On the Cutting Room Floor – What’s in a Name?

Readers of The Wrong Calamity know that I was born at Lafayette, Indiana’s, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, where the wards were named with Bible references and the maternity ward was labeled Immaculate Conception. I weighed less than five pounds, and when a nurse introduced me to my father, he declared, “Last night I ate a chicken bigger than that!” What isn’t in the book is what happened next. In Jewish tradition, babies are named in memory of relatives, but my mother wanted to skip all that and name me Mitzi, which she thought was perky. My father wouldn’t hear of it. He wanted to name me Marsha, after his late great aunt. They fought. Neither would yield. Finally he said ok, Mitzi was fine, and went off to sign my birth certificate. But with skullduggery aforethought, he named me Marsha instead. My mother stayed furious for her whole life. As for me, by my teen years I’d be so grateful to have escaped Mitzi, I wouldn’t care how I’d gotten my name. Mitzi was a name for petite cuties, not for someone who turned out like me.

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