Monday, November 8, 2010


I spent the past three weeks feverishly making crafts in preparation for a craft fair in Manchester on Nov. 6.

Most of my time was spent making name magnets. I used small ceramic tiles and wrote people’s names on them in permanent marker, then drew a little design on each one and glued a magnet on the back. I decided to sell them for 50 cents each.

The problem was that whenever I thought I finally was finished writing names, I’d hear a name on TV and run to make another magnet. I hate to say it, but I became name obsessed.

“Dakota!” I’d shout and make a beeline for my magnets. “I forgot Dakota! And I think I just heard someone on TV call someone Whippy! I’d better write that one down, too!”

“They were calling their dog!” my husband said.

“Well, you never know. Someone might like to buy a magnet for the family dog!” I said, grabbing my indelible marking pen.

Then, after I was certain I’d finally finished making all of the magnets, an area newspaper came out with a list of the most common names for newborns in New Hampshire. I read the list and discovered I didn’t have even half of the names on it. There were a few, like Joseph and Charlotte, I had, but then there were the Logans, Hunters, Briannas and Taylors I didn’t have.

By the time I was done, I’d made over 1,200 magnets. I was confident, however, that I’d come up with just about every possible name anyone could ever want. I even spelled Megan four different ways (Megan, Meagan, Meghan, Meaghan) just to be safe. I also made extras of the names I thought would be the most popular.

I included a lot of state-of-the-art names too, like Mackenzie, McKenna and Sierra. And I even tossed in a few really unusual ones like Rasputina and Norberta. Yes, I definitely was ready.

“You don’t have Zorro,” my husband said as he studied the names on my magnets.

I gave him a look that clearly told him I thought he was losing his mind.

“No,” he said, “I’m totally serious. You need a Zorro magnet. I’ll bet you $5 someone will buy it.”

“You’re on!” I said.

The morning of the craft fair, I woke up with a sore knee. I barely could put any weight on it and had trouble straightening my leg. The fact that 110 pounds of rottweiler had come crashing head-on into it a few days before, just might have had something to do with it.

The problem with having over 1,200 ceramic-tile magnets was their weight. I’d arranged them in alphabetical order on 10 cookie sheets, and each cookie sheet ended up weighing about 5 pounds. I also had several large boxes of other craft items I’d made, like plaques and decorated trinket boxes, so I had to make quite a few trips to the car before I finally got everything loaded. The entire time, my knee was crying out in protest.

When I arrived at the craft fair, I discovered it was being held in the church basement – a basement with a really steep flight of stairs. I couldn’t get over how deep, how subterranean that basement was. I mean, my own basement has 13 stairs. This one had nearly twice that many.

By the time I unloaded all of my crafts from the car and climbed up and down the incredibly steep stairs a gazillion times, I felt as if I’d just run the Boston marathon. It was bad enough I’d had a bad knee to begin with, but afterwards I was pretty sure I had heart trouble, too.

The fair turned out to be even better than I could have imagined. There was a constant flow of people, most of whom seemed eager to part with their money. My magnets sold steadily all day long.

There were a few names, however, people asked for that I didn’t have – Jaymz, Kryss, Dyanna, Cyndie and Karroll, to name a few. It made me wonder if their parents had lost sleep before they were born, lying awake every night, trying to come up with the most creative ways to spell their names.

And what was the most requested name that day? Courtney? Connor? Melissa?

Believe it or not, it was Henry.

And did I end up selling my husband’s Zorro magnet?

Well, just between you and me…I owe him $5.