Thursday, June 01, 2006

Guest Blogger!!!

(It’s time for the June blog exchange! Please welcome the lovely and talented Amy from Binkytown. I’ll be posting over there today if you want to come say hi! And here she is!)

Maiden Name

My family is Polish-American. My maiden name started with a W, we had a z, an n and a k in it with some vowels scattered in between. Because it started with a W, I always sat in the back of the class. It wasn’t pretty, it didn’t roll off the tongue, it was harsh and unfamiliar, even to me. In the days growing up when you want nothing more than to assimilate I had a name no one had even heard of it, much less had a clue how to pronounce.

I would sit in the back row day dream during Language Arts about how maybe one day I’d be Amy Rose, Amy Sanotorini, Amy Miller. Changing my name when I got married wasn’t a choice for me. It was almost a reason to get married. The only question was would it be prettier than the one I had? More interesting? Something lyrical? Would I be able to order a pizza without having to say my name is Amy and immediately launch into W-O-Z…? The possibilities were endless.

Turns out when I did get married at 30, I was madly in love with my husband and I wanted to be on the same team with him so I changed my name. The fact that his last name is common the way that the name Smith is common, well that was just a bonus. No more spelling! No more having to introduce myself to spare people from having to stumble over it.

I didn’t abandon it altogether - My first name is Amy and my middle name was Jo. When I got married I combined AmyJo into my first name (which is really funny actually -When I call places like credit card companies the voice response units pronounce it as Amy-ho). I kept my maiden name and bumped it up to my middle name then took my husbands last name as my surname. If I really wanted to, I could still use it in a hyphenated fashion, but that would make four names. I think three names are OK, ala Hilary Rodham Clinton or Sarah Jessica Parker, but using four names feels like I’m taking myself a bit too seriously.

In retrospect I think I had a romantic notion that I would be reinventing myself as Ms. So-and-so. A new-and-improved married version of me. I was so excited to sign that wedding license and misguidedly expected to wake up the next day having undergone an overnight personal upgrade. Turns out I’m still me, just married and with a different name. Funny how that turned out.

Five years later I am still crazy about my husband but I find myself wishing I had thought the name change through a little more. I miss my old name - consonants and all. I think I gave up a lot when I changed my name. I miss it’s heritage and uniqueness. I miss the connection to my grandparents and that side of my family. I also didn’t know then how much I would give up getting married and becoming a mom. Not that it’s not worth it, it is, but I think it would be nice to have retained that slice of my identity that was 30 years in the making. That and who knew that people still make you spell names like ‘Smith’ when you order take out?! (Damn it!).

Amy writes about this and other stuff at Binkytown.

This post is part of a June Blog Exchange on the theme "What's in a Name?" Click here to read more. And, if you'd like to participate, email Kristen at kmei26 at yahoo dot com.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mayberry said...

I chose this same angle, too--and I do miss my old name, even though I traded the Waspy one for an ethnic one. Maybe if I have another baby (HA!) I'll give him/her my maiden name as a middle name.

10:00 AM  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

Keeping my name was something I always intended to do. When I got married I flirted with the idea of changing it, but I was 30 when I married, like you, and I'd had the name for so long it seemed too strange to change it.

It is confusing sometimes and I worry that Emmie will have trouble with it someday. We already have issues, like at the doctor's office.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous motherhooduncensored said...

I've always thought the name change was weird. I can see if you have a name that sucks like HARRY BALLS or something - however, I think everyname has great character.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Nit One Perl Two said...

I am so happy I found your site. It appears we have more in common than knitting! I'll let you know when I complete the "world renound" triple lindee patern!

7:10 PM  

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