To be precise, there are 4,366 Lisa Davises in the U.S., according to the website HowManyOfMe.com. (Apparently I am not the only one struggling with identity issues.)
I’m not even the only Lisa Davis in town. I think there are at least three of us. I know this because we tend to frequent the same shops and pharmacies and veterinarians, and occasionally we get mixed up. I once showed up for a dentist’s appointment only to be told that I was three hours early. Ah, no. That would be the OTHER Lisa Davis.
Before I got married, I was blessed with a measure of uniqueness. My maiden name is Kestler, with a T in the middle. We ignored the T in the middle and never pronounced it. My mother always surmised that it was put there in the distant past by a census worker who didn’t know you’re not supposed to spell Kestler with a T in the middle.
I grew up in a city of 400,000 people, and there were only two Kestlers-with-a-T in the phone book. The other was a cousin.
It’s a good German name. My family tree is full of good German names, like Meisenheimer and Von Tieffenbruch.
“Kestler” lends itself beautifully to nicknames. My dad was known simply as “Kes.”
In high school, I had a lot of nicknames, most of which we will not go into, but my favorite was always “Kessie.”
My high-school history teacher, who was also the football coach, could never get my name right. Every day, he’d call roll, and every day, he’d mispronounce my name.
“It’s ‘Kess-ler.’ Here!”
“It’s ‘Kessler.’ Here!”
I do miss my maiden name. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic for it, I will Google my former self.
Recently, I found several old newspaper and magazine stories I’d written. I even popped up on Amazon, where a couple of folks are selling old copies of an art magazine I edited.
There’s a Lisa Kestler who is a psychologist in New York City. (She’s got a new book coming out next month, Gender Differences in Prenatal Substance Exposure.) Another Lisa Kestler is the wife of the inventor of the Laundry Backpack.
There are nearly 20 Lisa Kestlers on Facebook. Four of them are in Germany. One works for the USDA in Louisiana. One is a florist in North Carolina. One is a midwife in Texas. One teaches yoga in Atlanta.
(This is why you should upgrade your privacy settings.)
A few James and Walter Kestlers popped up on Facebook, as well. I might be related to them, but I’m not sure. We didn’t keep up with the Kestler side of the family too well. In the early 1900s, my grandfather Kestler ran off with a woman named Rosebud, leaving my grandmother to raise five kids on the farm by herself.
Unlike some folks I know, who have friended complete strangers on Facebook just because they have the same name, I have no intention of friending any other Lisa Kestlers.
I liked it better when I was the only one I knew.