I’ve been hearing and seeing my name on every type of media for days. Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming memoir: Becoming Grandma.
I’ve had a rocky relationship thru the years with my birth name, hating it, loving it, wanting to change it somehow, spell it different. It’s such a simple name. I’m anything but simple.
I was named after both Grandmothers. Ida, was a derivative of Gaetana, my mother’s mother. Fae, the ‘middle’ name’ by spelling but meant to be attached to Ida as one name, was my father’s mother, Fanny. Both had passed on before my birth so I had no living role model for being an Ida Fae.
As soon as I was old enough to read (early ‘50’s) I began to search for my name in print. I remember feeling sad that I could never find a magnet or a card or anything with my name printed on it. My mother sent away for some small fabric labels with my name on it and sewed them on my clothing for sleep-away camp. That didn’t count.
Throughout high school I did see my name in the newspapers a few times.
It wasn’t as if kids made fun of me regarding my name. I never experienced that. No. My experience was more of an issue around being seen and heard and feeling invisible. Who am I if my name isn’t included by those that make things with names on them?
Although I would not meet another Ida until I was 45, I met lots and lots of people who had an Aunt Ida, a grandmother Ida, or some other older elder who was greatly loved. I never met anyone who didn’t like Ida if she had one in her life. Hmmm. I wonder how I’m doing?
The first significant meet-up with another woman named Ida happened at Kripalu Yoga Center during one of my earlier visits. And, then, again at Kripalu I met a 2nd Ida. We had a wild moment when all 3 of us were in the same place at the same time! Their experiences of being named Ida was similar in context but not in content.
“Who I am” would become a life-long search in and of itself. Never mind that Ida is quite prominent in sanskrit.
Although I’ve traveled the country and a bit of the world in recent years, and I’ve yet to find a magnet, or a mug, or any kind of chachke or card for a generic Ida.
In 2009 Hurricane Ida hit the Jersey Shore.on the day before my birthday! There were headlines everywhere. “Ida’s Coming!” was one. I couldn’t get out to buy the paper but it’s online here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Ida_%282009%29
In 2015, Ida won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 2016, I spotted this book in Barnes & Noble and Ida dies. There was so much synchronicity for this story at that time that it’s hard to believe it’s coincidental. The same could be said of the movie, too.
……….. end of excerpt
And now, Hurricane Ida…..strikes again. Hard to be invisible these days. I guess it’s time to re-think who I am.