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DP Challenges

What’s in a Name?

Dawn : The first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise… sounds great, right? Discuss

It seems kind of appropriate that I am writing about my ‘name’ on my birthday – yep 30th May 19*3 – 6.30 am at 6 Lb something.

I was named by my dad, who was very sporty – footy, swimming, boxing, Olympics, you name it – after Dawn Fraser, a famous, and controversial(I like that bit) Australian swimmer. She won eight Olympic medals, including four gold medals, and six Commonwealth Games gold medals, and she held 39 swimming records. The controversy surrounding her occurred during the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. She marched in the opening ceremony wearing an older issue swimming costume because it was more comfortable than the one supplied by the sponsors, thus angering said sponsors and the Australian Swimming Union (ASU). During the same games she was also accused and charged of stealing an Olympic flag from a flagpole outside Emperor Hirohito’s palace. Released without charge, she was given the flag as a souvenir. However, the ASU suspended her for 10 years, basically destroying her swimming career. HOWEVER…. rumour has it that it was all a scheme because she was thought to be a lesbian!! Shheezz…

Anyway I love the controversy surrounding my ‘name’!

Me and Dad October 1964

Me and Dad October 1964


Therefore, I have never really wanted to change my name…. Except for the time during the early 1970s (I think, approximately) when a product called Dawn’s Toilet Paper was introduced onto the market (yikes, now you’re gonna know how old I am), that was not an attractive time for me. AND, I don’t want to talk about it…

Then of course, there was Dawn dishwashing liquid! What is with the word Dawn anyways?? What has pure morning light got to do with toilet paper and washing dishes? I know, I know: purity, cleanliness…. but gee wizz, give me a break!

So, a few decades later and the name still sticks (if you’ll excuse the pun) but you may be happy to know I now have a nickname, sort of… well the only person that uses it is my partner, who also happened to make it up… DeeDee.





Today's birthday card

Today’s birthday card


How did this nickname come about? Well, a little known fact about me is that I have a PhD… so Dr Dawn – DeeDee!

However, I have extended the use of this name to some jewellery and ceramic designs I work on , and I am thinking of adopting it as the design name for my sculpture and drawing as well – decisions, decisions… basically I don’t know if I should be known by my name as an artist or brand myself – thoughts??


Anyway, that is my name.
I am named after someone.
There is a story attached to it.
And I would not change it for the world.


Swimmers Ankles!

Swimmers Ankles!



























Some links about Dawn Fraser 🙂

this is a WordPress daily Prompt challenge and more entries can be viewed here :


9 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. What an enjoyable read! I had no idea ‘DeeDee’ was because of ‘Dr. Dawn’ – that is magnificent! Wishing the happiest of birthdays to you, Dawn!

    Posted by artdoesmatter | May 30, 2013, 4:41 am
  2. Happy Birthday Dawn.
    My mum was a child during the 56 Olympics and she went to a school with about 20 kids. They all had to write to an athlete at the games, My mum wrote to Dawn Fraser, and my mum is the only kid who received a response. Dawn is a legend.
    I love why you hated your name during the 70’s, though I don’t remember the products you are talking about, haha.
    When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had been a Perry Mason fan for quite a few years, the old B&W ones, it used to be on in the after. While I was pregnant, the guy that played him died, so I decided that boy or girl my child would have Perry as the middle name, and she does, in honour of that show. Then when my second child was born, it was to be Della for a girl, Perry’s secretary, or Drake, the detective, for a boy. So her middle name is Della. At least they have a strange story to go with their name. Unlike my name.
    So I loved your post today, and very happy birthday Dawn. I hope you have a great day.

    Posted by Leanne Cole | May 30, 2013, 7:04 am
  3. You’ve a long way to go but Dawn is harder to handle in the twilight years so Happy Birthday Deedee p.s. sadly your designs link is broken

    Posted by Laura Bloomsbury | May 30, 2013, 7:27 pm


  1. Pingback: Identity crisis?! | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me - January 16, 2014

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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