Is a person ever satisfied with his/her given name or would it be better to refer to the new little person as Male #1, Female #3, etc., until each is old enough to legally choose a name for him/herself? What, if any, significance does the choice of name attach through the years?
I grew up knowing my mother didn’t like her name, but I was contented with mine. However, once I was enrolled in the city schools and junior high years, the school system took over and said my previous name of Marilyn would now officially become Sue because they used first names. Junior high years were hard years for me but I doubt being forced to be Sue at school while staying Marilyn at home evolved into two separate and distinct personalities. Sue Libby earned good grades, won a spelling bee, and even became a recognized member of the National Junior Honor Society.
I chose marriage immediately after high school so another name change was imminent although at the time I had no idea how much so. My intended and I went to the town clerk of my current residence and she pointed out that my paperwork was incorrectly filled out as Sue Marilyn Libby. Well, that was my name, what did she mean? She showed me that my birth certificate stated I was not who I always thought myself to be. The order of my first and middle names had been switched on that official form so legally I was Marilyn Sue Libby. Oh, if those city school officials had only known way back when I entered seventh grade, I could have stayed who I always had been! Learning about it at the particular moment was enough to be thankful for; we joked that my future was secure because we found out before marriage, not after, thus making the wedding documents completely correct.
Since my husband knew me originally from school, he called me Sue and through the fifty-two-plus years our journey together became John and Sue to our friends and his family, John and Marilyn to my family. Most of the time now, I do not often hear the name Marilyn spoken except at the doctor’s offices where legality reigns. While Marilyn is a name I treasure because I understand it is one Daddy picked out, it belongs more to the little girl than the woman I have become. Perhaps because most of the loved ones who consistently called me by that name have gone from my life, either by death or by distance or maybe due to the fact that deep down inside it hurts to be reminded that I’ll never be that little girl again, tears come to my eyes as I sit here typing these thoughts. Could it be…is it possible that there is more to a name than what we see printed on paper?
©Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 4-14-2010