Wenches: I was lost but now I’m found!

Mom_thumbnail_10It’s Sunday, Thanksgiving is coming at me as fast as a jet driven turkey, I have to hunter/gatherer for the Feast, and so I can’t stay long today.

But – remember last week? When I wrote about women’s lost last names? And the way women in our culture had to give up part of their identity when they wed? Well the most amazing thing happened!

Google noticed — and so I was found by auld acquaintances. Yes! Oh, frabjous day. It seems that once I disclosed all my names: given (Edith Laulicht), gotten (Edith Felber) and taken (that Layton woman), I began to get email from friends and schoolmates I haven’t heard from in more years that any of us care to count.

It’s wonderful.

I had a friend whom I’d so often wondered about, find and email me this week! I hadn’t been able to learn anything about her since I moved awayfrom my childhood home. I knew her in high school days. And I’d wondered about where she’d gone for so long. But newly-married and renamed, like me, she’d disappeared, even as I had.

Apparently she Googled me after my last post here at Wenches. And she found me by my ‘maiden’ name listed here! She disclosd herself to me, which was a joy. She lives half an America away from me. She reminded me of our shared past (as if I’d forgotten) and also reminded me of so many outrageusly wonderful things we’d done that I’d completely forgotten.

One, to wit, in her own words:

“….Was just thinking back, laughing out loud at our perennial diets and what they bro’t us to — foregoing one slice of bread each, using those to make a “sandwich” w/ a note in the middle — The phantom strikes! — which we rewrapped and put back on the lunch line. My design, your execution, as I recall. I can still see your expression going back thru the line: Who me doing something sneaky??? Wish my memory were as good for things that happen lots more recently, ya know?? …”

Oh, I know! And how good to have someone else know. And how lovely to have someone else remember a past I’d forgotten. What we did was rotten… but funny. I’d utterly forgotten that awful, wicked thing we did! And I’d reminded her of something so silly and lovely that she’d done.

And then an old neighbor I hadn’t heard from in twenty years emailed me! She too Googled me and emailed me and I am so delighted!

I tell you, friends, it’s a new beginning, and a revelation. At last, I may be able to discover what happened to all my old friends I so often wonder about, who are now scattered across the country. At least so I hope. Google, be blessed!!

This got me to thinking about the whole “give up your name when you marry”- issue again. There were obviously things I hadn’t seen before.

Now, surrendering your name is a custom for women. I still like the sentiment of it.

But when you really get down to the ultimate nitty-gritty, isn’t it just a teensy bit – not a whole Feminist issue, of course – but isn’t it a tad disempowering for women? Making us sorta kinda property, y’know?
Feministo
And while that might have been a Very Good Thing in days of yore, when women hadn’t ANY rights to speak of (or at least they’d better not have done) and they needed a man and his name to protect them and their babies from predators – showing any interlopers that said female was spoken for and would be fought for… do we need that now?

Because these days, what the practice of changing a woman’s name to her husband’s name does, is to nip off a growing personality formed in a name, thus forcing the woman/bride to grow a new one along with her new life. In this age of constant travel and relocation, divorce and reformation, this practice often only disenfranchisesa woman forever from her past.

Didn’t mean to get so philosophical. Is losing your name and taking a husband’s name now an artifact – or an act of love? Love to know what you think.

Best,

Edith, reveling in all her new old friends and wishing everyone of you all a happy, healthy, joyous and fattening Thanksgiving!

39 thoughts on “Wenches: I was lost but now I’m found!”

  1. An interesting note on this. When my cousin Frank Essers was married in Germany to a woman called Betina Kuechenhoff, he took on her name, something that is apparently perfectly legal there now. I’m not quite sure why they did this and our family in Canada was originally somewhat flabbergasted by this move. Now we’ve become quite used to it. Oops, I wonder if he’ll google this.

    Reply
  2. An interesting note on this. When my cousin Frank Essers was married in Germany to a woman called Betina Kuechenhoff, he took on her name, something that is apparently perfectly legal there now. I’m not quite sure why they did this and our family in Canada was originally somewhat flabbergasted by this move. Now we’ve become quite used to it. Oops, I wonder if he’ll google this.

    Reply
  3. An interesting note on this. When my cousin Frank Essers was married in Germany to a woman called Betina Kuechenhoff, he took on her name, something that is apparently perfectly legal there now. I’m not quite sure why they did this and our family in Canada was originally somewhat flabbergasted by this move. Now we’ve become quite used to it. Oops, I wonder if he’ll google this.

