Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Name Like any Other Name

My Grandmama's first name was Zenith, heaven only knows where that name came from. No one in the family has ever been able to trace its origin. She passed it on to my Mama, who thank God took mercy and spared me the agony of the moniker. I guess she figured that she had taken enough pain for the next generation. It wasn't even in the running for names when my daughters came along.

My mother's name is Zenith Ann and as a child she was blessingly called "Ann". When she went to Wake Forest as a freshman, she found that there were four other "Ann's" on her hall, so she reverted to "Zenith" to distinguish herself. Needless to say, she was the only "Zenith" on campus.

Of course, at home her family still called her "Ann". My father, who met her as a fellow student at Wake Forest, knew her as "Zenith". So when they got married, his family called her "Zenith". As a child this was very confusing. My mother had a split personality - my mother's family called her "Ann" while my dad's family called her "Zenith". To me, any reference to her as "Ann" was foreign because everyone I knew called her "Zenith".

While my father was in pharmacy school in Charleston, he and Mama were invited to Dean's home for a Christmas party. Each student proudly introduced their wife (all the students were male in those days) to the Dean and his wife as they entered the Dean's home. Apparently, a large time was had by all and after many adult beverages were consumed it was time to leave. In southern tradition, the host and hostess said their good byes to everyone at the door. The Dean prided himself on remembering everyone's name. When my mother and father reached the door, the Dean smiled broadly and said, "Bill, it has been a delight to meet your lovely wife, Quasar. I hope you will bring her back sometime".

Daddy laughed all the way to the car. As he opened the car door for Mama, she just gave him a look, "It wasn't that funny," she said. "I guess not," Dad said, "he could have called you Motorola."

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