Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Maiden Name

OK, so I must preface this post by saying:

First of all, I wrote this yesterday!  Aren't you proud of me?  I couldn't help it.  As you all know, I usually sit at the chair in front of the computer for a while waiting for inspiration to hit me.  And when it doesn't, I generally whack my own self upside the head and write something anyway.  But yesterday, and I don't remember exactly what it was that made me come up with this topic (Could be I hit myself a little harder than normal and caused some sort of temporary, or permanent, brain damage?), but once it took hold, I thought to myself that I better get on the computer while I had the chance.  I am glad this paragraph is done, because it is hard to talk about yesterday when it is actually today.  Confused?  Me too.  I gotta stop whacking myself so hard.

Second of all, I know it sounds harsh to say that I "hate" my maiden name.  So mom, if you are reading this (God, I hope she is, cos if she's not, how embarrassing would that be?), and if you think Daddy will disown me, or hate me, or generally be upset about this, then don't show it to him.  And with that statement, I am sure you are all thinking, "Well, couldn't he go and find it on the computer himself?"  And the answer to that question is,  hmmmm, how shall I put this?  The easy way or the hard way?  Well let's just say that if . . .nooo.  No.  He couldn't.  Let's stick with the easy way, shall we?

Anyway.  By now you are all probably wondering what my last name is.  I can't decide whether or not to tell you.  Because it is a unique last name.  And if I told you what it was, well then you could easily look my parents up.  And then you might mail my dad a copy of this post.  Or worse, you would blackmail me by threatening to mail a copy of this post to my dad.  So I think not on telling you.  Sorry.

My last name was unique because my dad's Czechoslovakian grandfather, when he was getting off the boat in New York, (I guess.  I think that he came in through Staten Island.) the story goes that they asked him what he would like his last name to be.  And he gave them our last name.  Which wasn't really his last name.  And how were they to know?  So that's the last name we ended up with.

It starts with a "Y".  And it was such an odd name that people would mispronounce it all the time.  I have childhood memories of the beginning of every school year when the teacher would get to my last name and inevitably she would always mispronounce it.  And I'd absolutely cringe.  Because I swear even at 7 or 8 or 9, kids were already mean, and some of them would snicker and laugh.

So I wanted to change my last name desperately.  To something like "Young".  You know, easy to spell, easy to pronounce?  And besides, remember those mean kids?  Well they'd figure out how to make mean rhymes out.  You know the ones.  And if you don't, I'll explain.  Occasionally, I'd get teased because my last name rhymed with something else that would be insulting to you if you were called it. (This brings back memories of a Seinfeld episode.  I don't remember exactly, but I think it had something to do with a girl's first name sounding like part of the female sex anatomy etc etc.  I was at least lucky enough not to have my last name rhyme with something like that.)

Then when I hit high school, the coolest thing happened to my sister.  When her class graduated, she was the last one in her class to graduate.  So she got the biggest cheer.  Not necessarily because she was the most popular, but she surely was the most popular person at that moment.  And I all I could hope for, for the next two years, was for Charles Z. to move away.  Or disappear. (I admit it.  I had thoughts.)  But he didn't.  So I didn't even get to relish in my last name when I graduated from high school.

When I met Jamey, and he finally asked me to marry him, I was totally excited.  Not because I was finally going to get to change my last name, though I can see why you would think that.  No, it was because I was finally going to move way up in the alphabet.  All the way from the "Y's" to the "D's".  It was one of my criteria in looking for a husband.  Oh, and I really did love him too.

No, by that time, I finally had kind of gotten used to my last name.  I guess I had gotten out of school and had sort of grown up.  The day I got married, I was actually a little sad to see my last name go.  Daddy was the only boy in his family.  He's the last of our "Y" name.  Once he and my mom are gone, our last name ceases to exist in our family tree.  But I can't think of two better people to wear that name proudly and make it a good name.

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