Memory is a dangerous thing. Especially when it doesn't work correctly. I am going to tell the story of how the Flea got her name, but part of it is my childhood memories, the other part stories as they were told me by third parties, years later. Only my mother really knows the truth - if her memory is accurate.
Growing up I remember being told that my little brother (we're a year apart) couldn't say Felicia, that he called me Flea. The name stuck. It was cute for a little red head with freckles (see picture). Aww. When I started first grade I remember my mom telling me that I had the choice to be called Flea or Felicia at the new school. She said that the one I chose would probably be the one that stuck with me for life (I always thought of this when I watched Tootsie, with Dustin Hoffman, and the romantic interest told the story about picking the wallpaper for her room as a child). I chose Flea. It got me lots of attention - duh.
Fast forward 23 years. I'm 29 and have just had my third child, Nathaniel. He's beautiful, and we've chosen his name because it sounds masculine and strong. It really does suit him (Thanny does not, though that's what we call him. It's a soft nickname for a boy). One of my mom's family (yes, I'm protecting the guilty by not naming ... and ... I can't ... remember ...) called and asked why on earth I named my boy Nathaniel, like I should know better. So I explain the strong masculine thing, so proud of myself for coming up with a good, non-family name (my daughter is Era Mae, after a grandmother, and the second child is Harry Oliver, V). It's not an archaic, wussy or made up name. Yay me!
It turns out (this is what I've HEARD), that my mom's first in-laws (no longer in-laws, but outlaws, after I turned four) nicknamed me Flea very early on. Which explains why there are baby pictures of me, months before my brother was born, labeled "Flea". It had nothing to do with my brother (who shall remain nameless - again to protect the guilty - he knows what he did). When he came along a year after me, the in-laws wanted to name him Nathaniel. They wanted a Flea and a Nat. My mom refused. Yay mom!
So my family was a little concerned that I was playing some kind of evil joke on either my child or my mother. Honestly, up to that phone call, it never even crossed my mind that my son could be called Nat. Had I not named him such, I would never know the REAL story behind my name. If that is the real story ...
And yes, I still prefer to be called Flea, for the same reason. It gets me more attention - duh. But you can call me Felicia if you want to. I just won't answer. :)
Until I write again ...