Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mary Tyler (Moore)

Our college age conversations frequently dealt with the hypothetical, the future, and the unknown. Our favorite place to blather on for hours, the pond on west campus, also frequented by the campus flasher, although we had no idea at the time how really creepy and dangerous he could have been. Over Diet Coke, Lays Cheddar and Sour Cream Chips and Glamour magazines we spent hours in the sun; Egg was certain, she would never change her name. For my part I wasn't sure, at 20 I wasn't so attached, and I wasn't convinced that my name was an essential part of who I was.

At 34 I felt differently. My name was mine and I was not ready to give it up, to become someone else. Jack was ambivalent, not concerned with us sharing the same name, knowing our names would not dictate the validity of our marriage. But I was unsure, worried that my need to keep my name would somehow isolate me from his family, and in the end decided to add his name to mine, like my mother and grandmothers, although I intended to use all three names, to become Mary Tyler Moore.

That just didn't work. Immediately I became Mary Moore. It was a great theory but unless you are Jennifer Love Hewitt or Sarah Jessica Parker, you are only allowed two names. My business cards clearly read Mary Tyler Moore, as did the plate on my door, but my feminist, and married female, boss introduced me as Mary Moore, and the name stuck. Our mortgage application was in all three names but at the closing I was shocked to find that Mary Moore was the buyer, not me. The woman at the DMV called Mary Moore eight times before I looked up from my book, and then only to find out who the bimbo was that had left before picking up her license. This was not working.

Losing my Dad confirmed what I already knew, I was not Mary Moore, and I never would be. Changing my name was not a part of me and doing it for anyone else was not the right decision. My 20 year old self thought it didn't matter, but my grown up self found out it did. My name is a part of me and the choice to stick with what was mine is a reflection of who I have become, and an example for my two girls, who need to know that the choice is theirs to make.

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