Thursday, March 1, 2007

All Aboard the Dragonwagon

When children's book/cookbook author Crescent Dragonwagon was nominated for NOTY back in 1993, she was pretty much a mortal lock to win. And she did.

Thirteen years later, though, an NOTY Committee member was shocked to discover that she wasn't born Crescent Dragonwagon at all, but rather Ellen Zolotow. Not much of a name that, by NOTY standards.

So. Valid or not? Some Committee members argued no: bullshit, made-up name. Some argued that a legal name change makes a legal name, and Dragonwagon herself makes clear that her name change might have been a regrettable act of youthful folly, but it was legal. Hey, some of us drink too much beer and throw up in Ben Franklin's lap, others change their name to Crescent Dragonwagon.

But here at NOTY we demand more verification than a website. To clear things up, Committee Member Neg emailed the author (whose mother, Charlotte Zolotow, by the way, wrote the terrific book Mr. Rabbit's Lovely Present, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, which we read to our kid), including the traffic among the Committee members:

Dear Ms. Dragonwagon,

I thought you might be interested to learn about the controversy currently surrounding your winning the 1993 Name of the Year (NOTY) contest and your subsequent induction with the inaugural class into the Hall of Name (HON) in 2000.


[The Neg]

Dragonwagon, bless her heart, wrote back.

This is hilarious! I had no idea.

For what it's worth, in terms of verity... Mine is my legal name (I always remember the legal documents, which gave about 8 alternate names... you know, Crescent Dragonwagon AKA Crescent Parsons AKA Ellen Zolotow AKA Ellen Parsons... ``prays for an order of court.'' Prays!). And as I guess some of your august persons have discovered that on my website, you can click a button that says ``Is that your real name?''

From your e-dresses you sound like a very distinguished bunch. If slightly distressed that you have nothing better to do with your time, I am nonetheless honored. I only wish I had known earlier, so I could have gloated in my achievement more.

Thank you.

Remaining proud to hold aloft the Dragonwagon escutcheon,


The NOTY High Commissioner validated her name, and her honors, and immediately nominated her ex-husband, Crispin Dragonwagon.

One thing, Crescent: You're only slightly distressed?