I grew up in a small town. My father was a teacher and a principal at a small Christian school, and was also a preacher in town. While he was not what most would call “famous” he was well known. More importantly people knew how to pronounce our last name…if they knew us. If they didn’t, we knew it was going to be a wild ride.
For people who know us, and have known us – they don’t understand how our name could be mispronounced.
Widick. It is pronounced with a long “I” sound – like “Why.”
But for some reason, people like to pronounce it differently. And when I say differently – I mean, about 900 different ways.
Now listen, I can understand mispronouncing it with a short “I” sound, effectively making it sound like “Widdick.” I get that.
However, I don’t understand how people absolutely butcher our last name.
Below are just a few of the ways our name has been mispronounced or misspelled:
And my personal favorite: Widdawick
How do random “Ls” and “Rs” end up our name? I suppose I’ll never figure it out.
When I went to college, my brother and sister had gone to the same school before me. They allowed, apparently, all the college professors to mispronounce our name. You can imagine my surprise when I started class the first day, and the teacher was going over the class list – and said “Lane Widdick.”
I corrected him, and said “Here, but sir, its pronounced Widick, with a long “I” sound.”
He looked at me and said “No, I don’t think so, I think its pronounced Widdick.”
Going to restaurants is always fun. Its to the point now where I just give them my first name. Its just easier than hearing people try to say “Widd…Why…Widrick…party of 3.”
Because of my complicated last name, I am very sensitive to people who have unusual or complicated names. My first job out of college was teaching/campus ministry/coaching at a Christian school in Houston, Texas.
My first period class one year had 12 people, and 8 different nationalities represented.
We had players on our basketball teams with last names that were 15 letters long with 7 syllables. I always felt so bad when the announcers would butcher their names.
I’m proud of my last name, and I know that wherever I go, its almost a badge of honor.
Like today – we had our carpets cleaned in our home to prep it so we can sell it in the next few weeks. Over the phone the gentleman tried very hard to write our last name down. When he asked me for my first name, I said “Lane, L-a-n-e” and when he asked or my last name I did what I always do. I said – my last name is spelled “W-I-D-I-C-K.” And then I pronounce it – “Widick.”
Now, I do this because when I just say it first, it tends to freak them out. They usually stammer and ramble “Uh…um…okay…that’s W…”
So I just spell it.
He repeated back to me “Okay, that is W – E…”
Me – “No, no… ‘I.’”
Him – “Oh, sorry, so its ‘W-I-E.’”
Me – “No, no…i’m sorry, its ‘W – I – D – I – C -K.’”
Him – “My apologies sir ‘W – I – E – D – was it another W…?”
Me – “Yes…that’s fine.”
This morning when the technician came in, he was very professional, and had my paperwork to sign before he began. On the paperwork – it said “Lane Widlick,” which wasn’t even one of the options the man a few days before gave me.
The technician asked me “Are you related to a Matthew Widlick? He’s another one of our customers.”
I said “No sir, that’s not my last name.” to which he responded “Oh, let me correct that for you.”
I just said, “Don’t worry about it.”
To all of you out there with complicated or unusual last names, my heart goes out to you. Here’s to another day of deciding “Do I correct them, or just let them think they’re right?”