Hello my name is... not Dave Brown


Growing up in a small, rural town, there were many families who shared similar last names. Friends along the lines of “Smithson” “Smithwell” “Stonewell” “Smithman” and “Stoneman” were pretty common. Of course, parents were never too creative with first names either, so the abundance of Marks, Matts, and Davids was pronounced. As a 20 year old college student, I returned home for the summer. Flush with the freedom of college, I expected to live my summer the same way – late nights, driving around with friends, house parties. I guess I should have run these expectations by my mother.

One day, early summer, I met a new guy, Dave. He was cute, he was nice, and the biggest plus was, I hadn’t dated him between the ages of 11 and 19. He was new territory. I accepted his invitation to the movies that evening.

I had an early dinner with my family and told my mother I was going to the movies with Dave Brown. Her “have a nice time and drive safe!” was no indication of the fiasco that was to unravel.

Dave Brown and I had, by all accounts, one of the greatest dates ever. He held doors, he paid for the movie, he was funny and charming, he protected me from hoodlums in the movie theater parking lot. We were having such a great time that after the movie; we decided to head back to his house to keep the night going.

Sure he lived in his parents’ basement. But during your 20 year old summer, the only problem that poses is to keep down the noise. Wink.

Over the next 5 hours we got to know each other in the basement room. Of course I didn’t pay attention to the fact that my cell phone was stowed in my purse, still “off” from the movie. I was a carefree, unencumbered 20 year old! I report to no one!

Except, of course, to my mother.

The sun was rising as I left Dave’s house and I was on a high from my wonderful evening and marathon date. Until I pulled into my driveway and found my mother pacing the lawn.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!” She screamed. Frantic. Hair flying in every direction. Spittle smacking me in the face.

“I was out with Dave Brown and then we were hanging out at his house.” I thought calm was the way to go with this. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was home safely. I hadn’t been drinking or smoking crack – I hadn’t even slept with him!

“Well I know that NOW” she replied. Daggers. “I just got off the phone with his MOTHER.”

Screeching halt. What?! His mother? I hadn’t even met the woman! She had been asleep when we got back from the movie AND when I left at dawn.

Needless to say, the conversation escalated from there. If it wasn’t enough that my mother had called the home phone of the boy whose family we didn’t know, who in fact, I had just met AND had a first date with, it turned out that that single call had been the culmination of a long evening of phone outreach.


My mother didn’t remember the specifics when I told her who I was going out with. All she got was the first name: Dave

When I wasn’t home by what she determined to be a ‘reasonable hour’ and I didn’t answer my cell phone, she attached “Dave” to a common last name in our neighborhood, and called Dave Smithson.

When Dave Smithson’s mother – awoken by my mothers call – confirmed that I was not out with her son, she called Dave Smithwell, who was, in fact, one of my younger sister’s friends.

Dave Smithwell’s mom had no idea what she was talking about.

Concerned that she had the wrong name, my mother tried Mark Smithwell.

She called his cell phone.

Mark Smithwell – a friend of Dave Brown – was able to confirm my location. And bless his little soul, Mark Smithwell was generous enough to provide my mother with Dave Brown’s home phone number, so that she could wake up his parents at 4 am demanding to know where her daughter was.

Who of course, had no idea who I was until, calling their son up from the basement; they were able to confirm that I had been in the house just moments earlier.

It would have been enough for my mother to wake them in the earliest hours of the morning, but felt it appropriately to give them a little piece of her mind about knowing who was coming and going from their house.

They certainly knew my name from that point on.