Lynne Marie

My par­ents were divorced when I was in fifth grade.  Prior to that, I don’t remem­ber them ever show­ing any signs of phys­i­cal affec­tion or emo­tional sup­port for one another.  The his­tory of my name is inex­tri­ca­bly tied to the hos­til­ity between my mother and father. The story goes that my par­ents, who could never agree on any­thing, made a deal with each other that she would name the first child, and he would name the sec­ond.  My brother, who was born four years before me, is named Edward Matthew for my mater­nal and pater­nal grand­fa­thers respec­tively. When my fam­ily gets together, peo­ple from both sides always dis­cuss and debate with pride which attrib­utes he shares with each of the two great men.

How­ever, Lynne Marie is not a name that appears on any branch of my fam­ily tree.  Lynne is an uncom­mon spelling of an uncom­mon name and was always a major source of anx­i­ety dur­ing my child­hood; I could never buy a license plate with my name on it for my bike with­out adding an E in magic marker, and I never had a name­sake song like my friends Mag­gie, Beth, and Sue.  For my 13th birth­day I received a dec­o­ra­tive plaque explain­ing that my name is derived from an Old Eng­lish word mean­ing “beau­ti­ful water­fall.”  When I asked my mother why my father chose to name me Lynne Marie, I was pic­tur­ing a water­fall nes­tled in the Eng­lish coun­try­side, with a peas­ant woman read­ing a book beside it, every few min­utes she would lift her eyes from the pages to admire the calm and beauty of the clean cas­cad­ing water.  My mother inter­rupted my day­dream when she turned to me and with ample bit­ter­ness told me that my father wouldn’t tell her where he got the name from, and that I was prob­a­bly named after one of his ex-girlfriends or mistresses.

One Comment

  • By link­ing Lynne to one of her father’s girl­friends, her mother puts Lynne out­side the fam­ily and, inad­ver­tently, gives Lynne the feel­ing she does not belong. This feel­ing of being an out­sider is exac­er­bated by the fact her brother has a fam­ily given name and she does not. Research on the name Lynne reveals that it is an ancient Celtic/Welsh name mean­ing “lake.” It can be con­sid­ered a nick­name for Linda, which is an old Ger­manic name mean­ing “ten­der,” the emo­tion Lynne is seek­ing but miss­ing in her name story. A study of water and its sym­bol­ism of life and the spirit could inspire a heal­ing jour­ney through mythol­ogy, world reli­gions, and literature.

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