My oldest son has decided he wants to be called “Jimi” instead of “Jimmy.” It’s a decision he made months ago after completing a school assignment on legendary rock musician Jimi Hendrix.

The assignment was to write a biography on a famous person who is no longer living. Jimmy and his friends decided to focus on dead rock stars.

A classmate was already working on a biography of Kurt Cobain, so Jimmy quickly chose Hendrix.

I’m so glad that other kid was around to keep me from arguing with my 13-year-old about why I don’t want to call him “Kurt.”

Because “Jimi” and “Jimmy” are only different on paper, it has been easy to ignore the whole name-change idea. But now, I’m beginning to wonder when, exactly, he will finally decide to go back to being “Jimmy.”

This isn’t the first time Jimmy has attempted a name-change. Three years ago, he tried to convince the rest of the family to call him “Jamie.” Luckily, that only lasted a couple of weeks … just long enough for us to tease him about it ever since.

I thought he would give up on this latest name-changing idea just as quickly. But yesterday, as he scribbled out the “Jimmy” I had written on a lacrosse form, replacing it with “Jimi,” I began to have my doubts.

What if he is as persistent as his cousin Katie, who decided in grade school to change her name to “Katy?”

She is now a freshman in college and has been “Katy” for so long that I can’t even remember when the change took place.

But, in my opinion, there’s a big difference between the “Katie” to “Katy” name change and the “Jimmy” to “Jimi” experience.

“Katie” and “Katy” are both common nicknames for “Kathryn,” just as “Jimmy” is by far the most common nickname for “James.”

“Jimi,” was a name made famous by one of the greatest guitarists of all time, a man who could do things with the instrument no one has before or since. Shouldn’t he be allowed to keep that name forever?

That’s going to be my new strategy in trying to get Jimmy to hold onto his own name.

If that doesn’t work any better than my, “Oh I’ll just ignore this passing phase he’s going through,” attitude, I have one last resort.

I’m willing to fight fire with fire. If Jimmy can change his name, so can I.

It was hard to decide what name might embarrass my son the most. I considered cartoon character names, Greek goddesses and “Cher.” Finally, I decided to search for a name that would fit right in with the crowd of fans who listened to Hendrix play at Woodstock.

All I had to do was type my name into a “hippie chick name generator” on the Internet to find out my hippie chick nickname is “Saffron.”

If Jimi, I mean, Jimmy, refuses to go back to spelling his name correctly, even after the, “Let’s allow Mr. Hendrix sole ownership of the nickname he made famous” conversation, then I’m going to start referring to myself as “Saffron.”

Knowing my luck, he’ll probably think it’s a cool idea … until I use my new name around his friends. I shouldn’t have to say, “Hey, I’m Jimmy’s mom, but you can call me Saffron,” too many times before he is mortified into becoming himself again.

Until then, this is Saffron Zich reminding readers, “All you need is love.” Now excuse me while I kiss the sky.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now