I always envied that it was perfectly acceptable for John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt to go by so many names.
I’m at a reunion this week, and while I have the bloodlines that say I belong, I feel somewhat removed in name. It’s my mothers family reunion. Mugs and shirts and jokes are branded with a family name I’ve never had written as part of my own. And now that I added my husband ‘s family name to my own, I’m even further from this family name.
Sandra Clark Jergensen, but Sandra Clark Thackeray or Sandra Clark Ruppe Thackeray Gale by family tree. And Slade, Burrnet and Christensen and on and on; longer and more inclusive of my history with each generation I dial back. It would be a bit long, but I love the idea of it. It always felt sad to me that I couldn’t keep the names of all the families I belong to, even if it makes my name simpler and easier to remember.
My kids don’t feel attached to the “T” on the rock on the mountainside of this tiny town, whereas my cousins that carry that same family blood line as well as the name, do. But I want them to. I’m trying. I have them here at the reunion this week, I took them to the cemetery and tell them the stories of their Thackeray family. And stories of their Clark family. And my husband tells them the tales of the Jergensens and Burtons from his side. I just worry about all those stories, all those people that made my little family possible fading from our consciousness and remembrance as they have been shortened from our daily naming.
So I guess I’m asking today today- how do you keep name close and meaningful even if you don’t keep all your names?