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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