If you grow up with the name Jadi, it will be mispronounced. Jodi. Judy. Janie. Right when a community had it figured out, we would move. One after the other, a parade of grade school and high school teachers and college professors stumbled reading roll call.
When the second Star Wars film came out, everyone at the firm where I worked treated me to (insert uproarious laughter here) “Hey! It’s The Return of the Jadi!”
Perhaps it was inevitable that I married a German named Uwe.
Uwe is a common name in Germanic countries, but just about impossible to pronounce correctly for anyone else. “Ova?” my mother suggested. “Ewe-y,” grinned Dad; I know he did it on purpose.
We had a quiet wedding in Germany and a party Stateside a few months later. A restaurant catered the reception and a local bakery made the wedding cake(s).
I’ve written elsewhere about the awesomeness of German bakeries . For our party, rather than do a tiered and tired yum-where’d-you-get-this-cake-that-tastes-like-sugar-covered-cardboard, I wanted to honor the country I was marrying along with meinen Mann. I went to the best bakery in town and made a proposal:
I ordered six sheet cakes, all different. Yellow cake. Coconut cake. Carrot cake. Chocolate cake. Spice cake. And, yes, one white cake. Turns out I’m a sucker for tradition after all. The bakery manager dutifully wrote everything down.
“And,” I continued with the order, “I want you to write our names on all of the cakes. Wrong. Except for one of them. Here’s a list of names for each cake,” I said, and handed him a page of phonetics.
When we went to pick up those cakes before the party, the bakery let us know how much fun they’d had filling the order!
Twenty-three years later I recall those cakes with a smile – and wonder where the time went.
JayDee and Oyvay 4Ever!
NOTES:  Go to My Mother-In-Law’s Cookies for more about the tradition of yummy German cakes.  New Morning Bakery in Corvallis, Oregon still prepares their own baked goods and meals.