I was named Priscilla after my mother’s mother. All her sis­ters named their first born daugh­ter after their mother. I received a card from a cousin: Dear num­ber 6, happy birth­day from num­ber one.

Years later I changed my name to Bry­die so I would have a name of my own.

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  • Byrdie’s essays describes an amaz­ing phenomenon—six Priscil­las in one gen­er­a­tion. One Priscilla with a won­der­ful sense of humor uses num­bers, humor­ously to clar­ify iden­ti­ties. The grand­mother for whom all the girls are named must have been very beloved, indeed. Byrdie’s essay, like essays in the book, reveals the need for a name change to secure her own iden­tity. She picks a nick­name, rather than another given name. In the book, women dis­cuss the many dif­fer­ent facets of nick­names and cir­cum­stances that invite a name change in order to revi­tal­ize the individual’s iden­tity. As described in the book, this is an ancient tra­di­tion. Byrdie’s fam­ily may hold a record for the most girls with the same name in one generation.

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