A New Name!

We were living in Illinois, I believe, and I can still picture the little school where I attended the first of what would be a minimum of ten different schools before the fourth grade. I only remember some of the schools, and for the most part, the memories I have of my years between the ages of five and nine are vague at best. (I’m old ya know!)

The school where I went to Kindergarten was a plain, single-story building, and the classroom was your typical, toy-filled room. Tables were lined in the middle of the room, with chairs on both sides. The teacher’s desk was on one side of the room, and on the other were small cubicles, decorated to represent houses. I remember vividly that at some point during the day, we would all disperse to our “jobs”. The girls each had a “house” and the boys were assigned various occupations, such as mail man, milk man, garbage man, and so on; I was the milk man, and I would go to each house and deliver a white wooden bottle of milk to the lady of the house. If I remember correctly, the roll-playing exercise was followed by nap time. I guess they figured we needed to rest after all that work.

But one particular kindergarten day stands out in my memory; Mom dropped me off at the curb and before I got out of the car, she handed me a note and told me to be sure and give it to the teacher right away, so she would know I had a new name.

Yep. Before I go on, let me explain: I was born on August 1, 1950 to Wilma and Jack (Junior) Marchman. At some point—I’m not sure when, but probably during my fifth year they got a divorce, and soon after, Mom re-married. Her new husband, Roy Mashburn, adopted me, my sister, and my brother.

So, I proudly marched into the classroom and handed the teacher the note Mom had given me and,beaming with pride, said, “I have a new name!” I remember thinking this was something nobody else could lay claim to. No, sir, not one other kid in that class could say they had a new name! The strange thing was—even at five years of age—I could sense the teacher did not share my elation. I remember being confused and almost sad, when all she did was put the note to one side and say, “That’s very nice, Charles. Please take your seat, now.”

That’s all I remember about Kindergarten;being the milk man, taking naps, getting a new name, and the sad feeling I got when the teacher didn’t share my excitement about my new name. Funny, the things that stick in our minds.


Sharing this with Kellie Elmore and her gang over ather Magic in the Back Yard’s, Free Write Friday.


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Maybe someone will read this and learn from it, Charlie.
    a teacher, perhaps, that might just understand how excited a little boy might be about a new name.

    • Looking back on it, I figure she just didn’t know how to react.

    • Sherry, I think you are on the money…
      I remember not knowing how to react when a child had an unusual name…or an adult for that matter…
      and one day, while working in a nursing home, I heard a little girl about ten introduce her self to a resident…the little girls name was “Davida”… and the resident said, “You must be very special to have such a lovey name.”. A lesson learned for me.

      Thanks for sharing your comment…a good reminder for me.
      Siggi in Downeast Maine

  2. How wonderful for you (the name change) but how terribly sad that the teacher didn’t care one wit enough to share in the enthusiastic excitement of the little boy. Apathy just ticks me off when directed towards children I am sorry that happened to you!

    • I tend to think it was more discomfort than apathy.
      Thanks, Len!

      • Charles…am happy you shared that thought…I didn’t think of that.. It was a different time and way of life back in the day.
        Siggi in Downeast Maine

      • yes it was certainly a different time.
        Thanks, Siggi!

  3. Thank you for sharing your memories of Kindergarten…my school changing days…five different schools, 9 thru 12, but your memories of Kindergarten in Northern Wisconsin … like you said ages 5 to 10 were the vague years for me…with before that really spotty at best. Kindergarten memories for me were the sandbox on legs IN THE CLASSROOM, mats for naps, and a grocery store for play. I wonder why nap time was so important we remembered it ! My disappointing day in a classroom was age ten when at a new school, joining mid year,
    a teacher said out loud, “I think you are developing and need to wear something…be sure to tell your mother.” Well, I told my mother, who was livid…not that I was embarrassed, but that I would say such a thing ! ( I realize my upbringing was a bit different than others… never embarrass the parents was the key to living at home peacefully !…and never discuss anything personal like under garments ! ). That is all I remember about that school except they had half grades, so I skipped the first half of fourth grade and never learned long division correctly and I’d only gotten to the “8”s in multiplication tables and hadn’t really learned them well.
    Well, I guess I rambled on a bit. Thanks for the memory jogger post !

    Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • PS..I think it was terrible of that teacher to be so rude about your new name ! I was struck by how similar they were…Marchman and Mashburn… must have been a little confusing at first for someone so young ? My children were adopted by my second husband and got to choose their names in the judges chambers. It was an interesting experience for them….to go from Butler to Stevens at 7 and 12 years of age. I think it is wonderful and exciting that you loved your new name at such a young age.

      • I always thought the similarity was odd, too.
        Thanks, Siggi!

    • I’m sorry, Siggi. I somehow missed these comments! It sounds like you had some interesting times back then!

  4. terri0729 said

    Aw, I would have been excited for you Charlie!!! That sense of belonging is very important to us all, child or adult, isn’t it?! Great story. xxx Terri

  5. That probably would be confusing for any teacher, I have to say 🙂 But what a great way of making a mark- the kid with a new name. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Yep, it is unfortunate that the teacher did not have compassion. That is truly suppose to be part of the profession. You just don’t belittle a child or make them feel uncomfortable. Even the ‘bad’ kids you should try and nurture. Yeah, if you haven’t guessed, I am a retired teacher only I taught the older kids but appreciated the kindergarten and elementary teachers to the nth degree:>)

    • I reckon they can’t get it right every time. It would be interesting to know what was going on in her mind.

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