That’s how you spell my name. But here’s a fact: That’s also how you spell Katharine Hepburn’s name.
In the past few days alone, I’ve seen so many people who write her name down as K-a-t-h-E-r-i-n-e. I know that the common way nowadays is to spell it with two “e”s, but the way she spells it is with two “a”s.
How do I know this?
Because I’m named after her.
And I have a letter signed by her sitting in the living room of my mother’s house.
You see, my mother and grandmother were huge fans of her films and when it was time to name me, they decided I would bear her name. And along with that, her spelling. They thought it was prettier or something like that.
Around the time I was 4 (give or take a year or so), my mom decided to write to Katharine Houghton Hepburn herself, telling her that she had named her daughter after the famed actress. I don’t know what else my mom said in that letter, but that’s pretty much it.
I don’t know how long it took, but she got a response, typed up on an old typewriter. Paraphrasing it said: “Katharine Leigh Spencer, good luck to my namesake.” And then she signed it. It wasn’t some long, drawn-out letter. At this point, the woman was in her late 80s/early 90s.
Oh, and yes, my full name combines 3 very famous early actors: Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, and Spencer Tracy. Funny… Katharine and Spencer had a thing at one point, too. And yes, it’s all a coincidence.
For the record, I just now tried to search for Katharine Hepburn spelled with two “e”s. Google will correct you. In formal settings, where her films are accounted for, her name is spelled correctly.
So why can’t anyone else on the internet?
Maybe it’s just because I’m one of the few Katharine’s out there compared to all the Katherine’s. But I can tell you, it’s so frustrating that everytime someone asks for my full name, I have to say, “Yes, Katharine. K-a-t-h-A-r-i-n-e” and put all my emphasis into that second “a”. And yet my name is still spelled wrong on official college documents. It’s infuriating.
That’s probably why I get so mad. Because if they can spell a famous actress’ name wrong, there’s no hope in hell for me.
Please always double-check on someone’s name. You never know if you’re getting it wrong.