Behavior: It Hyphened One Night

In surnames, the distinctive mark can wreak havoc

Jones. What a wonderful surname. Clear. One syllable. Perfectly pronounceable. No hyphen.

The Sammataro-Hutchinses would love to keep up with the Joneses. "Forms aren't long enough to accommodate my whole name," says Debra Sammataro- Hutchins, who owns a children's clothing store in Melrose, Mass. Says her husband Robert: "My credit cards have me as Sammataro Hut. When I try to sign a check, I run out of room." The family's insurance reimbursements are bogged down because records do not match. The couple have to maintain an extra listing in the phone book so their children's friends can find them under Hutchins....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!