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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Field work update : The Kathy Sprinkle Story

CREATIVITY - The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc. [Click here for last week's Creativity Bliss Initiatives.]

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you probably came here expecting an update on this week's PASSION field work. However, as I told you in last week's post, when I read the first chapter of "The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance" by Eric Maisel and was considering his first assignment, to write a 2500 word biography, I told you I was going to do it and share it here when it was finished. Well, it is done. I may play around with it some more but without any more disclaimers I offer it here for those who are interested. If you are looking for more Passion work I refer you to this week's Passion Bliss Initiatives and come back tomorrow when I get back to my Passion updates!


The Kathy Sprinkle Story
My name is Kathy Sprinkle. I was born Katherine Ann Funke. I have only been Kathy Sprinkle for a little while. It was hard not thinking of myself as Kathy Funke. In fact, I only just realized that I AM Kathy Sprinkle today. I still can't sign my name very well and when my signature is called for the old Katherine A. Funke is hopeful in its wanting to be used. Rob and I just bought a house. You sign a lot of paper when you buy a house. This still wasn't enough practice to get the Katherine F. (yes I chose to play homage to Funke and say goodbye to A. - more about that in a minute!) Sprinkle right. I spent a childhood decade practicing Katherine A. Funke, changing it several times until it finally stuck, not pretty or even that legible, unique and very hard to forge. I really have no idea why that was an important factor in all my practice but oddly enough that criteria was foremost as I dutifully practiced until I could do it with out thinking. And without thinking it falls out even as I try to convince my husband that I am truly happy and pleased to be Kathy Sprinkle.

I like the name Kathy Sprinkle. It is happy and fun. Exactly what I think of myself being. Growing up as Katherine Ann Funke wasn't nearly as nice. Katherine was the name I was called when I didn't do something my mother or a teacher wanted me to do. "Katherine Ann" spoken together was a clear danger call that big trouble was coming my way. Kathy was the good girl. "Our Kathy" was the one who did cute and charming things. It was no wonder I chose to call myself that at a pretty young age.

Funke was an all together different story. Early childhood was just devoid of it. Even in the neighborhood with three Katherines (spelled differently!) it was usually sufficient to refer to me as Kathy. Kathy had a great time playing with her friends in the fabled land of Easterly Street where current events never mussed the Leave it to Beaver neighborhood. It was a time filled with backyard games of tag, family bar-b-ques, bike rides, sledding and residents who were always happy to lend a hand, play a game or just sit on the porch with you. To this day we former and current residents of that street (and a couple others) can't help but to extol the mythology of that time. Even Rob, without any personal experience can retell many of the classic tales of neighborhood lore. The summer before third grade my family moved to another neighborhood. My grandparents moved in to take our place on Easterly street but even with regular access Easterlyland faded from its former glory for me. I wanted to still be a part of it but I wasn't. It was time to move on. 

Right around the time of our big move across town, I read and became obsessed with Anne of Green Gables. I thought Anne was fabulous and I wanted to be just like her. I lamented that I had a boring old life with two parents and a sister and brother and I didn't get the chance to be a feisty and determined orphan. I also didn't understand why my parents chose to spell my middle name ANN when clearly ANNE had far more panache. I went on and on about it so much that my father actually offered to have my name legally changed to include the E. What?!  My parents were willing to give me what I wanted? Where is the angst in that? I had my name changed and immediately regretted it. Instead of being happy with the new flourish an E provided I became obsessed with thoughts of myself as a little girl working tirelessly to spell my full name with an ANN in the middle. Somehow this move of self expression was a slap in the face to her and from the day that my name was changed I ALWAYS wrote my full name with an A period! Writing A. saved me from the heartbreak of choosing that deliberate little girl or the new self expressed one! It was a thankful day when signing my marriage certificate, I realized I could rid myself of that potential turmoil forever.

