When my brother came howling into this world, my parents held him up high before the pride and announced, "This is our FIRSTBORN! A SON! We shall name him CHARLES...KIRK...KINZBACH!" Roars of approval echoed across the savannah as the word spread. "The FIRSTBORN! A SON! CHARLES...KIRK...KINZBACH!" The joy of the parents lifted up into the cool April breeze and circled high above their glorious male offspring.
CHARLES KIRK KINZBACH
His very name paid homage to his father.
WILLIAM CHARLES KINZBACH
Three years pass and lo, my mother discovered that she was again with child. "Ho hum," said she, "Another big belly. Another stiff round of anesthesia when the time comes." And so it was that on a bright March day in the early afternoon a baby girl was born to my mother who was punch-drunk in her "twilight sleep." Alas, this she-child came forth from my mother's womb with skin as yellow as Miss Elphaba's was green. A benevolent donor was called in, and the sallow Rh babe was transfused with his blood from the top of her little downy head to the tip of her tiny toes.
Somehow in all of the hubbub brought on by the talk of jaundice and the tangle of needles and tubes, no name was immediately bestowed upon this child. It wasn't until the day after her traumatic birth that the question was raised. "What name shall be given this golden child?" "Hmmm," said my mother. "Uhhhhh," my father. Together they pondered for a few minutes before announcing the name of their girl-child.
"She shall be called Carolyn!" they declared choosing a name out of thin air that had absolutely no familial link whatsoever.
"Is it C-A-R-O-L-Y-N? Not C-A-R-O-L-I-N-E?" asked the nurse making sure that they weren't forgetting the more feminine and slightly southern form of the name.
"Nope. C-A-R-O-L-Y-N." They stated.
"What about her middle name?" the nurse continued.
"That's all. Just Carolyn. Carolyn Kinzbach. That will do nicely," they assured her.
"Just Carolyn Kinzbach," she parroted so that they could hear how the name sounded coming out of the mouth of a stranger.
So it came to be that I was given no middle name when I was born. As I grew from babe to child to adolescent to adult, I had to bear the indignity of being middle-nameless.
"What is your middle name?" an inquisitive mind would want to know.
"I don't have one," I would say with a sigh longing to be able to answer with a simple "Kay" or "Suzanne" or "Jo."
"Ahhh, come on! It can't be that bad! Tell me what it is!" the inquisitive mind would insist.
"Nope. I'm not kidding. My parents did not give me a middle name when I was born," I would explain.
"So what are your initials...just CK?" the incredulous mind would query.
"Yes. Just CK," I would quietly answer waiting for the moment to pass. The subject to change. Sigh. Most of the time a game would commence. The guessing of the awful, unrepeatable middle name my parents must have saddled me with. "Hortense?! Ethel?! Edna?! (my maternal grandmother's FIRST name) Mildred?! Ursula?!"
My high school diploma looked rather incomplete with a simple "Carolyn Kinzbach" centered lonely on the page. Then, came Baylor. I remember standing in the registrar's office my freshman year. I don't know why I was there, but I do remember what happened.
"Name?" asked counter lady.
"Carolyn Kinzbach," I said getting ready for it.
"Full name?" she said changing the question in case I just didn't get it.
"Carolyn Kinzbach" I stated enunciating a bit more clearly.
"What is your middle name?" she said with a hint of frustration.
"I don't have one," I replied matching her level of frustration.
"So, it's just Carolyn Kinzbach? That's all?" she pushed.
"Yep. That's it and that's all," I said staring into her eyes in search of some sort of glimmer of understanding.
"OK. So it's C-A-R-O-L-Y-N-(N-M-N)-K-I-N-S-B-A-C-K," she continued.
"That's K-I-N-Z-B-A-C-H. It's German. What the heck is N-M-N?" I asked squinting my eyes a wee bit.
"N-M-N? That's the abbreviation for No Middle Name."
It was then and there that I began my quest in search of a middle name.
To be continued...
*This story, while basically true, has been painted by the brush of a histrionic middle child.