my best gifts received, part two — “what’s in a name?”
Growing up with a not-so-common name meant finding something personalized was going to be a noteworthy event.
That never happened. Of course someone could pay to print my name on a t-shirt or pen, but you didn’t find one in a store ready to go. I can’t explain why that mattered, but it did. A lot. For my friends with unusual names, such as Fonda, it mattered too. So I know I’m not alone in this.
My brother knew it was important to me, and when he had his chance to get me something pre-personalized, if you will, he went to unusual lengths to get it.
He was backpacking in New Zealand, and there in the grocery store window was a poster advertising “the latest fruity member of the popsicle band,” Belinda Blackberry.
With her slick haircut and wide-eyed smile, this singing sensation’s picture was destined to hang on the walls of my apartment. There was no doubt.
It took some persuasion and few phone calls to the right people, but my brother convinced the bewildered Tip-Top distributor to give it to him. Apparently the name Belinda is far more common in New Zealand than it is in America, so this man was skeptical of my brother’s insistence I would value the poster because it had my name on it.
I bet that man would be shocked, and maybe get a good laugh, if he knew that today, some thirty years later, this ad has been framed and now hangs over my desk at home, to keep me cheery on gloomy days.
No one could appreciate it more than me, for the name as well as the inconvenience & expense my brother was willing to go through to get it mailed to me. And oh yes, the pure camp value of the ad itself.
Thanks go to Tip-Top products, New Zealand’s premier producer of ice cream products & frozen treats. And they know nothing about this post. I’m just sincerely grateful they gave my brother that poster!