    Reply
  4. I took my husband’s name for a couple of reasons: tradition [and I’m quite traditional] ~ it was always the thing to do and I wanted to. But also because I loved him and wanted to identify myself with him, probably more of that tradition thing there as well. But over the years I’ve also realized that it makes a link between us and our children ~ one shared last name.
    I’ve never felt that I sublimated myself, who I am, or my personality ~ overall, I’d have to say that I am the more dominant personality in our relationship even. But that’s because I’m bossy! [or so say my families ^.^].
    It’s what works for me anyways.
    Kathy

    Reply
  5. I took my husband’s name for a couple of reasons: tradition [and I’m quite traditional] ~ it was always the thing to do and I wanted to. But also because I loved him and wanted to identify myself with him, probably more of that tradition thing there as well. But over the years I’ve also realized that it makes a link between us and our children ~ one shared last name.
    I’ve never felt that I sublimated myself, who I am, or my personality ~ overall, I’d have to say that I am the more dominant personality in our relationship even. But that’s because I’m bossy! [or so say my families ^.^].
    It’s what works for me anyways.
    Kathy

    Reply
  6. I took my husband’s name for a couple of reasons: tradition [and I’m quite traditional] ~ it was always the thing to do and I wanted to. But also because I loved him and wanted to identify myself with him, probably more of that tradition thing there as well. But over the years I’ve also realized that it makes a link between us and our children ~ one shared last name.
    I’ve never felt that I sublimated myself, who I am, or my personality ~ overall, I’d have to say that I am the more dominant personality in our relationship even. But that’s because I’m bossy! [or so say my families ^.^].
    It’s what works for me anyways.
    Kathy

    Reply
  7. What I would hope the women’s movement has bought us in regards to surnames is the freedom to make the best choice for ourselves without castigation from either camp.
    I kept my name, for mostly aesthetic reasons. Although I love my husband dearly as my best and closest friend, I don’t like the way his surname looks, sounds, or is spelled. I’m a painter. My signature is most definitely part of my identity.
    Our children have his surname, but I gave them middle names that look and sound great in case they should be artists, performers, or, er, writers. 🙂
    I should add that at the veterinarian’s, pediatrician’s, orthodontist’s, etc. I’m Mrs. Husband’s-surname to avoid confusion and the occasional eye-rolling that still happens sometimes.
    I do know a couple who changed their legal married name to “Jenerik,” as a statement. I’m not rolling my eyeballs, really!
    Happy hunting and gathering,
    Jane

    Reply
  8. What I would hope the women’s movement has bought us in regards to surnames is the freedom to make the best choice for ourselves without castigation from either camp.
    I kept my name, for mostly aesthetic reasons. Although I love my husband dearly as my best and closest friend, I don’t like the way his surname looks, sounds, or is spelled. I’m a painter. My signature is most definitely part of my identity.
    Our children have his surname, but I gave them middle names that look and sound great in case they should be artists, performers, or, er, writers. 🙂
    I should add that at the veterinarian’s, pediatrician’s, orthodontist’s, etc. I’m Mrs. Husband’s-surname to avoid confusion and the occasional eye-rolling that still happens sometimes.
    I do know a couple who changed their legal married name to “Jenerik,” as a statement. I’m not rolling my eyeballs, really!
    Happy hunting and gathering,
    Jane

    Reply
  9. What I would hope the women’s movement has bought us in regards to surnames is the freedom to make the best choice for ourselves without castigation from either camp.
    I kept my name, for mostly aesthetic reasons. Although I love my husband dearly as my best and closest friend, I don’t like the way his surname looks, sounds, or is spelled. I’m a painter. My signature is most definitely part of my identity.
    Our children have his surname, but I gave them middle names that look and sound great in case they should be artists, performers, or, er, writers. 🙂
    I should add that at the veterinarian’s, pediatrician’s, orthodontist’s, etc. I’m Mrs. Husband’s-surname to avoid confusion and the occasional eye-rolling that still happens sometimes.
    I do know a couple who changed their legal married name to “Jenerik,” as a statement. I’m not rolling my eyeballs, really!
    Happy hunting and gathering,
    Jane

