159: In This Together

Book 001 - 177 In This Together.png

In the Jewish faith you name your children after departed loved ones. Their Hebrew name links them to their ancestors and so their soul is a patchwork of all who came before them and shared their name. I’m named for my maternal grandfather who died when my mom was just a little girl and her great aunt Bessie, who took her to a Beatles concert when she was 14 and screamed along with all the teenagers. My son is named for my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother. I don’t remember Grandpa Sam well, but the memories I have are good, of him telling me I could pick anything from his summer house as a keepsake, of him telling me he was going to set me up with a nice Jewish boy and when I was older the gentlemen would be lining up around the block to get a date with me. Grandma Gert was my best correspondent since I was ten and since she died when I was in my early 30’s the memories are innumerable. She was a strong, opinionated women who lived a life that has much I’d be happy to emulate. My daughter is named for a good friend of the family, who was like the embodiment of a mother earth goddess and for my paternal great aunt Sadie, of whom one of my earliest memories  (not even 2 years old) is of her passing. Obviously I only know her through stories, the proud woman who never married and never let anyone get the best of her, who would give unwanted callers the police station address instead of her house and in old age ran red lights, because they didn’t used to be there. I realized this morning that my daughter’s initials spell B.O.S., she was born in the Chinese year of the chicken, which for girls is sometimes fancifully referred to as the phoenix, which is the symbol of female imperial power. Her Hebrew name is both that of a queen and a princess and while we thought we were giving her a common name like a British writer, instead in Denmark they associated it with a beloved queen of the Netherlands. Everything about her name commands authority. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m pretty sure Great Aunt Saydee would love it...