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Fiona

My mother, Rita, told me she chose my name when she was 12-years-old and a small, poor girl being raised by a sin­gle father in a work­ing class neigh­bor­hood in an indus­trial town in north­ern Eng­land. She got a schol­ar­ship to attend a fancy pri­vate British school thanks to her good grades and the char­ity of a civic orga­ni­za­tion that paid for two promis­ing but under­priv­i­leged girls to attend the school each year. She did not inter­act much with the other stu­dents but very much looked up to a nur­tur­ing, tall and ath­letic older stu­dent who was 16 and was named Fiona, which is not an unusual name in Eng­land. She vowed to name her future daugh­ter Fiona. She later met and mar­ried my father, they moved to Amer­ica, and they had 2 sons who were named after his fam­ily mem­bers. Since her hus­band had been one of three boys and they had two boys already, both assumed their third and last child would also be a boy and had agreed to name me Michael, which is my father’s mid­dle name. To her sur­prise and, as she always told me, great joy, I am a girl and she was able to use the name she had cho­sen long ago. I turned out to be tall and ath­letic as well, and thanks to her hard work and end­less efforts on my behalf, was able to attend some fancy schools myself. She died too soon 7 years ago of ovar­ian can­cer, and I named my daugh­ter who was born a year later, Ava Rita.