Here a Debbie, There a Debbie

Not long ago, my new friend Beth Ann wrote about the latest offerings from the Tennessee company which makes Little Debbie snacks.

And I just had to cringe.

Little Debbie?

Sheesh, you’d think a company that’s been in business since the Great Depression would have selected a cooler name than “Little Debbie,” wouldn’t you?

But according to their website, the McKee family named their snacks “Little Debbie” after their granddaughter.

I wonder if she looked like the fresh-faced, curly-haired lass on their logo?

Being a “Debbie” has become more and more miserable intolerable challenging for me.

Besides the fact that everybody in my high school was a Debbie (not really, but it sure seemed that way), I never felt like a Debbie.

Still don’t.

“Debbie” is supposed to be popular. Preferably dark-haired. A cheerleader. Someone who stands out in a crowd because of her bubbly personality. And cuteness.

Oh, and did I mention popular?

I can’t even claim a resemblance to the Little Debbie logo girl.

At a recent visitation necessitated by the death of one of my neighbors, I chanced upon someone I’d gone to high school with.

Way Back Then.

I knew she recognized me, but when she couldn’t immediately call me by name, she guessed, “Debbie?”

Of course she was right. Why, I’d say she had a 50-50 chance of being right.

There were so many Debbies that we all went by our last names.

All through school.

And no wonder. If you were born during the period from the 1940s through the 1980s, give or take, your name just might be “Debbie,” too.

Even my last name is common. At one point, there were FOUR of us (spelled the exact same way) in my small town alone!


In their defense, my folks weren’t trying to be copycats. They’d planned for a boy and hadn’t picked out a girl’s name.

Perhaps I ought to be grateful I’m “Debbie” rather than “David.”

Then again, the feminine form of David — “Davida” — is rather pretty. And certainly more unique.

It’s hard to stand out when you meet yourself coming and going. Maybe now you can see why I’m choosing a pen name for my writing?

22 thoughts on “Here a Debbie, There a Debbie

  1. You know what’s funny? There wasn’t a single Debbie in my class, from grade school to graduation. And, I don’t remember one in the school. The first Debbie I knew came along when a cousin named her daughter Debbie. Then, I knew another in the 80s.

    What’s funny is that both were named Debbie, rather than Deborah, and their nicknames were “Deb.”

    On the other hand, there were some celebrities: Debbie Reynolds, for example. And there was Deborah Kerr. And then there was that late 1970s movie about a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader named Debbie — but we’ll let that one alone. 😉

    • See? THAT’s what I’m talking about — the “bad Debbies” seem to get all the attention. Remember Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live?? Who wants depression following them around?
      Unlike you, I knew a bazillion Debbies though the name doesn’t seem to have found favor in the Deep South. In fact, when my parents presented 10-day-old me to the priest for Baptism, he remarked, “What? Another Debbie??”
      By the way, my roommate in college was a Linda!

  2. The only Debbie I ever knew when I was younger was my cousin Debbie. There may have been a few in my grammar school class, but back when I grew up (in the ’50’s), names like Katherine, Mary, Micheal and David where very popular. Maybe it’s because I went to Catholic school and those names were more biblical.

    Growing up, I never liked my name (Ronald) because I thought it sounded to formal. My family called me Ron or Ronnie, or my mother would also call me Ronaldo.

    My last name is soooooo uncommon Carnavil (pronounced like Carnival) which made me the laughing stock of school. Kids were always asking me if my father owned a circus – HA!

    But as I got older, I began to really like my first and last name. And when I went into acting, many people assumed that I had made it up and created my own stage name, can you believe that?

    I really like your name because I feel that it suits you. Sometimes I’ll meant someone and think to myself, “OMG…they don’t look like an Amanda, they like more like a Susan.” Isn’t funny how we think that way?

    Hope you’re having a FAB Thursday, my friend!

    • We had our fair share of Marys and Anns, too, Ron, as well as plenty of Johns. I guess parents back then were more concerned with conformity than today’s parents, who seem intent on creating one-of-a-kind names their little ones can grow into.

      While I didn’t have many Rons in my class, I do seem to know several now. In fact, one of my neighbors is a Ron. Isn’t it odd how we get impressions of a person based solely on their name? I think your name is lovely — and it fits you! Kids can be so cruel regardless of what a person’s name is. In fact, they seem adept at finding little things that push a classmate’s buttons!

      Happy rest-of-the-week, my friend!

