The Origin of Mod

My maiden name is Modder. My Grandma Modder used to tell us that the name Modder means mud in Dutch. My dad has confirmed this to be true and I am a proud representation of Dutch mud! Phonetically, I think Modder is super easy to pronounce, mah-der. However, especially in elementary school, it was often pronounced moh-der.

For some reason, a mean nickname resulted: Motor Mouth. I’m a talker. I love to chat. I love to tell stories. My therapist has recently led me to the ultimate revelation—I’m a verbal processor. My husband was not at all surprised when I came home from that appointment and explained to him that I process my feelings and thoughts the best by talking about them. Oh, I love him for understanding that about me for the thirty plus years that we have been together!

Back to nicknames.

In third grade, my Brownie troop had a bridging ceremony in our elementary school auditorium. On a stage. With a microphone. If you know me (and I’m hopeful you will feel you do after reading more), you know that I enjoy both a stage and a microphone. I’m not necessarily talented. I just enjoy entertaining. Also, thank you to Hatch Elementary School for having an auditorium with a stage.

I digress. Back to third grade, Brownies, and the stage. My leader had been my leader for at least a year, likely more. She was holding the microphone and announcing every young, brown-uniformed girl as she made her way across the stage to move on to green-uniformed life as a Girl Scout. Then it came to my name. “Karen… Moh-der”.

The. Horror. All of the girls laughed. I was so sad. Yes, I remember how I felt that day. I can, apparently uncannily, recall many details of my youth. I did what any strong, yet sad, young girl would do and I took the microphone from her hand, held it to my mouth and said, “It’s Modder”, and walked across the stage. After the ceremony, my leader told my parents that my sass really wasn’t a good quality for a scout to have and I was out. Well, good riddance. Now my Wednesdays were free to play and read. (On a side note, as our daughters were involved in our local scout troops, I never ‘got’ to be a leader. Whenever I was asked, I simply explained that I was on the Girl Scout Black List and not allowed to have any official roles.) Also, God bless all scout leaders because you do amazing things. It just wasn’t my thing.

My third grade school photo. My last year as a scout...

Back to nicknames.

I moved on to junior high and I think I basically stopped talking because the Motor Mouth nickname fell away. I’m sure my silence had nothing to do with being a weirded-out-pre-teen who spent her days in braces, giant, plastic-framed glasses, and feathered hair just trying to fit in… anywhere.

On to high school. At some point a new nickname emerged… Mod. This one stuck and not many people called me Karen. In fact, my high school friends still mostly call me Mod and I love it. It was a time when I came into myself and started to really understand who I am. It was also a very hard time for me.

Off to Bradley University. Some of my good high school friends made the transition to Bradley alongside of me and as a result, Mod hit the Bradley U. campus. I can safely say that not many of my college friends even knew my name was Karen. The two women who called me by my actual name are two of my most cherished friends today.

When my husband Mike first met me, we were introduced by a frat brother of his from southern Illinois. This buddy pronounced Mod as Maude. Mike thought my name was actually Maude for a long time. Oh boy. I mean, God bless any teen girls named Maude in 1988, but that just wasn’t this girl.

Life is an incredible adventure and I have learned to appreciate every experience because it has made me the woman I am today. From Motor Mouth to Mod to Karen to Mom, it’s all been incredible. When it was time to name my blog, I knew Mod had to be part of it because Mod is definitely part of who I am.

I sincerely believe that all of humanity is connected and as a result, we share stories. Some of us are meant to be the storytellers.

Welcome to It’s a Mod Life.

19 thoughts on “The Origin of Mod

  1. I love this reflection! Brings back some memories of my own! I know you as Karen and part of my gaggle, but I feel I know you a little better now. Thanks for sharing…

    1. Thank you my friend! Created to create. I can’t tell you how much I value your support and feedback.

  2. I have no idea how ANYone would mispronounce “Modder!” The double-d makes it perfectly clear!
    Anyway, Mod, thanks for sharing. This is going to be fun!

    1. Thanks Steph! I am forever grateful for your friendship to me during those high school years and today!

  3. You have a gift for captivating your readers – and they will simply want MORE of the MOD life! I for one love sharing in your journey!

    1. Thank you IdaLynn, your support is incredible and I am thankful for your feedback throughout this blog process!

  4. I did not peg you for a scout that got the boot. Scandalous, I love it – and that you are sharing via this blog. I recently came across something I wrote in high school about a boy I liked calling me by my nickname, and it thrilled me. Cringe worthy reading material.

    1. Jacky, I kept journals from first grade, junior high, high school, and college. Oh my gosh, cringeworthy is the exact right word for so much of it! I might end up scanning specific sections and sharing with the It’s a Mod Life community. For now, they are all practically under lock and key!

  5. Thanks for sharing, never knew where the nickname came from. I am excited to be able to read more of your story.

  6. Karen, This blog is so genuine and sweet. The 16 candles comparison is so right on! Love it. I knew you lost your mom at a young age but the true story of how you learned of her illness, what was happening in your life and the age you were is just unimaginable. I keep checking for the next entry, you have such a compelling story to tell and you are doing it beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Amy, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I truly appreciate it! Isn’t it crazy that Sixteen Candles was all the rage at that exact time of my life? It’s still one of my favorite movies to this day. What I didn’t share was that I wrote a letter to Michael Anthony Hall (the geek) and asked him to go with me to Homecoming! I figured he wouldn’t be getting much attention as the nerd and maybe I had a chance. No reply at all!!! Ha!!!

  7. So fun!! Would have been amazing if he had said yes….for all of us!! Glad you gave it a shot!

  8. So proud of you Karen for launching your blog. Your stories are entertaining and poignant and invite one to her own self-reflection. Keep ‘em coming!

    1. Thank you so much for not only reading, but sharing your thoughts. I value your input!

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