Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On the Lighter Side...

Apparently I’m the “Other” Karen DeWitt

It’s not like my name is Jane Doe, or Sue Smith, or Pat Jones. Though Karen DeWitt is not an especially exclusive name, it’s just unusual enough that I rarely find anyone with a last name exactly like mine. I’ve got the big W in the middle of my surname, and apparently so does the Capitol Bureau Chief at NYS Public Radio, Karen DeWitt. 

Equally bizarre is seeing photos of this woman with my same name. Since I’ve been growing my natural hair color in for the past five months (yes, I’m talking bright white hair again) the other Karen DeWitt and I look as though we could be sisters!
I’m aware there are a lot of us “mature” women out there named Karen, but way fewer young girls with that first name. In the past decade or two Karen never caught on as one of those trendy old-fashioned names like Emma or Sophia. The name Karen was pretty much non-existent prior to the 1920s, rose to its height of popularity in the 1950s and 60s, and has since crashed and burned on the popularity-by-name charts. 

Likewise, I have always thought the surname DeWitt was rather unique. Other than my handful of relatives and the well-known actress of the 1970s/80s Joyce DeWitt (Three’s Company) I’m not aware of too many other DeWitt’s. My internet research (and we all know how accurate that can be) shows an estimated 25,448 people with the last name of DeWitt in America compared to the most popular name of Smith at almost 2.4 million.

So getting back on track, it seems unlikely (at least to me) that I should have to share both of my names with someone. Anybody using my name to do a web search hoping to find my precious debut book, The Bunco Club, will have to wade through page after page of hits on Karen DeWitt the Capitol Bureau Chief, journalist, and radio/TV personality before they locate a snippet of anything about me. 

The good news, however, is that my name and I are unquestionably in good company. I can only hope that the “other” Karen DeWitt feels the same.

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