always tells people I wanted a horse for my birthday, but instead I got her.

I disagree.

Had that been the case, I would have wanted to name her "Mare-e." I chose "Mary."

Well, as I say, I wanted to choose "Mary," but I was somehow convinced that "Linda" was my choice.

Linda's birth launched my writing career.

She was born early on a Wednesday morning, and I excitedly announced the news to my first-grade classmates that day. The teacher saw a teaching opportunity. So, as a class assignment, we wrote a group story.

I can quote it, word for word, today -- "Guess what Carolyn Ann has. Carolyn Ann has a new baby sister. Her name is Linda Sue. Her hair is as black as Fritz's. We think Fritz will bark when he sees her."

To explain a few things:

1. There were two Carolyns in my class, so I was "Carolyn Ann," while the other was "Carolyn Jean."

2. The "B" you see in my byline above reflects my maiden name of "Butler."

3. Fritz was my dog, a black cocker spaniel, so already I was writing about my pet dogs. Some things never change.

And finally, 4. My sister was a scant four hours old by the time we wrote that story and, obviously I had already been convinced to name her "Linda" instead of "Mary."

I've always been a sucker for suggestive imprinting.

Otherwise, you'd be acquainted today with Mary Sue Becker.

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