  3. I only knew one Debbie growing up that I can recall. Of course the mind does not work as well as it once did so perhaps I am mistaken. 🙂 Our last name is ALWAYS misspelled, mispronounced and totally wrong 95% of the time. Makes me think I should have kept the maiden name of Brown. That one is pretty easy, right? Thanks for the link up!!!!!!

    • Absolutely — glad you made it over here. No Debbies? That’s a shocker. Perhaps my little town should have “shared the wealth” — I know I, for one, would have gladly gone just about anywhere to avoid being lumped with all the other Debbies!

      • I bet it was a “downer” to be one of many. Sorry, couldn’t resist. For some reason your blog doesn’t seem to ever show up in my reader so I need to go and make sure I have it set up right to get your feed right in my reader. I miss a lot these days, though, as things are a bit busy. I will try to be better at stopping by!

  4. I know four people who have changed their names: Barbara became Rachel, Marsha became Marcie, Susan became Shannon, and Danielle became Danika. It made them happy and their families adjusted. Rachel and her Mom agreed that her family could call her Barbara. Why go through life with a name that does not suit you and you don’t like.. As far as I’ve been told it’s not even that complicated and if you have a friendly lawyer even better. A pen name is a nice compromise if you want to compromise. BTW, I love little Debbie’s and I’ve only known two Debbie’s – you are one of them.

    • Well, there goes my theory that parents in the Midwest tended to name their daughters Debbie! Hmm, it’s really not too complicated to go the distance and change one’s name entirely?? Now you’ve given me something to chew on. While I like the idea of compromise, maybe something more definite would better suit me better. I’m going to sleep on it a while and let you know. Thanks for your support!

  5. If it makes you feel any better – you’re the only Debbie I know. I think you’re the only Debbie I’ve ever known. But I’ve always felt that angst about my name. Barbara. Don’t care for it. Don’t feel like one. But what are we to do? You’ve made me stop and think….hmm….and I’ve never pondered it before, but what name DO I feel like? It gives one pause. And you use a pen name? Now that’s pretty cool – very un-Debbie like. 😉

    • You, too, Barb? I happen to like your name, but it doesn’t much matter, does it, since it’s not something I must live with. I’m really the only Debbie you know? That blows me away! Perhaps I simply need to move — somewhere where I can be the only Debbie in town, ha. Yes, I’ll post about my pen name soon (and who knows, maybe I’ll get brave enough to change my name permanently!!)

  6. I like the name, Debbie, but have only known a few. I won’t even get into complaints about my name, haha!

    Your comment about people expecting boys and not having a girl name picked out made me think of a family I knew long ago. The eldest girl: Scott ette, aka Scotty; the second girl: Chad Elle, aka Chadie. Third child: finally a boy 🙂

    • Oh, dear, that poor couple REALLY wanted a boy, didn’t they?? When I was expecting Domer, I’d picked out both a boy and a girl name (probably my picky Virgo tendencies!). At least those girls have unique names — and I’ll bet their first-grade teachers were stunned when the “boy” they saw on their roll turned out to be a girl!
      I like your name, Janna, though you probably had to set more than a few people straight that it’s Janna, not Janet!

    • Aw, what sweet words, Kim — thanks! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t named after anybody — there aren’t any other Debbies in my immediate family, and my mom claims to have been stunned when she learned just how many Debbies were in my class at school. Oh well. I like your name, dear — it fits you (and no, it’s not one bit boring!!)

  7. I went to school with quite a few Debbies. There were a lot of Terris also. Maybe that’s why I gave my daughter a unique spelling of her name. She has good humor about it, but always reminds me how traumatic it was not to be able to find her name on one of those bicycle license plates she wanted so desperately!

    • I’ve known quite a lot of Terris as well (the male version and the female). Isn’t it funny how names cycle? I’d have a HARD time finding my name on those personalized doo-dads right now, too (and don’t think I haven’t checked, ha!).

  8. Well Debbie….be thankful for that popular name. There was NOBODY with my name….”Tanya!!!” So when I was little and watched Romper Room….that lady NEVER said my name and I was traumatized by that until I was older and was happy for my unique name. Now my name is popular but I the oldest Tanya I know.

    But I’m renaming you….I’m gonna call you Debbie-Joe! How bout’ that? LOL!!!!

    • Debbie-Joe?? Well, okay, works for me! At least I wouldn’t be running into myself at every turn!
      I wonder if it’s a “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” thing? People with common names are unhappy with the commonness, while those with unusual names are unhappy they stand out too much!

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