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The date was August 5, 1956. A baby was born somewhere in the Phillipines. Her mother named her baby Julieta.

The next week Grandpa was asked to go down to the courthouse to register this baby’s birth. The name he thought. What was the name? Oh dear. Florentina  it shall be. I like that name. And so it was entered on record as Florentina on August 5, 1953.

But…she was known and loved by her family and friends as Julieta, her mothers choice of names.

Now fast forward nineteen years and Art had asked for Julieta’s hand in marriage.  Happily she set off for the courthouse to get a copy of her birth certificate and apply for a  marriage license.

“Are you sure that is the correct name? Is the year right? I can’t seem to find a record of your birth,” the clerk said worriedly.

Looking puzzled Julietta was sent upstairs to the office of her uncle who was the mayor and happened to work in the same building. Maybe he could sort this out the clerk thought and called ahead to alert him.

Uncle had a grin on his face as she walked in. “I know what you want my dear,” he said.

“I just want to know why they can’t find my birth certificate,” his niece said. “I know this is where it was registered. My mother told me so. They don’t have a record of me!”

“Sit down child and I shall tell you a story.”  Sitting closely together he relayed the details of her birth registration. “Grandpa registered you. He couldn’t remember the name your mother had given you at birth and he like the name Florentina. The year seemed to escape his memory too. So there it is. Your legal name is Florentina, not Julieta as you’ve been called and you were actually born in 1956, not in 1953 as your birth certificate states.”

“What? You mean I’m not who I thought I was and I’m how old? Are you really my family? Is Nanay really my mother?”

“Yes to all your questions. Only the name and age have changed.”

Julita or Florentina, as this was now her legal name, retrieved her birth certificate from the office and applied for her marriage license with her new name. Her fiancé was told of the name change and it didn’t really matter to him. He was marrying the girl – not the name.

I asked Tina what her husband thought of all this and wasn’t it hard to have to switch gears midstream and call her by a different name. After all Julita  is all he had ever known her by. ” What does he call you?”

“Oh, he’s ok. He just calls me ‘Baby’.”

Well this isn’t the end of this story. Fast forward another forty years and Tina starts thinking about her Social Security Benefits. She realized because of the date on her birth certificate she would be able to draw Social Security three years early. This was a plus indeed! So she started planning and it’s in the works! How cool is that?

Hahaha Uncle Sam!

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent – you see she really was innocent in this mishap. After all, she was just a baby.

And yes, this is a true story!




About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

10 responses »

  1. My FIL was the one who registered the births for his first two children and he spelled their names wrong. Hence, their names are not spelled in the normal way. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story-men seem to not get too caught up in the details!!! Yea for you on SS. My name was different for the first year-then I was adopted and they changed the middle and last names-I think it was nice that they kept the first name the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. I’d heard of the name or day of birth thing happening before, but never thought the year could be wrong. Fun to see the long term benefit.

    Liked by 1 person


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