What's in a Name?

by Alice (Conger) Knisely ('51)

Your Voice Winner Alice (Conger) KniselyAs a Wesleyan freshman in late fall of 1945, I pledged Alpha Gamma Delta and moved into the Gam House, with the given name: Alice Ann. Coincidentally, the name of my pledge roomie was “Alice Ann” from Iowa and I, from Nebraska. We laughed at our identical monikers. Another pledge, Alice Cox from Chicago, was far from celebrating the similarity.

With her “Chicawgo” drawl, she informed the two of us that SHE was ALICE and neither of us should go by the name. Agreeably, Alice Ann from Iowa said, grinning, that her dad had wanted a boy and nicknamed her “Bill.” From that moment on my roommate answered to the male designation. However, Chicawgo-Alice turned to me with a frown. Since I had no similar response, she came up with “So you can be Alisandee or maybe only Sandee.”

There were no Sandras or Sandys, other than the Scottish masculine title, back in the 40s. My hair was auburn with sandy highlights. From that moment on, I became Sandy, a name my mother challenged since it was only Orphan Annie’s dog in the funny papers. However, when she attended a teachers’ convention in Lincoln and visited me, she relented, in her own words stating my Alpha Gam sisters said it with such love that she could accept it.