Friday, 23 December 2011

Loving my name

In common with many people my relationship with my name has had a chequered history.

At primary school I took pains to get the saying of the name over as quickly as possible and found its use, especially the whole name - Susan Clow - excruciatingly embarrassing. I had mostly become a Sue by the time I was in the juniors and not enjoying the mildly derogatory Clowie that came from the boys lips...put me off that sweet little name Chloe of course. I also had the most common female name of the mid 1950's - the male equivalent was John - so along with many others I have spent a lot of my childhood looking up to "Susan!". There were several in my class including at one point a glamorously named Susan Hayward who must have had a very difficult time!

The pronunciation of my last name has been an issue partly because there seem to have evolved two ways of pronouncing it with each side firmly adhering to the way they were taught from the start of course. I understand Clow derives from Cloh, meaning side of a ravine and it may be from West Yorkshire. My family history research has led me to the seventeenth century where a whole raft of Clows I can track forward lived in the village of Ide near Exeter in South Devon and low and behold a Susan Clow there in the 1640s! So yes, the pronunciation - I have to say Clow as in blow not Clow as in cow, but some say the reverse I imagine.

I have assertively re adopted by name in the last 15 years including the full Susan which seems to suit the short last name so well having given up the name for 20 years. I feel proud of it now and I don't even flinch when my name is read out - hell I have even used it for my blogs...! I might even say that now I love my name...

Mandarin Susan


  1. I desperately wanted to be called Sylvia when I was young! Heather has its difficulties here in France - the French find it almost impossible to pronounce - makes for some interesting variations!

  2. And a lovely name it is too! I hated my name and for about 30 years everyone called me Ros but now I'm back to Rosalind and I love it. It must be an age thing!