Other People’s Dreams

What is your middle name? Does it carry any special meaning/significance?

The question above is the wordpress prompt for today. I don’t have a middle name. My mother, who disliked her own middle name, did not give a middle name to either myself or my sister. My brothers each got one, interestingly the last name of one Mom’s relatives.

So why no middle name for the girls? Welcome to the 1950’s in the United States. After WWII, with women working in all manner of fields and doing well at it, there was a real push for a return to “traditional” gender roles. Women were to marry men, stay home, have babies and keep house. Working outside the home was frowned upon, and men were to be in charge. When a woman married, she would take her husband’s surname and then often use her former last name as her middle name. It was the tradition at the time. Mom was raised to follow the rules, and so her daughters were not given what she imagined to be temporary middle names.

Some 67 year later, I still don’t have a middle name. I’ve never married, and even if I had, I can’t imagine that I would have changed my name. In elementary school, when we took standardized tests, we were asked to fill in full names including a middle name or initial. Not having one, I enjoyed some experiments with my imagined preferred middle name, usually either Jeanne or Lynne. In high school, one of my friends chose Jane for me, often calling me Stephanie Jane. Since then, I’ve just been NMN (no middle name) on those forms.

I chuckle sometimes at the irony of not having a middle name. Mom clearly never imagined a woman keeping her own name throughout life, and she probably also hadn’t imagined that one of her kids would be lesbian. She died before all this got sorted out. I think she would have adjusted to both, although her initial dream was for each of her children to get married and have families. Well 3 out of 4 isn’t bad, Mom. My life hasn’t been the one you dreamed or imagined for me, but its worked out okay.

We all have different dreams and sometimes we choose our own names.

today’s Ragtag daily prompt is dream

9 thoughts on “Other People’s Dreams

  1. My sister hated her middle name — Jessie, a family name. When she complained, she was reminded that it was a good thing her grandmother was not born in Portugal, because her name then would have been Pamela Maria Bogle Rankin Campbell (all family names)! When I married, I sort of had to take my maiden name as a middle name, since I didn’t want to have to initial paperwork with an E for a middle initial between Janet and Waters! Names sometimes have strange connotations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have a middle name either, but both my brother and sister had one. I think my mother couldn’t think of one for me. She had enough trouble finding a FIRST name for me. Considering how awful so many middle names are, maybe we are better off without one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m NMN and so are my siblings. My mother had several middle names and she always felt embarrassed when at school her names were all called out, so she didn’t want to burden her children with that. I’m totally fine with no middle name. It makes all paper work (which I detest) much faster.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never knew that you didn’t have a middle name! I am not sure I know anyone else that doesn’t have a middle name. My Mom, who was convinced I was going to be a boy (after she had already had two girls) didn’t even have a girl name chosen. I was going to be Merritt James after a relative. 😉


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