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