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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What's in my Little Black Book?

I have an unusual name. Deana. I've had to spell it for most of my life for most people and on most occasions.

It's not only been misspelled, but it's also been mispronounced many different ways over the years - dana, dinah, donna, deanna, and on occasion, correctly - deena.

I've blamed my mom for giving me the strangest name in our family. All my siblings have normal names that sound exactly the way they are spelled. But not me. Why? I don't know. I wrote a blog post in 2015 about what might or might not be the origins of my name. Like I said, I blame my mother.

The truth remains that my name is unusual, leading to a low possibility of finding any souvenir or other keepsake with my name engraved, embossed, painted, carved, or otherwise embedded on it.

So when my husband saw a key chain a few decades ago that had "Deana" on it, that rare key chain came home with us.

The key chain accessory is rectangular with a little door on the bottom side that opens up, revealing a fold-out piece of paper headlined "Little Black Book", just like the words on the top of the fob.

For years, I used this key chain to hold a set of extra keys to our church, and I ignored the hidden piece of paper inside it.

When I was a volunteer youth group leader, I'd often hand my church keys over to a teenager so they could open the church office or other room to get something we needed for that day's program. Sometimes this hand-off went well. Other times, a curious teenager would ask, "What's a Little Black Book?"

I'd explain that in the old days, you'd keep a list of people you dated or wanted to date and their phone numbers in your private little black book. The youth holding my key chain would stare at me for a second and then immediately start to dismantle my key fob to see what secrets were hidden in my Little Black Book.

I'd quickly grab my keys back and squash their attempts at getting inside the head of their leader.

There was nothing for them to see, of course, but still ... it was more fun to keep them wondering.

A few years into my 13-year stint as a youth group leader, I decided to write something in my Little Black Book - for my own entertainment.

I enjoyed watching the reactions of subsequent batches of nosy teenagers who took it upon themselves to open up my secret book without my permission. They'd quickly become quiet and then smile sheepishly. And I'd smile too. It was all in good fun.

Years passed and I was no longer a youth group leader. My children had all become young adults and I had moved on to other adventures, such as publishing books.

I'd forgotten about the secret of my Little Black Book until one day at church when another woman at a meeting asked who had a key to the church office so she could get something for our committee. I handed her my key.

On her way back from using the key, she noticed the key chain's secret door and opened it up.

She burst out laughing. "You got me!"

It wasn't my intention to get her, but I surely did.

This is what she saw:


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