As we all know, according to Shakespeare at least, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That seems to be an appropriate starting point for my blog post on this Valentine’s Day 2011.
Babies are given a legal name when born, which usually includes the last name of their biological father. Except in cases of adoption, a male keeps his name for the rest of his life. It is not always true with the female of the species.
Yesterday my friend Maria, who makes regular comments on my posts, and I had a lot of fun tossing this subject back and forth. It started with the fact that for personal reasons she dislikes her maiden name and after her divorce kept her ex husband’s name because it was the lesser of two evils. She said, “I would like to just be called Maria, but I don’t know if it is legal to not have a last name.”
It got me thinking- Oh no not again I heard a silent voice inside exclaim!
Although I do not have a problem with my maiden name it doesn’t fit anymore. After all I have been married twice and have three grown children. A lot of stuff has happened since I used that name. I have been divorced from my second husband for almost 12 years and kept his name because I live in a small town and I am fairly well known. I would be the only one who knew who I was if I used another name.
One good thing that happened as the result of our conversation yesterday was that I realized I no longer wish to use my last name as a published writer. That is not who I am. Without hesitation, I removed Gunn from the manuscript I will soon publish and if you notice, from my blog. From now on I am Barbara Loure`, the person I was born to be, without anyone else’s name. It feels great to be me!
Last night I remembered the very first letter to the editor that I submitted as a free woman. It was one of the first things I got by with as a published writer. The letter, written in 2000, follows with its original caption “Missing Person”
This is an appeal to the citizens of Grants and surrounding areas. Please return my first name. It is not Mrs. It was Barbara when I was born and I need it back. Donald Gunn AKA: Don or Donnie and I have been divorced since July 9, 1999.
I have lived in this town for 24 years, know almost everyone and have two jobs in public relation fields. I would think, word of mouth being what it is, people would have noticed that I am no longer married.
I would go to the top of Mt. Taylor and yell, My name isn’t Mrs., but since my divorce I don’t yell.
I am a freestanding, self sufficient female, only responsible for myself. Please, my name is Barbara, not Mrs.
Along this line of thinking, one of my pet peeves is to have a waitress refer to me as hon, sweetie or dear. I may belong to the older generation, but I am not senile. If you don’t know my name don’t say anything and please don’t call me a guy!
To cap off the online conversation Maria and I were having about names I couldn’t resist sharing a thought I had on the way home from the store yesterday. She couldn’t stop laughing.
My only daughter started out with the respectable Scottish name of Gunn. She briefly married a Stoughtenger, but kept his name because they have a son. If her plans go as expected she will change it to Semenchuck on 11/11/11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. From now on I will remember this when thinking about how smart she thinks she is.
Shakespeare was right; a name does not make us who we are. For that we just need to take a look inside.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone,
Barbara Loure` (the accent mark over the e makes it lou-ray as in "a drop of golden light")