I’ve actually always liked my name, Gloria, except for a difficult teenage year when a friend mentioned that my name was for “old” people. She was probably correct since I couldn’t think of anyone else I ever knew who was named Gloria. But it still hurt and it could have been worse.
My parents were married in 1943 and as soon as the Second World War was over they started a family. My brother was born in 1946 and 16 months later I joined the family. My parents were Joe and Mary Smith. No kidding!! Being creative they promptly named my brother after my father adding on the Jr. so popular at that time. He became Joe Douglas Smith, Jr. and fortunately he used Douglas, his middle name. Then I arrived and apparently there was some discussion about what to name me. From what I understand the first choice was Mary Josephine Smith or Mary Jo. My parents thought this was great as it included both of their names. However, my mother realized that making me another Mary Smith would be difficult. So in another bright moment of creativity, they named me Mary Gloria Smith. The fact that I was born close to Christmas gave my mother the idea of Gloria. And I have always used my middle name which really confuses organizations such as Social Security and the DMV, not to mention my passport.
Gloria has always been good for me. There have been some fun songs using my name, such as “Gloria” by Laura Branigan and “G-L-O-R-I-A” by Van Morrison which was always one of my favorites. Of course, I love Christmas since most every hymn or carol includes my name and what could be better than loudly and happily singing your own name.
When I was in college I happened to have a biology teacher whom I also had in my high school years. She saw me when I came into the room for the first class and couldn’t understand why she had not noticed that I was on her class list. As she read the role out that first day, she called out Mary G Smith. It took her a couple of times calling out that name before I realized that Mary G was me. As a loving, yet continuous joke, she called me Mary G during the entire semester. That was and has been the only time in my life that I have answered to the name Mary. After all, I’m really Gloria and always will be.