    Reply
  10. I think that the name issue depends on circumstances. We all have many, many different social identities, and often these identities have different names. This is emphatically so for people who have some kind of public persona, for example as a published author, as well as a private one, but it is common enough within private life, too. Most of us will answer without a second thought to different forenames – full first name, abbreviated first name, nickname, and of course titles such as ‘Mum’, ‘Nan’ and ‘Auntie’. I have never changed my surname, probably partly because I married very late in life, but I will answer quite readily to ‘Mrs.+ husband’s name’ as well as to ‘Dr./Miss/Ms + maiden name’. I do not respond to ‘Mrs. + maiden name’ though.
    Generations ago, the moment Miss Jemima Smith married Mr. George Wilson, she became, forever, Mrs. George Wilson (not Mrs. Jemima Wilson, as all of you know who are aware of traditional correct forms of address!) She had to use her new signature for all legal purposes, and the only way of changing her name again would be if she were widowed and later married for a second time. The great achievement of the last few decades is that it is now legally possible and socially acceptable to make choices, to be who you want to be, and even to change that persona, and her name, from one circumstance and situation to the next.
    PS – I wrote this offline before I had seen Jane George’s comment above, and I am repeating many of her points!

    Reply
  11. I think that the name issue depends on circumstances. We all have many, many different social identities, and often these identities have different names. This is emphatically so for people who have some kind of public persona, for example as a published author, as well as a private one, but it is common enough within private life, too. Most of us will answer without a second thought to different forenames – full first name, abbreviated first name, nickname, and of course titles such as ‘Mum’, ‘Nan’ and ‘Auntie’. I have never changed my surname, probably partly because I married very late in life, but I will answer quite readily to ‘Mrs.+ husband’s name’ as well as to ‘Dr./Miss/Ms + maiden name’. I do not respond to ‘Mrs. + maiden name’ though.
    Generations ago, the moment Miss Jemima Smith married Mr. George Wilson, she became, forever, Mrs. George Wilson (not Mrs. Jemima Wilson, as all of you know who are aware of traditional correct forms of address!) She had to use her new signature for all legal purposes, and the only way of changing her name again would be if she were widowed and later married for a second time. The great achievement of the last few decades is that it is now legally possible and socially acceptable to make choices, to be who you want to be, and even to change that persona, and her name, from one circumstance and situation to the next.
    PS – I wrote this offline before I had seen Jane George’s comment above, and I am repeating many of her points!

    Reply
  12. I think that the name issue depends on circumstances. We all have many, many different social identities, and often these identities have different names. This is emphatically so for people who have some kind of public persona, for example as a published author, as well as a private one, but it is common enough within private life, too. Most of us will answer without a second thought to different forenames – full first name, abbreviated first name, nickname, and of course titles such as ‘Mum’, ‘Nan’ and ‘Auntie’. I have never changed my surname, probably partly because I married very late in life, but I will answer quite readily to ‘Mrs.+ husband’s name’ as well as to ‘Dr./Miss/Ms + maiden name’. I do not respond to ‘Mrs. + maiden name’ though.
    Generations ago, the moment Miss Jemima Smith married Mr. George Wilson, she became, forever, Mrs. George Wilson (not Mrs. Jemima Wilson, as all of you know who are aware of traditional correct forms of address!) She had to use her new signature for all legal purposes, and the only way of changing her name again would be if she were widowed and later married for a second time. The great achievement of the last few decades is that it is now legally possible and socially acceptable to make choices, to be who you want to be, and even to change that persona, and her name, from one circumstance and situation to the next.
    PS – I wrote this offline before I had seen Jane George’s comment above, and I am repeating many of her points!

    Reply
  13. I’m thinking maybe it’s a good idea to change our names for any good reason if our high school high jinks might lead someone to hunt us down!
    But I’ve lost touch with a lot of good friends as well. Wonder how Google toggles the blog, from comments as well as posts?
    signing as Patricia Birch Rice

    Reply
  14. I’m thinking maybe it’s a good idea to change our names for any good reason if our high school high jinks might lead someone to hunt us down!
    But I’ve lost touch with a lot of good friends as well. Wonder how Google toggles the blog, from comments as well as posts?
    signing as Patricia Birch Rice

    Reply
  15. I’m thinking maybe it’s a good idea to change our names for any good reason if our high school high jinks might lead someone to hunt us down!
    But I’ve lost touch with a lot of good friends as well. Wonder how Google toggles the blog, from comments as well as posts?
    signing as Patricia Birch Rice

