Name changers

I went to the San Francisco Ferry Building and met a friend for lunch, who lives there. Well, she doesn't live in the Ferry Building.  She and her husband own a home in San Francisco.  It had been a while since we met up and as usual we had talk, talk, talk. 

Some of our talk was about our 40th high school reunion was last summer.  (I'm quite sure that number is a mistake, no matter how they figured it out).  The night before I was invited to a pre-party, joining a group of people I had not seen for decades.  (Oh, I'm very sure that number is a mistake too.  I'll have to do the math on that later.).

The next night was the actual reunion.  What a performance the planners made!  Incredible.  The next afternoon was the 'after' party on one of the 'private' beaches on Balboa Bay.  The whole thing was surreal.

In my alone time, I found myself thinking about names and how they changed over the years.  When did Cindy become Cinda?  When did Jan become Janeanne and Libby morphed into Elizabeth?  This is a hard one because I've always known her as Chris.  When did she become Christine?  How about Debbie becoming Deb?  Dia was the former Diane.

I'm not too sure if any guys changed their names.  Mark was Mark.  Brian was Brian.  Jay was Jay.  Karl was Karl.  The Ricks were still Ricks.   

I think getting out of high school and into a new environment made a difference.  A time to start over.  Or maybe it was careers.

My name change came in kindergarten.  I didn't change my name by choice.  'They' did it for me.  'They' would be my parents.  Until then I had been Muffie.  It was a nickname.  My real name was Marilyn.  One of them was on my birth certificate.  Okay, this group of people will call me Marilyn.  This other group of people will call me Muffie.  I learned to answer only to the group that called me the right name, whatever that was.

But I lived with two names.  One for the family and cousins, and the other for everybody else.  I've dealt with that most of my life.  Carl knew me as Marilyn.  He wouldn't dare call me anything else, except sweetie.  My kids did some type of work-around with my name.  Somehow they figured it out.  Actually, my brothers have called me Marilyn for most of our adult life.

And dear Lord, forgive the parents and what we've done to our children.  Sutter was chosen off the street sign in San Francisco.  Sutter Anne.   Evan's grandfathers were Richard E.  But we weren't going to call him Dick or any variation, or Ernst (Carl's dad) or Edward (my dad).  So he got Richard Evan.

But what is with a name?  Does it make us different than who we are?  Do we make ourselves different with a new or modified name?  Does it matter?

I think it does matter.  To each person.  It's about what we perceive ourselves to be.  Our names define us.

So whoever you were, and whoever you are today, and whoever you are tomorrow...cheers!  We'll call you as you please, because that is what makes you happy!

And I'll be working on the math for that 40th reunion.  I'm still quite sure that was a wrong name/number.  But a great group showed up, whatever that number was.

Live richly,  marilyn


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