I decided that I would keep Funke as my middle name. So much of who I am was born of that name. Now I would like to think that much of who I am would have developed even if my name had been Smith or perhaps even Lamonto  (My hometown was very Italian when I was growing up!) but growing up Funke definitely had its trappings. To begin with, even my family has debates about how to pronounce it. My uncle Joe, the cool NASA engineer one, always pronounced the E making it Funkee. My grandparents said it the German immigrant way Funk-eh and my Dad picked Funk -- no acknowledgment of the E whatsoever. There was another family in town with the last name of Funk, no E pronounced or written, and they had a kid who was always in trouble so it seemed to me that we should be pronouncing our E so people wouldn't get confused and think I was that bad kid's sister. Clearly it wasn't my choice this time. I can have an E added to a middle name but a perfectly legitimate one would be ignored.

As I am sure you or any adolescent boy can imagine, there are many aberrations that can be derived from this name and were. But the most distinctive thing about having Funke as a last name in middle and high school is that very quickly your first name becomes irrelevant. Sure my closest friends still called me Kath, when were together but by in large if you were referring to me I was just "Funke". Teachers and students alike shorthanded my name. It was so prevalent that even I didn't always respond to an unexpected shout of Kathy. My brother Michael, who inherited my homeroom after my departure, is still, 25 years out of high school, "Funke" to his friends. So much so, they even have a little facebook group called "Friends of Funke". You can bet if our name had been Smith this would not be the case.

The year after high school, I participated as an AFS Exchange Student in Austria and experienced what it might have been like to have an ordinary name. Funke is a German name (it means Spark, roughly translated)  and for once it seemed perfectly normal. No one even blinked when I told them it and for the most part they assumed I spoke better German then I ever mastered because of that German sounding name.  I thought it was great. My experience as exchange student was odd. My host father spoke perfect English so I was slow in picking up German. I browbeat my parents for the opportunity to go so no matter how hard it was I would never say so. I attribute a lot of my fortitude to that year. I stayed put, with a host family that would have been better served by an au pair, spent hundreds of hours totally alone (a mistake on my part as well as a first and formative experience for me) and finally made a bunch of really good friends just as it was time to go.

When I was in college Funke became a quirky accessory for me. I wore white clogs and scarves around my neck when I first arrived back from Austria to accentuate my individuality but soon that wasn't even necessary. I liked being a little bit Funky and for the first time really embraced my name. I considered it an asset instead of annoyance. I think it helped people to remember me and perhaps even helped to get me elected Student Association President. I finally found being Kathy Funke useful!

I always assumed that I would change my name when I married. My mom had done it and while I  believe a woman should keep her name if she wants, I never liked the idea of having different names in the same family. In my late twenties I had a boyfriend who said if we got married he might consider taking Funke as his last name. In retrospect this was more about rewriting his own history and not so much about honoring mine but the idea certainly had some worth. My brother and his wife struggled with the same issue and while they settled on a hyphen ("Because it was cheaper then changing it." Mike likes so say.) they were (and now with their son about to reach school age may be considering it again) contemplating a hybrid. They are the Funklands (not Nyland-Funkes) to me even if they never make the legal switch.

I believe my early career in sales was impacted by the uniqueness of my name and the eccentricity I wore because of it. I was willing to try different things and was not afraid to take chances. I moved around the country at the drop of a hat and made friends easily everywhere I went. When I reached my mid thirties I landed in a little river town on the Hudson and set out to to make it my own. I held what I called a "town warming party" (since it was too big to be held in my home, I had posted fliers and I rented the VFW hall to accommodate it) and for the first time I felt entirely at home in my skin and my name.

Whenever I was dating someone I would occasionally muse that if we married I might consider changing my name but things never really got serious enough for me to actually confront the possibility.  By the time I turned forty I just figured I would keep my name forever. What would be the point of changing it now even if I met someone I would marry? My career began to stall and as much as I loved Hastings it became clear I was not going to find what ever was next for me if I stayed. Following in the footsteps of my brave and spontaneous twenty five year old self I up and changed everything.

