What’s In A Name

Names can trigger memories of past friends, acquaintances, enemies, long lost loves.  It is strange what a name will do to your emotions.  I had an obsessive moment this past week when I had a new follower on my blog and her name was the same as one of my very first friends from elementary school.  I lost track of her family many many years ago when they moved away and then eventually the letters stopped.  I have searched for her several times over the years hoping that she or one of her siblings would be on one of the social networks.  She has such a common name that it is really hard to find one person when there are over 100 people with the same name.  It doesn’t help that her siblings also have common name with many people with the same names too.  So my heart did a little excited beating when I saw her name.  Could she be the one, did my friend accidentally find me through my blog over 40 years after the last time I saw her?

Oh how I wish I could say yes.  I did  an extensive search of her blog to see if there were any clues that would say she was definitely my friend from so many years ago.  But alas, I still don’t know. However, I have come to the conclusion without even asking her that she married into the name based on the different names I saw connected to her posts.  Oh the joy I would feel if I could find this friend.  She was the first person in my life that really liked me quirks and all and even in 1st grade I knew how special her friendship was.  I hope that someday I will be able to find my friend once again.  Maybe she will see something that I write or post and realize that I am that little girl all grown up and that I miss her every day.

Names, they trigger memories, emotional responses, physical responses.  I have heard names at various times and almost have anxiety attacks, the person connected to the name doesn’t even have to be any where near and I feel like I am going to suffocate.  There are some names that can make me feel physically ill.  I try to avoid those names, but sometimes (okay most of the time) it is out of my control.  I sometimes wonder what memories my name triggers in my older friends.  How does the mention of my name affect them?  Do they remember me with a smile? or Do they say oh man she was so mean!

In high school, I had friends from every group in school, it didn’t matter if they were into sports, art, chorus, cheerleading, FFA, FHA, or other stuff, if I liked you I liked you.  I always wondered how they saw me.  Everyone knew me but I never considered myself to be popular or in the popular crowd.  When I see a name from that time, there are times when I say, oh I remember him/her and they were so fun and in this or that crowd.  There are other names that I see and I have to ask myself how I knew them.  I have to ask them to trigger a memory or tell me how I knew them.  On the other hand if I remember them and contact them I will send them a note that will hopefully trigger a memory of me in their minds.  I sometimes feel like I am a very forgettable person.  Then I will run into a student I taught 12 years ago and they will remember me, and I wonder why.  I don’t know if that is good or bad, because it could either means that they remember me because I was a good teacher or it was because I was a horrible teacher.  I like to think it was because of the first choice, so will never ask them why they remember me.  But when they remind me what their name is, I always snap into a memory of them from that time.  The name triggers it all the time.

So I started this out with the question What’s in A Name?  A name is just the label that is placed on a life time of events, places, things.  If I say Lois, Marvin, Paul, or Evie – immediately memories of my grandparents flood my mind.  If I run into a person that has the same name, the memories of my loved one still flood my mind and I try to find some thing in that person that they might have in common with my loved one.  So to my new follower that triggered the manic search based on your name, thank you for bringing back memories of a long lost friend.


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