My mom wanted a Debbie. My dad wanted a Jeanie. They compromised and named me Debra Jean, but I was called Jeanie from the moment I was born. My mom’s dad, my Grandpa Allison, called me Debbie Jean to make my mom happy.
But I was always Jeanie.
My dad said he knew who I’d be when he saw the Northern Tissue ads on billboards in 1959. “There is our Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” he’d tell my mom. She bought the set of posters by Frances Hook, an American artist whose friendly depictions of Jesus with children you would recognize.
The Northern Baby with light brown hair and blue eyes. And me. With the light brown hair.
So, a few times during my life, people have burst into song when they’ve lerned my name. The song is an oldie, written in the 1800s and has some quaint words. My parents chose the actual spelling of my name, which could have been spelled a bunch of different ways, from this old song. And though I have heard a gazillion renditions, I only just learned of this one. And I really like it. I finally feel like some one sang it like they meant it.
Having had red hair 18 out of the last 25 years and even brown-black hair for a year, I have been feeling a little frumpy with my return to a light brown (because I can’t stand the upkeep of red nor the constant attention to roots with dark hair). It is the least work. But it seems boring. Just plain old me again. Then Sam Cooke sings
Aaah. I am in love! Thank-you, Sam Cooke! Suddenly ok with my hair color! O happy day.