What’s in a name?

I didn’t know my grandmother very well. We lived in different states. My contact with her as a child was limited to a week or two, almost every year. I remember that she was very kind, very busy, very tall and very thin. Notice all the “very’s”? She was everything “very”.

My mother worshipped her mother. My grandmother was “the strongest woman she ever knew”. According to my mother, my grandmother could do anything she set her mind to. She never showed weakness, she was hard working and tenacious. She could put sheets on a bed with one fluid swing of her arms. Me thinks she would have made a great superhero. 

My name was my grandmothers, and I hated it growing up. I also hated having ears, because they left a bump in my smooth hair, but I digress. I thought Lydia sounded like an old lady name. I’ll do some remedial self analysis and suggest that I felt this way because the only other Lydia I knew was my grandmother, and in my child’s eyes, she was an old lady.

Growing up with the name-

You would think that not much rhymes with Lydia. Children love to be cruel, but they couldn’t possibly make fun of “Lydia”… Wrong. They changed every curse word they’d ever heard, to make it rhyme. Example: Lydia, shitia, titia… My brother called me “Lydiot”. That was admittedly a good one, especially since it was coming from a toddler. He was ten years my junior. Regardless of the humor in that version of my name, I wished for a more common name, and to be left alone.

I believe I’ve grown into my name. I began to like the fact that there aren’t a lot of us. I also think my name has shaped who I am. In the back of my mind, I’ve always felt that because I have my superhero grandma’s name, I carry the torch for her. It’s always there in the back of my mind. I am a strong woman, I can do anything I set my mind to, and I can put sheets on a bed with one fluid swing of my arms. Remembering my grandma, and her strength helps me get through the most challenging days.

All through my life, I’ve been serenaded with a song that bears my name. Everyone from strangers, to family members have burst in to song upon hearing my name mentioned. The song was Groucho’s “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, from the film “At The Circus”. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. The film is classic of the Marx brothers, and I love it now. Now, I’d like to step into the scene where he sings the song, and dance with him.

I wonder if anyone ever sang it to my grandma.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the song or Groucho, I’ve attached a link to the video.

Oct 19, 2014
Fourth Wall
You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

14 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I am so happy to meet you, Lydia! You are the first “Lydia” I have ever met – even though we’re only in cyberspace. I loved that Marx Brother’s movie (well, all of them) and that song always cracks me up! Now, I shall forever remember you whenever I see that movie or hear that song. Lydia, the strong, vibrant woman who can make a bed with one fell swoop of her arm. I love it! You are brilliant! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this when you reblogged it in June. My grandmother’s name was also Lydia. Lydia Lenora. And she hated her name, too. She went by “Lee” from a very early age. Her distaste came from how she came by those names: She was the last of many children, and an “oops” baby. Her parents decided to let her siblings to name her. They chose “Lydia” as a joke after the don’t-mention-in-polite-company product: Lydia Pinkham’s Tonic (a menstrual cramp remedy), and “Lenora” after a school teacher they all hated. Such a shame, because they are both lovely names, and very pretty when put together.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A lot from Lydia

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