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Mary's a Grand Old Name

When I was born my father named me for the woman he loved. He did it while my mom was recovering so she had no say. My father gave me my mother’s name. First and middle name but thankfully, he left off the junior part.

I have been known as Lil Mary for most of my life. I have not been called that since I was thirteen at least not by anyone who knows me by that and has common sense. There was this one time that a younger cousin called me that to get my attention while we were in line at the Justice Center, I was 36 years old. I was there for jury duty he was there as a defendant. I have not talked to him since.


I was also called Mary Doll. I was called it so often that I thought it was my given name. It has a nice ring, why not?

I have tried to change the spelling of my name to differentiate between me and my mom. I made my friends who wrote me letters from college spell it Marrie. I must admit, I never formally adopted this spelling.


I once worked at an upscale Italian restaurant and the owner would refuse to call me anything but Maria. Maria was on the seating chart and on my pay checks. It was so irritating going to the bank to try and deposit those sad little checks especially when it was a new teller who had not heard the story and I had to convince her that I was telling the truth. Eventually I quit. I just stopped showing up. I was young and besides I would never do that, it was Maria.

I am probably one of the only people in my circle of friends to want to marry just to change my name. I wanted so desperately to have my own name that it was so easy for me to fill out all those forms and embrace my husband’s name. Funny thing is that I miss the uniqueness of my maiden name. You could tell I am part Slovak and there are only four people with my maiden name in the phone book, me, my mom, my brother and someone I’ve never met.

But, I have my husband’s name. I still don’t have a name of my own. I sign things now with my initials so often I get called MJ as if it was my name and I don’t mind that for the most part, still it is not my name.


If I could change my name I would go with something that is in the same family like Moira \mo(i)-ra\ or Magdalene. I like Magdalene. I could be called Maggie or Mags for short. I’d have a nickname that wasn’t a female horse.

Alas, my name suites me and not just as a name but its meaning as well. I am bitter but I am also all of those other wonderful descriptions in the Urban Dictionary. I think I will keep it.

If you could pick your first name, what would it be?

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