Maggie is 18 today!
Now before any of you start counting back on your fingers and work out I must have started going out with her 9 months before she was born, I think I'd better explain.
Maggie wasn't Maggie when I met her.
Maggie was in fact, Linda.
Christened Margaret Linda Simpson, the Margaret being after her mother's mother, her mum decided to call her by her middle name. Apparently she feared Margaret might become corrupted to Maggie, which she felt was a little... common. So for the first 34 years of her life, my wife was known as Linda to everyone.
However, in a conversation about names, several months after we started going out with each other, Linda confessed she'd always had a bit of a soft spot for the name Maggie, which she felt had freer and slightly more alternative connotations.
That summer, we went away for a week on a camping holiday together and I suggested that for the duration I would call her Maggie, and if we met anyone we would introduce her as Maggie, and she could get a feel for how well she liked the name.
She loved it.
At this point in her life she'd gone through a separation and divorce with her ex-husband, gone back to college to try and find a new direction in life, and met me. So among other things, I think the idea of taking on a new name helped contribute to a strong sense of new beginnings.
So the following full moon, which was the 24th of August 1991, we had a naming ceremony.
Full of New Age fun, we had a bonfire down on the beach, recited a naming speech we'd found in a book, then went back to Maggie's house for food, drink and general celebrations.
Interestingly, despite telling everyone she now wanted to be known as Maggie, only the friends who came along to the naming ceremony ever really took it on board and never called her Linda again. But friends and family who didn't attend always forgot the name change and reverted to calling her Linda, no matter how often they were reminded,
18 years later, most of our friends have no idea Maggie was ever known by any other name, and the only people who still call her Linda are her brothers and parents.
In these days of Facebook, Friends Reunited and other ways of looking up people we knew from school, it's not going to be easy for pre-Maggie associates to find her. Anyone Googling "Linda Simpson" is more likely to end up on the page of a New York Drag Queen...