Fellow storyteller and friend, Mary Garrett, near my hometown of St. Louis, MO once introduced me as "LoiS with the big S", to which I looked at my backside and said mischievously, "I beg your pardon?!?" There's a story there and here it is.
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Mary knew many people in the storytelling world have seen me sign an email or wear a shirt with a LoiS on it. In the case of emails I love to play with my "big S", adding parenthetical comments. LoiS(imply loves to find ways to make one last comment!) For many years I had the long 12 letter last name of Sprengnether. It was a great way to tell if a phone call was from somebody who knew me as no telemarketer ever seemed to know how to pronounce it! Then there was the writing of such a long name when signing lots of papers. LoiS became a short personalized way to write it. Then I met "my Keel in life", Tom, the best husband I could ever have. I asked for advice on what to do with my name on Storytell, the international email list for storytellers now hosted by the National Storytelling Network.
I wanted to recognize Tom, but didn't want to lose the fun of being "LoiS with the big S." At the same time, with 12 letters already, I didn't want to hyphenate it. Definitely no hyphenation I was told or I'd have to use it all the time, turning it into 16 letters + a hyphen would become my legal name. YUCK! Shades of the Hispanic female tradition of linking the "original name y new married name." Too long. The suggestion was made to just use that long name as my stage name. Yes, it might be a preservation of privacy, but that wasn't what I was seeking. Then it was suggested, why not use a very old traditional way where women often made their old name their new middle name? That way I could at times just be Lois Keel and at other times "LoiS with the big S."
YES ! ! !
O.k. I confess it lets me be a bit wicked at times when somebody's about to introduce me, asks me "How do you pronounce your last name?" and I smile and say, "Keel."
Of course Tom, who now is my "roadie" for many of my gigs -- especially ones where he gets to play a bit of banjo -- loves to accuse me of marrying him just for his short last name. Definitely not true. As I said, he's my Keel in life, my soulmate.
LoiS(o now you know the story, but tomorrow I want to start sharing stories twice a week with you and tell you why I'm about to sign myself...)
Lois, I may not have married a man for his short name, but it didn't take me long to discover the fringe benefits! After signing hall passes for students with my 10-letter "Klingemann" for several years, it seemed like my new signature was finished before it started, especially when I began just putting "Ketc." on those hall passes nobody ever looks at anyway!
Love that Ketc! I also remember that as the call letters for the PBS-TV station in St. Louis. It was the "educational t.v." station back then. So you were famous and didn't even know it!
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