I took a remarkable job at Landmark Education where I learned that a person really could have it all but it just might not look the way you thought it would. I delighted in my new bay area home, took long ocean scape drives, entertained out of town guests, and voraciously dated. I met all sorts of people, and enjoyed getting to know the slices of San Francisco life they allowed me entry into. I fully embraced my uncommon last name which now encapsulated my unique and interesting lifepath and could keep any awkward first conversation going. My coworkers marveled how I could squeeze so much living into a life already full with a 65-70 hour a week job. I loved every minute of it all and then I met Rob.

Rob was so off my radar when we met. I was enjoying my lifestyle and although I advertised that I was looking for someone to Woo and Wow me forever, I really wasn't expecting it to be possible. I posted it on Craig's list mostly expecting it to be a good conversation starter and inspiration for my suitors to come up with more interesting first dates. It was quickly clear that this relationship was going somewhere but even so, I wasn't considering a name change. I was Kathy Funke and Rob Sprinkle could have her. The only real reason to get married and to change my name would be if we were going to have children, and how likely was that? In fact, one of the first substantive conversations I remember having with Rob was about my concern that if he wanted kids (he had posted this in his Match.com profile)  I may not be the gal for him. I was old. I had never been pregnant (I was on one hand entirely amazed that all my fearful contraceptive years were successful and on the other hand concerned that I wasn't really able to get pregnant at all) and I wasn't willing to go to extreme measures to have a child at this point in my life.

Rob sweetly said that he would rather have no kids and be with me much more then he wanted to go looking for someone who might be able to give him the kids he really wanted. Right answer!!! Here is a guy I might even want to try to have kids with! So try we did and to our great surprise we got pregnant immediately. Wow, now things like a name become REALLY important! Important and for me, simple at the same time. I wanted to have the same name as my child and SPRINKLE was just quirky enough to satisfy my eccentric sensibilities.

And so I did it. Without trepidation and with complete joy. I changed my name to Katherine F. Sprinkle, aka Kathy Sprinkle. What I didn't realize was that Katherine A. Funke was entirely ingrained in my being. A year after my wedding someone could ask my name and I would unconsciously reply, "Kathy Funke, nice to meet you." Rob would over hear me on the phone telling a delivery person the wrong name. I would share something about myself and say Kathy Funke faster then Sprinkle could even register as a thought. I found it insidious but I also found it to be true. I was still Kathy Funke and it would take time to fully become Kathy Sprinkle.

As of this writing I can say I am happily there. My route to being Kathy Sprinkle was being a part of the Sprinkle Family. We have a family song. We take long drives. We dance to bad YouTube recordings. We visit the Mouse in Disneyland. We eat dinner together in our new Kitchen. We drink Mai Tai's (baby Mai Tai's are pineapple juice and maraschino cherry garnishes.) We snuggle on "Dad Day" (weekends when Dad doesn't have to go to work) mornings. We are a happy family and I AM a very happy Kathy Sprinkle.


Sprinkle Family Song

Next Post: Back to Passion

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

3 comments:

  1. FANTASTIC! I preferred K-Funke, and it is still how you are listed in my phone - but I think of you as a Sprinkle :) Love you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think of you simply as Kath. That takes care of the last name thing for me. However, Sprinkle is such a happy name. I imagine you have those colored sprinkles, like Jimmies, all over your frosting. They would be a little bit sparkly, though, as you are definitely sparkly. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing this story Kathy. I love reading about your journey from Funke to Sprinkle and can relate to how difficult it is to leave behind your maiden name. I only know you as a "Sprinkle" but am enjoying getting to know your "Funke" self through your blog. Keep up the wonderful writing and self discovery!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you "very so much" (the construct I stole from my 3 year old!) for your comments! I reply to every comment. I will ALWAYS reply over here on the blog so if you haven't heard from directly please do check back here. If you become a Disqus member you will be automatically updated via email as well!

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© Kathy Sprinkle and Everyday Kathy, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Everyday Kathy with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

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