The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Maggie is 18

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...


Brave Astronaut said...

It reminds me of a point in my life when I wanted to be called Jack, a common nickname for John. I actually started down the road when I was teaching, but put the kibosh on it quickly.

Then I wanted to name my first son as a Junior, but call him Jack, but he had cousins who already had another cousin named Jack.

So if Linda's now Maggie, are we sure you are really Kim? Huh? Huh?

Eryl Shields said...

Linda Simpson sounds like such a different person to Maggie Ayres. Linda Simpson sounds all frosted highlights and commercial aspirations to me, whereas Maggie Ayres sounds like someone I would want to meet. I realise this might be because I have met her, but there is an element of choice in being called Maggie, and it's such a lovely rhythmic, name someone called it just sounds cool.

Anna van Schurman said...

New Age fun. There's nothin' like it.

LegalMist said...

That is awesome! Strange that only those who attended the ceremony have managed to make the change to the new name.

I wonder if it points out the power of a naming ceremony for those who attend, or if it is because the people who attended were those who were most likely to accept the change to begin with?

Names are powerful, though, aren't they? I'm so glad Maggie is happy with her "new" name.

hope said...

Truthfully, "Maggie" sounds like a warm, nurturing soul. Every "Linda" I ever met was overbearing and rather nutty. :)

Happy Name Day for Maggie!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

By that reckoning, I am 9.

Rachel Fox said...

I love this kind of story! I've had loads of different names (and have a poem about it...just for a change...).

Kim Ayres said...

Brave Astronaut - I have no middle name, so have always used my first. But although I'm happy enough with my name now, it wasn't always so - see A boy named Kim

Eryl - I think artwork created by a Linda Simpson would be completely different to that created by Maggie Ayres too :)

Anna - so easy to make it all up as you go along :)

LegalMist - Names are so powerful. I'm always mortified when I forget, or mispronounce someone's name - it's like I've not taken them seriously enough

Hope - perhaps I should put in an apology at this point to any Lindas who might be reading this blog...

Daphne - and what a fun 9 year old you are, with a great curiosity about the world. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Rachel - I will have to seek that one out :)

Anonymous said...

It is well for it that a majority of us, take a pseudo:)

For example I "Crabbers " ex " Crabtree" (so surnomé by... B... Daph ...a lady!) my forename is Did. P.... Jean!

Long life and a lot of happiness to Maggie

Charlie said...

I'm happy that you're happy that Maggie's happy with being called Maggie. Happy nameday, Maggie.

And if I'd known about the ceremony 18 years ago, I would have ordered up a Druid or two for the festivities.

Bella said...

funny when you divorce sometimes you don't want people to call you by that "nick"name anymore so off you go to the land of new and people know you by a totally different name! Maggie is a wonderful name!

BTW, you're the third guy I've come across named Kim; the two I know on a personal level of course, one a doctor, the other a chemical engineer.

Z said...

I've had three friends who changed their names with varying degrees of success. I'm all for it - I think that if you don't like your name or it doesn't suit you any more, you should be able to change and it's up to your friends to accept it and respect you enough to use it.

debra said...

Maggie she is, and probably always ways. What's in a name? A lot. My youngest daughter doesn't have a clue why she was named Hannah; she has called herself many different things over the years, and has now happily settled on Aytch.
Happy 18th to Maggie (plus a few days :-)

savannah said...

happy (belatedly) name day, miss maggie! ;~D xoxox

michael greenwell said...

i just got in touch recently with someone i was friends with in school and hadn't seen for 18 years.

mapstew said...

Cheers Maggie!
I know many wonderful 'Maggies'.
I know one 'Linda'. (shiver!!!)

Ma calls me Martin, my other half and my kids and most friends call me Stew, or Stewart. One or two people call me Marty.
Bandmates know me as Fred!
Bloggers know me as Mapstew.
(Martin Anthony Patrick Stewart!)

Cheers again Maggie!

Kim Ayres said...

Crabbers - I thought about taking a peudonym, but have worn too many masks in the past. It's much freer using my own name and being myself :)

Charlie - so glad you're happy :)

Bella - I've found a website called, but I've still to properly meet one in person

Z - I think if we choose our own name, other's should respect it too

Debra - If I reduced mine to K, it would sound even more like a woman's name :)

Savannah - thank you :)

Michael - it's a sign of getting older. Once upon a time, we'd bump into people we hadn't seens since school, 3 years before...

Mapstew - So I could start calling you Tony then? I always assumed Mapstew was a derivative of Matthew - got that wrong :)

Mary Witzl said...

My husband's got a friend who was named Guy because his parents felt it was a name that could not be corrupted into a shortened form. Guy has gone through life known to everyone as Yug. We all still call him that, in fact.

I personally think Maggie sounds sweeter than Linda, though I do know half a dozen nice Lindas. Happy 18th birthday to Maggie!

Mary Witzl said...

Ooh, and I was the 18th commenter there!

mapstew said...

Tony away!

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - Somewhere out there will be someone who changed their name from Maggie to Linda, I'm sure :)

Tony - OK Pat!

PI said...

Another piece of the jigsaw. What an excellent idea. I rather wish I'd changed my Christian name as well as my surname when we got married. That's got me thinking:)

Oh hi Marty!

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - so you never decided to be Patty, or Tricia, or Trish, or Ptrsh... ?

hope said...

I lived down the street from a boy named Kimball...and everyone called him Skip. Go figure.

You know I think Kim is a wonderful name. ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - I might just add you to my chrsitmas list :)

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