Me, Myself, and My Name

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.

3 thoughts to “Me, Myself, and My Name”

  1. Personally, I cannot relate to having a “grandma” name because my name is Kate, but my mother’s name is Martha. Arguably, this is a grandma name. My mom is 50 years old now, but she has always told me about when she was younger and she hated her name. My mom is a twin, and her sister’s name is Kelly. My mom could never understand why her sister got the “cute” name and she was stuck with the more unusual one.

    Now that she is older, she does not mind anymore, and when she was in college she said she embraced her name. I couldn’t imagine my mom with another name, and having the name Martha is easy to remember. My name is so common, and often I feel like I am easily forgotten when people are trying to remember my name.

    Linda is a beautiful name, and the last sentences of your post are a perfect attitude to have!

  2. Your post got me thinking how much our names are part of our identity. We hear our own names so much that we don’t often get to step back and think about what they mean to us and to other people. For me, my name has led me to become the punchline in countless Star Wars references (“Luke, I am y-” I GET IT!) but has also changed based on who I’m with. Luke, Lukey, Loukas (not actually my real name, but I get it sometimes), they mean different things to different people. To my brothers I’m Lukey, to my friends I’m Luke, and they have very different denotations. Luke and Lukey are two very different people, and it’s amazing how differently I identify with each one. It’s kind of weird, but I’m proud to be “Luke”, and proud to be “Lukey” – I never thought I’d hold stake in such an objective part of my identity.

  3. What a great post, Linda. I love that your name has such a beautiful story to it and that it will always remind you of your grandmother, who I’m sure was an incredible woman. I’m glad that you have come to love your name. I’m also glad that you have embraced it with your Facebook page, “Young People with Old Lady Names.” It is hilarious! I can’t believe that all of those things in your description have happened to you. I’ve never had anything exciting happen to me regarding my name, and I almost wish that something had! I am a big fan of names that aren’t common, so my children won’t be Samanthas or Carlys.

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