    Reply
  16. Oh, Edith, how wonderful to reconnect with your old friends like this! An unexpected blog blessing.
    I do like that we have flexibility in name usage these days. I have friends who married and took his mother’s maiden name because A) my friend had been going a first husband’s name, so she didn’t want to keep that, b) her fiance’s family name was Eastern European and a little tricky, C) neither of them liked her maiden name, and D) his mother’s maiden name is unusual but phonetic and easy to pronounce. The name they chose has worked just fine for them for many years now. It was a creative solution. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. Oh, Edith, how wonderful to reconnect with your old friends like this! An unexpected blog blessing.
    I do like that we have flexibility in name usage these days. I have friends who married and took his mother’s maiden name because A) my friend had been going a first husband’s name, so she didn’t want to keep that, b) her fiance’s family name was Eastern European and a little tricky, C) neither of them liked her maiden name, and D) his mother’s maiden name is unusual but phonetic and easy to pronounce. The name they chose has worked just fine for them for many years now. It was a creative solution. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. Oh, Edith, how wonderful to reconnect with your old friends like this! An unexpected blog blessing.
    I do like that we have flexibility in name usage these days. I have friends who married and took his mother’s maiden name because A) my friend had been going a first husband’s name, so she didn’t want to keep that, b) her fiance’s family name was Eastern European and a little tricky, C) neither of them liked her maiden name, and D) his mother’s maiden name is unusual but phonetic and easy to pronounce. The name they chose has worked just fine for them for many years now. It was a creative solution. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. Friends from college swapped last names when they married. I thought that one was a bit odd . . . other than that, I really don’t care. I’m personally not enthused about the idea of changing my name, but I don’t object to it if others want to.
    Historically men took on their wives surnames all the time, if there was enough $$$ involved for them to be willing to do so.

    Reply
  20. Friends from college swapped last names when they married. I thought that one was a bit odd . . . other than that, I really don’t care. I’m personally not enthused about the idea of changing my name, but I don’t object to it if others want to.
    Historically men took on their wives surnames all the time, if there was enough $$$ involved for them to be willing to do so.

    Reply
  21. Friends from college swapped last names when they married. I thought that one was a bit odd . . . other than that, I really don’t care. I’m personally not enthused about the idea of changing my name, but I don’t object to it if others want to.
    Historically men took on their wives surnames all the time, if there was enough $$$ involved for them to be willing to do so.

    Reply
  22. I kept my maiden name of Chekani partly for feminist reasons and partly because I married late in life and had established myself professionally with that name and partly because it was Albanian and I wanted to retain this as well as other aspects of my heritage. Nearly all my women friends retained their maiden names. When they wander to other parts of the country/world, it does make them easier to find. *g*

    Reply
  23. I kept my maiden name of Chekani partly for feminist reasons and partly because I married late in life and had established myself professionally with that name and partly because it was Albanian and I wanted to retain this as well as other aspects of my heritage. Nearly all my women friends retained their maiden names. When they wander to other parts of the country/world, it does make them easier to find. *g*

    Reply
  24. I kept my maiden name of Chekani partly for feminist reasons and partly because I married late in life and had established myself professionally with that name and partly because it was Albanian and I wanted to retain this as well as other aspects of my heritage. Nearly all my women friends retained their maiden names. When they wander to other parts of the country/world, it does make them easier to find. *g*

    Reply
  25. I found a girlhood pal the same way – she finally made one post in usenet with her old name – I used to google her every couple of months (or pregoogle maybe…) and then one day it hit! And much joy has been subsequently had.

    Reply
  26. I found a girlhood pal the same way – she finally made one post in usenet with her old name – I used to google her every couple of months (or pregoogle maybe…) and then one day it hit! And much joy has been subsequently had.

    Reply
  27. I found a girlhood pal the same way – she finally made one post in usenet with her old name – I used to google her every couple of months (or pregoogle maybe…) and then one day it hit! And much joy has been subsequently had.

    Reply
  28. I’d keep my name, if I got married. Now whether or not I think marriage itself is a traditional institution is another question…
    Lacey, whose mother googles her all the time and is sure to find this post.
    Kumanchik, for anyone else looking for me…

    Reply
  29. I’d keep my name, if I got married. Now whether or not I think marriage itself is a traditional institution is another question…
    Lacey, whose mother googles her all the time and is sure to find this post.
    Kumanchik, for anyone else looking for me…

    Reply
  30. I’d keep my name, if I got married. Now whether or not I think marriage itself is a traditional institution is another question…
    Lacey, whose mother googles her all the time and is sure to find this post.
    Kumanchik, for anyone else looking for me…

    Reply
  31. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  32. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  33. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  34. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  35. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  36. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  37. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  38. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply
  39. Edith,
    Came across your website through a series of google searches and I’m wondering if we are related. I share “Laulicht” as my “maiden” name (with ties to New York City and later, to Pittsiburgh). Are we by chance related?

    Reply

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