Friday, August 24, 2007

One of many

I took back my maiden name, Crazy (the real name actually rhymes with it), this week. When I first filed for divorce, I thought about taking Terroni as my last name. It was my grandmother's maiden name. I was talking to my father and said, "You know, at this point, I haven't been a Crazy since I was a kid. When I think about taking the name back, I think about being a kid again." There are five of us. We grew up in a small town, and we all look alike. I have been on vacation states away and have been stopped on the street by someone asking, "Hey, are you a Crazy kid, because you look like one of em." Yeah, of many. My dad seemed to understand what I was feeling and encouraged me to do whatever I felt fit.

Things changed a bit for me this summer, though, when I stayed with my dad's sister. My aunt and uncle don't have kids of their own, and they inherited piles of dough from my uncle's dad. So, they plan to leave all of us Crazys a substantial amount of money when they die. This has always been a bit of an awkward subject as they mention it entirely too often. Not quite sure how to show it, they are just trying to remind us all that they love us.

This summer, my aunt and I were sitting in her living room watching TV one night. In the middle of a commercial, I said, "You know, I don't care about any of that money you want to leave me...I just want that picture" I was pointing to a painting of a bird hanging over her television.

"Really?" she said, a little surprised. "You know, I bought that painting as a gift for your grandpa, and it hung in my mom and dad's house until she died."

"I know. I remember. And it's all I want." We went on to talk about all of her favorite things from her mom and dad's house, the things she decided to take when my grandma died. She brought out my grandma's china and asked if I wanted that, too. I said I would be honored to have it. That evening with my aunt, the look on her face as she talked about paintings and dishes and memories, was the greatest of my entire summer.

As I walked away from the probate court this week, I looked down at my new old Crazy name. And, I thought about that painting. I have realized that this name is more than just the five Crazy kids. It is a rich history--thousands of tiny amazing moments and memories--a legacy of people who love each other. I'll never give it up again.


Ms. Avarice said...

i love those moments of connection with older people. i love to bring back memories of things that they have loved. people they loved. and as much as i dislike my father's family, i have never wanted to rid myself of his name. my memory of him is just too precious. and i'm so much like him, i'd feel like i were losing part of me.

congratulations on the renewed identity.

Mme Benaut said...

Good for you Terroni, it is indeed your heritage, a part of you and your history.
When I was 12 my mother changed my name to that of her current husband which made my father furious. She later divorced him too and remarried and I was stuck with a name that didn't mean much so I changed it when I married the first time and again the second and again the third. I've had 5 last names but I love my current one and I'm never changing it again either!
I loved hearing about your aunt and uncle; not least because I found some similarity there too. I was unable to have children as I've mentioned before but I have 6 stepchildren; 1 granddaughter; 3 nephews and 5 nieces. I recently re-did my will and spent a long time trying to decide what to leave to whom (besides M.Benaut of course). In some ways it is much more difficult doing this than simply leaving everything to your children equally. Family ties are strong when it comes to inheritance and there is satisfaction in thinking that your life's earnings and investments might someday bring someone you love a bit of help but as you correctly perceive, memories and family "treasures" have so much more value than simply money. My father who died recently chose to pick favourites amongst his children and grandchildren and managed to express his prejudice and bigotry beyond the grave. Consequently, a few of them were hurt or felt unloved; so there is always a risk in these things.
However, in your case, I imagine your Aunt was truly touched by your interest in sharing her memories with you Terroni. I loved your tender story, little one; beautifully written.

Maria said...

I like my last name, I think I'll keep it.

But, you. Going back to yours...I think it was a nice final step of reclaiming something for you.

His name will never be a part of you again. Doesn't that just make you want to SING? Can you feel his fingerprints fading off of your life yet?

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about changing my last name to that of my maternal grandmother for some time now. In fcat I'm chanmging the whole thing. Kate just seems to suit me better than what I am legally known by and my last name just never really fit me.
BUt I loved reading your decidion making proicess.
And Maria, you worked things out for me to with your fading fingerprints line. Now i've decided.

dive said...

Terroni, that's so inspiring.
Hang on tight to your name, Crazy girl.

Mme Benaut said...

Hi T, pop over to ADP and see our resident male Koala!

Rich said...

gives new meaning to the question... what's in a name?

Good for you!! :))

Cheryl said...

I'm sure the memory of your visit and the connection you made with your aunt will stay with her (and you) always. It sounded priceless.

I kept my maiden name when I married. There are not many of us left, and it was important to me, to my identity, to keep it. It made it easy after the divorce too.

Sassy Sundry said...

Good for you, Terroni. My friend just took her name back. It's great to call her that again.

And as for the painting, that's great. Meaningful things are so much better than money.