A few years ago a great thing happened with my husband's work and I posted about it on my Facebook page. Someone at church congratulated him on his success. This freaked Bradford out because he couldn't figure out how this person would know. It freaked him out for another reason. The information was confidential. Oops! My bad.
Bradford realizing I don't have enough sense to know what is okay and not okay to broadcast to 700+ friends, he made it very simple for me.
"Don't mention me on Facebook."
"You got it. I will not mention your name on Facebook."
How on earth am I supposed to talk about my life without talking about my best friend in the whole world? I was stumped.
While I was stumped I was also helping my son earn his Cub Scout belt loop for Heritages. An excellent belt loop, by the way, I highly recommend you encourage your Cub Scout son or grandson to earn it. One of the requirements was to create a family tree. My son and I made a huge family tree that went back about 5 or so generations. I thought it would be fun to see what country each branch came from.
I couldn't believe what I learned. Bradford's father is full-blooded English. Bradford's great grandfather was born in England and came to America when he was eight. He then found someone in America, who was also 100 percent English. But even more amazing, their son, also found a wife who was a full-blooded Englishwoman. I began to do some math and discovered that my husband was 5/8 English.
Anyone who knows my husband personally, knows that he's a very distinguished and proper man. Just the other day we went to a work function on a Saturday. A man said to him, "Wow, even when you dress down you still look formal." It's true, he makes a t-shirt and jeans look like a business suit.
Once I informed our five children of their dad's heritage, the teasing began. "Dad's English? We have to be proper around him!" "Better not let Dad see you drink out of your cup wrong." "Dad, are you going to make us starting having high tea?" What was Bradford's response?
He'd imitate holding a tea cup and extend his pinky and yell, "Proper up!" Then we'd all laugh. We now call that our family gang sign. We make the sign and either yell or whisper, depending on where we are, "Proper up."
Not mentioning my husband on Facebook was really cramping my style. I realized that I had promised to not use his name, but technically I could still talk about him. So I decided to call him "A Certain Englishman" realizing that no one would know who I was talking about. In fact initially, many thought I was talking about Colin Firth.
I think it was a whole week before anyone figured out who I was really talking about. But the nickname stuck and he's been A Certain Englishman ever since.
Just don't tell Bradford. He's way too dignified to have a nickname.
To read about me, a Certain Englishman's Wife, click here.