Pete and Repete were brothers. Twins even. Growing up, Repete was always jealous of Pete’s normal name. “Mom, why did you name me something so weird?” he asked once.
“You have a lovely name. It’s so cute. I just love how the names sound together. Pete and Repete. Pete and Repete. Pete and Repete. See?” she said.
“But the kids at the playground say that it’s not a real name,” Repete said.
Just then, Pete dashed in through the front door. “Ree, where are you?” he yelled.
“In here,” Repete said.
Pete stomped into the kitchen. “I told them they were all meanies and threw sand at them for you, Ree. I should have punched them in the nose!” he said.
“Pete, what have I told you about fighting?” Mom said.
“Not to?” Pete asked.
Mom sighed and started talking about using words and walking away and treating people with respect and kindness. Her conversation with Repete was forgotten. He never asked again.
When they finally started school, it only got worse. They arrived for kindergarten orientation and learned that they were being sent to separate classes. They asked their mom to fix it and make sure that they were in class together, but their mom refused. “It’s good for you. It will build character,” she said. Dad agreed.
They went to Pete’s class first. They found his seat and began unpacking his school supplies. “Look, Pete,” Repete said. “They spelled your name wrong. Your nametag says ‘Peter’.”
“You’re right,” Pete said. “Let’s go tell the teacher.”
They found her and waited for her to finish talking. “My name is spelled wrong on my nametag,” Pete said. “It’s just Pete, not Peter.”
“Let’s check with your parents,” the teacher said.
She followed them back to the table. “Is your son’s name officially Pete and not Peter?” she asked.
“Yes,” Dad said.
“All right,” the teacher said. She made a new nametag.
They went to Repete’s class next. The boys ran ahead to check the nametag. It said ‘Repeat’. “Yours is spelled wrong too,” Pete said. “Come on, let’s tell your teacher.”
The boys found the teacher and waited for her to finish talking. “My name is spelled wrong on my nametag,” Repete said.
“How should it be spelled?” the teacher asked.
“R-e-p-e-t-e,” Pete said.
“That can’t be right,” the teacher said. “Let’s go talk to your parents.”
They followed the teacher to Repete’s table. “Mom, tell her how to spell my name,” Repete said.
“R-e-p-e-t-e,” Mom said.
“Really,” the teacher said. “Well, I guess I’ll make him a new nametag.” Shaking her head, the teacher walked away.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this,” Repete whispered.
“I’m sure it will be fine,” Pete whispered back.
After the first day of school, Pete and Repete jumped out of the car and ran to their room to talk. “How was your day?” Repete asked.
“Boring. School takes too long,” Pete said. “I did like recess. How was your day?”
“Whenever the teacher called on me, the class just said whatever she said last. Like an echo,” Repete said.
“That’s awesome,” Pete said. “It sounds pretty funny.”
“I guess it was,” Repete said. “I told her she could call me Ree like you do, and she started right away.”
“And no one made fun of your name?” Pete asked.
“No,” Repete said.
“Your day was better than mine. Maybe we should trade names?” Pete said.