So I might have mentioned that I got married a couple months back. This has brought me much joy and happiness, but also much paperwork and administrative scrambling. For me, 2008 has been the year of the split personality. Witness these ticket stubs from my recent trip to Boston and back:
The first one I bought from a machine, with the credit card that still bears my maiden name (although a new one is supposedly in the mail!). The second I bought at a ticket window, with my new driver's license -- the teller entered the name herself. Perhaps it's appropriate that I traveled to Boston to visit my brother and his family (and reconnect with a grade-school friend) as "Mollie Wilson," and I returned to my home and husband as "Mollie O'Reilly." But neither label seems completely accurate anymore. I'm still working on making all the paperwork agree, as far as possible -- as I said, my credit card is on the way, and I'm about to send in the application for my new passport. I have yet to go to my bank and change the name on my personal account, but I think that will happen this week, because I really need checks that show my current name and address. When all that is over, I will still have to change my name in my insurance and hospital records, and get new cards for both. It's exhausting -- but so is trying to remember who calls me what. (By the way, I got two catalogues yesterday, both addressed to my maiden name, both delivered to the correct box. If the mail carrier has to misplace something, I'd really rather get my hospital bills and not the Land's End catalogue.)
Before the wedding, a number of people who'd known me by my maiden name laughed when they heard what my new surname would be. "That's so Irish!" they squealed. My response to this is always something like, "...Indeed." It doesn't seem funny to me to have a super-Irish name, because Irish I am and I always have been. (Name that musical comedy paraphrase!) I never realized that this wasn't obvious until people started joking about my "new" identity. From an ethnic perspective, my new name actually fits me better than the deceptively neutral, probably English last name I've always had. But I suppose, if I weren't already Irish, it might not fit so comfortably. And if I'd married a man whose surname reflected an ethnic background that is not part of my personal makeup -- Ramirez, Gatelli, Nguyen -- adding it to my own might have been a more difficult adjustment. I look like a "Mollie O'Reilly," and I burn in the sun like a "Mollie O'Reilly," so I'm happy to be called that, as long as I can get used to answering to it!
On the other hand, I'm already beginning to understand why my own Irish ancestors dropped the "O" prefix from one of our family names many generations ago. That apostrophe is a troublemaker. And they didn't even have computers to deal with! Some printouts simply drop it ("OREILLY") and some turn it into an initial ("MOLLIE WILSON O REILLY"). Some machines choke on it -- the husband says he's never been able to use a self-check-in kiosk at an airport -- and some add a bunch of weird characters where the apostrophe should be ("O/&%REILLY"). All you people with "de" and "van" and "L' " in your names: I think I feel your pain.
Does your name represent you accurately? If not, do you wish it did, or are you glad it doesn't? Did you have to make a big adjustment to your married name? Sure I'd love to hear about it.