When I introduce myself as Linda, people often respond with something along the lines of, “my grandma’s name is also Linda!” The exchange is a common occurrence. After all, Linda is a grandma name. In fact, it’s my grandma’s name.
I was named after my mom’s mom, Linda Rose Schwartz, who passed away when my mom was only 14 years old. My whole life, I’ve been told about the incredible woman with whom I share a name. Even so, I didn’t always appreciate the name Linda. In fact, for a while, I hated it. I mean, it was hard being an 8-year-old named Linda. It was as if I belonged in a nursing home rather than an elementary school classroom. Even to this day, I have yet to meet a Linda under the age of 50. I longed to be like my friends who had names like Jessica and Rachel. I simply did not belong. I cried to my parents; I pleaded with them to change my name.
Upon entering college, I befriended a girl named Diana, and immediately bonded with her over our old-lady names. We decided that it was time to change the way people viewed our names. It was time to own our names; to wear them with pride. For this, we created a Facebook page titled, “Young People with Old Lady Names.” The description of the page is as follows:
(Just as a brief side note, I actually experienced all of the things in the description.)
Today, I love the name Linda. It’s more than just five letters strung together. I am named in the memory of Linda Rose Schwartz. Like me, she was a writer. In third grade, I shared with my class a small book consisting of beautiful poems written by my namesake. My bat mitzvah invitation featured one of her short free verse poems; originally written for my mom on her thirteenth birthday. Linda Rose Schwartz loved birds, art, and most importantly, her children. From what I gather, she was truly a beautiful, courageous, and inspirational woman, both inside and out.
A few weeks ago, as my mom was sifting through old artifacts from her childhood, she came across a note that her mother once wrote. The words read, “you make your own luck.” It’s funny; my mom has consoled me with those exact words more times than I can count. The idea has become our mantra; the lens through which we view life. Linda Rose is a name of which I am proud. I am honored to carry on my grandma’s memory, and I work to embody her qualities in order to uphold the dignity of the name.
I am a lot of things. I am a daughter, a sister, a student, and a friend. Most importantly, however, I am Linda Rose, and of that, I could not be prouder.