“What’s in a name?” Juliet Capulet asks of her lover, Romeo Montague. “That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.” So, what is in a name?
My full name is Mary Rita Theresa Leisz Scott:
“My mother’s name was Mary/ she called me Mary too. She wasn’t gay or airy/ but plain as she could be/… For it is Mary, Mary, that grand old name” – (song by George M. Cohen).
Mary Constance Connolly, my mother, was certainly not plain. She was smashingly beautiful with big dimples in her lovely smiling Irish face, bewitching eyes, and a tumble of chestnut, wavy hair. Her intelligence, sense of humor, and fiery temperament matched her amazing appearance.
Rita Connolly was my mother’s older sister who lived in Astoria, New York, at the time of my birth. My father was a Navy man and away. Therefore, to honor her sister, who she was staying with on Sept. 18, 1946 ( my birthday)…Mary C. added Rita as my middle name. At home, growing up, to avoid confusion (remember, my mother’s name was Mary/she called me Mary too) – I was called Rita. I did not like the name Rita. I associated it with my mother’s temper, “Rita, stop bothering your sister; Rita, help with the dishes; Rita, stop the baby from crying.” Rita was my home name and home was often filled with scary things, like my parents fights.
Theresa, well, that’s my Roman Catholic Confirmation name. It is a nice name. I chose it. No negative associations there. Unless you want to hear about the time the frustrated nun at the Catholic school I attended walked around the classroom slapping each student twice (once on each cheek). Someone in the room had made a fart (or a fart noise); everyone in class laughed; no one would rat out the farter…and so a slapping she did go!
Leisz. My father’s last name. Long story there. I could write a book. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Anyone want to read it?
Scott. My husband’s last name. Not really. Another book there.
So, what is in your name?