My name is Alyse Taylor Cooke. My father’s name is Alvin Young Cooke Sr. and my mother’s is Toni Marie Taylor Cooke. When my mom was pregnant and discovered she was having twins she initially told my dad with a straight face that she was having triplets in order to soften the blow.


After she admitted that there were only two of us my dad was somewhat relieved.


My mother was excited and wanted to give us names that honored both herself and my dad. My brother was named after my dad and she named me something more feminine and non traditional that started- Alyse. My middle name is Taylor, her maiden name.


When I was around four or five years old my mom would put my wild hair hair into two big puffs at each side of my head hence the nickname Mickey Mouse arrived. That was a style I wore for years.


Even until this day at thirty seven years old when I call my dad, he says,

“Mickey Mouse what’s up?!” or “Hey Mick”.


I never noticed  or realized that most of the the time my closest friends and family do not address me as “Alyse”.  Until I had a recent visit to my hometown in CT. I was hanging out with a friend of mine Colleen at my cousin’s house and my cousin Sherelle arrived who I hadn’t seen in years. The first thing she said was, “Hey Meeky!!!” (another nickname) and we hugged. Colleen raised her eyebrows and said, “Meeky??” We laughed and I explained that it was a name my certain cousins called me.


As an adult I’ve established great friendships throughout the years and the name changing has not stopped. Lee Lee, Lysie Poo, Cookie, Lyse, LC etc. Am I offended by the fact that people have have created their own way of addressing me by calling me something other than what is listed on my birth certificate?


Not at all. Really, how could I be? It’s all in love.  My dad is from a small town Fort Gaines, GA and no one is called by their real name there. I am not sure if it’s southern tradition or just what people do across the board. But I figure that if people have and or create a special name for you, that means you are special to them.