I am named after my father’s grandfather James and his father Laverne. James Laverne Robison. Laverne went by Verne. He was not my fathers’ biological father. He was his stepfather. I’ve never met his real father. I don’t care to meet his family, he is the only one I considered grandpa. Dad’s grandfather is a step also. It’s the same on my mothers’ side. No one will say anything about her real father. I recently found out he was a Ukrainian sailor. Grandma won’t say anything else about it. I’m not going to pry.
For the first 13 years of my life I went by Verne. I hated it. I always got teased for my name. It was always “Hey Laverne, where’s Shirley?” To this day I can’t watch Laverne and Shirley without cringing. After the show was canceled, along comes Jim Varney and his stupid “Hey Verne!” crap. After that, the movie Stand By Me had a dumbass character named Verne.
When I started 7th grade I thought, here’s my chance, no more Verne. It was a new school with new people; I would start using my first name. It sort of worked. There were a few people from elementary school who insisted upon calling me Verne. Verne morphed into nerd. For the entire 7th grade and half of 8th grade people called me nerd. It sucked, but it was better than Verne.
When I left Rialto, No one called me Verne anymore. Even my family called me James. Verne was dead.