Name…

Imagine growing up with the name Marianne McIntosh. Lots of syllables. I longed to be named Amy, Chris or Jennifer. To make matters worse, I did not have a middle name. I was specifically named Marianne,  one word-so nobody would call me Mary. That was enough -Marianne didn’t need a middle name. Only it did. In the second grade my friends would write Teresa Elizabeth or Christine Marie at the top of their papers. I was so envious. I decided to give myself a middle name. I toyed with everything from Marianne Elizabeth, Marianne Marie, Marianne Margaret and even considered Marianne Petunia. Yes Petunia. I loved my grandmother’s flowerbeds. Why not Rose or Lily? Lord only knows. This became such an obsession with me that my dad finally agreed to take me to the courthouse and have a middle name legally added. I just had to decide which name. This became equally agonizing. Eventually it passed, but I never really got over it. When I went to college, I wasn’t  from a well-to-do suburb. But I had the right last name. I realized that the suburban kids judged you by where you were from literally and ancestorally. I was a down state farm girl. It was over looked because of my last name. One night I was a party, and Jenny ran up to me, Marianne- there is some kid here who has stolen your name!  He is telling everyone his name is Skip McIntosh! Had he read the “Preppy Handbook” cover to cover as I had? She took me over to meet him hoping to catch him off guard. He looked at me, smiled and kissed my hand. You have the coolest name I’ve ever seen, I hope you don’t mind that I have adopted it.” He was weird, but I was a little flattered.  He had seen my picture and name in the freshman handbook. In my sorority there were several Mary Whatevers. Mary Beth, Mary Margaret, Margaret Mary, Mary Katherine, and even a Mary Pat. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. It became less embarrassing to introduce myself. When I got married, I adopted McIntosh as my middle name so I could finally wear something that was monogrammed! Oh how I had wanted to have a real monogram for so long! Then I did the unthinkable.  In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, when everyone else was naming their daughters Madison, Ashley and Kylie, we chose the name Mary Margaret for our daughter. With every intention of calling her Molly- we still chose, on purpose,  to name her Mary Margaret. Molly fits her perfectly, but the first time I took her to the doctor and they called for Mary Meister, not Mary Margaret Meister, I knew we had made a mistake. I don’t have anything against Mary as a name per se, it just wasn’t what I intended. Just like my mom, who ironically called me Mari most of her life, so carefully intended by naming me Marianne- one word. I began offering to legally change my daughter’s name to save her from the anguish I had endured. She never took me up on it. When they call out ,”Mary”, we just look at each other and grin…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *