Friday, May 29, 2009

MARIE ANTOINETTE...IS THAT YOUR REAL NAME?

Yes it's true, Marie Antoinette is my real name and Toni is just a nick name that I adopted in junior high school because Toni was shorter, easier and way cooler!

I was born in Italy and customarily the first born is named after a grandmother. In as much as I had a grandmother named Antonia (father's side) and a great grandmother named Antonia (mother's side), they named me Maria Antonietta after them both. Grandparents and other family members called me Nietta for short.

After our arrival to America and when I started grammar school, the nuns of Saint Callistus Catholic School decided to translate my Italian Maria Antonietta to the English version Marie Antoinette. It was their attempt to Americanize me! From then on I was called Marie Antoinette and my childhood friends called me Antoinette. My parents however spoke only Italian in our home so they continued to call me Antonietta. When my younger siblings learned to speak my name they couldn't pronounce Antonietta so they formed the name Teta in baby talk. The baby talk stuck because they still call me Teta and so do their children. My niece and nephews call me Auntie Teta!

When I hit Junior High School in the late 60's Marie Antoinette or any version of it was just too "square"! And writing the entire name on homework assignments was a pain. So as in the masculine version of Anthony, Tony is a short nickname, I did the same with Antoinette using the feminine version of Toni. From that moment on I have been known as Toni. But my family in Italy still calls me by my Italian name, Antonietta.

When I started my business in 1984 I named it the English name "Marie Antoinette Custom Home Interiors" just to keep it simple. Yea, right!

So here are all my real names in order of appearance! Maria Antonietta, Nietta, Antonietta, Teta, Marie Antoinette, Antoinette, and Toni.

And yes that is my real name, driver's license, business license, passport and Social Security Card, Marie Antoinette.

3 comments:

Gayle Grace said...

what a wonderful story and thanks for sharing this

Toni Berry said...

Hi Gayle, nice to hear from you, hope all is well!
Toni

Cathy said...

Whatever anyone calls you I think your name is superb! I wish my name was Marie Antoinette, especially since so many of us adored the original "Marie". I have an entire website of artwork I've created reflecting "Marie Antoinette". Stop by some day. EleganceandWhimsy.com

Love your blog...

xo Cathy