What's in a name?

I went to get chocolate doughnuts and coffee this morning. Walked through the square to hear a man hacking a loogie. A lawn mower scalped a tree branch, I heard the scream. People kept staring at me, that creepy way you feel a portrait following you, but you don’t turn around to look. Or the trees in the evil forest singing the Jitterbug.
It’s a beautiful morning. Crisp. Fall-like. I almost expected to leaves to hang like peaches.
I think what I like about the blog is sharing. Do you care that I went to get doughnuts? Probably not, but when I’m full of the world all I want to do is share bits of myself the way dandelions cast off their parachutes.
The woman who gave me coffee looked at my credit card, astonished by my last name and asked: How do you say that? Van Blank.en.ship and then she and the woman next to her mulled it over on their tongues and said Flan Vlankenshit. “That must have been awful as a kid trying to learn all that!” and I said yeah, I think my whole name including my middle is 26 letters. “Like the whole alphabet! Man, I would have gone crazy as a kid trying to learn all that.” And the woman apologized for being nosey, which she wasn’t because I told her people comment on my last name all the time. I want to keep my last name for writing always. I love it. I walked out the door and could still hear them talking about it.

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2 Responses to What's in a name?

  1. There are 24 letters in my maiden name, first, middle, last. I can hear my mother spelling our last name to people over the phone, beginning “L – E – A – D as in dog…” on and on. I went all through school with people, teachers included, who mispronounced both my first and last names. I was happy to trade for Kelly. Now Van Blankenship is a different matter, there is nobility – even a title, such as countess – clearly implied. Yes, I’d keep that too. When we named our son, my editor husband wanted a name that would look good and be memorable in a byline or on a book jacket.

    What do we have to share but ourselves? xo

    • rachvb says:

      Oh, that’s torture! I know EXACTLY how that goes. And it’s strange because it’s phonetic, so it sounds exactly how it’s spelled, but still – the V and the B and the ship just seem to throw people. I get a lot of “Blackenship” in PA and I’ve never seen that before I moved here. I’m glad you think it’s NOBLE because it’s a completely MADE UP last name. The “Van” was taken from my mom’s maiden name and the Blankenship was my dad’s last name and VOILA! Smooshed together! But I love it.
      You’re so right about sharing. And I can’t share my doughnuts because I ate them already. xoxo

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