Author Tamela Hancock Murray

Lesson Two from Sailor Bob

The fact that Sailor Bob didn’t know how to spell my name, Tammy, puzzled me. When we got home, I asked my mother why.

“There is more than one way to spell Tammy.”

This was a total shock to me. How could there be more than one way to spell Tammy? Many Southern women fell in love with the Tammy movies, so in the South, the name boasted immense popularity for at least thirty years. I went by Tammy until my freshman year in college, when I realized another Tammy lived on our small dorm hall. “I give up,” I said. “I’m going to be Tamela.” Tamela is my given name.

But as a child, I figured everyone spelled the name like the movie character.

Apparently not. “You can spell it T-a-m-m-i-e,” my mother explained.

Really! Had I possessed such a vocabulary, I might have said, “Eureka! What a revelation!”

I thought of all the ways I could spell Tammy:

Tammy

Tammie

Tammi

Tami

I decided “Tami” was the most cool way to spell my name.

“I want to spell my name T-a-m-i,” I declared to my mother.

She didn’t miss a stroke in wiping down the stove. “No. You are NOT going to change the spelling of your name. Your name is spelled T-a-m-m-y.”

So there. I had learned something else from Sailor Bob. That there is more than one way to do things. And second, I had learned that there is no arguing with my mother.

Your turn:

When did you learn there is more than one way to do something?

What is the best story you can share of doing something differently or better?

Can you offer writing tips that may be unique to yourself?

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