I grew up in the kind of town that had two elementary schools, one junior high and one high school. I knew a bunch of kids from kindergarten all the way through to graduation. Even though we moved a lot because of the Navy, we didn’t move as much as other Navy families and we always came back to my hometown.
Last night, I had a dream about some of the girls I went through school with. The thing that struck me as funny upon awakening is that I remember these girls by their names in school. Most of us have married and changed our names, some have married, changed their names, divorced, changed their names back, remarried, and changed their names again. I remember them solely by their maiden names. And I’d bet money they remember me the same way.
Isn’t that funny? We’re all stumbling through menopause and marital woes, dragging teenagers toward adulthood, but our memories still brand us with maiden names. Do those names reflect our more essential selves? Or am I just reminiscing fondly?
I hadn’t planned to go back to my maiden name once the inevitable divorce gets done, but as time has passed I find myself thinking about it more. I don’t want my identity forever linked to my estranged husband. My kids are my kids regardless of surname, and there’s no stigma to our having different names anymore. I’m beginning to look forward to changing my name back. It feels like reclaiming a lost piece of myself. Once more and I’m done.