I was named after my amazing Grandma (and I just happen to be posting this on her BIRTHDAY!). Unfortunately, I didn't get her flair of beauty (wish I had some of her old pics to show you), but I'm happy enough to try to represent her in other ways that I can. It's some pretty intense stuff, having the name of someone else. I can see all of the ways that I don't live up to it, but boy do I try, because being just like grandma would be awesome, of course.
I have always loved my name, though others might not get it. Yet, there is more to this birthright than I imagined growing up. When people hear about Shirley So-And-So the person that comes to mind is
Old Lady. Whether she be angry or not. In my experience, Shirley's are usually amiable enough. But either way, Old Lady. This means a couple of things. One is that I am always receiving Old Person mail. Certain groups seem to be endlessly concerned that I have a pretty lot picked out at a cemetery in time, that my casket will be to my liking, that my dentures are staying in tight - and clean, that my will is in order, and that I'm getting all that's due me from Social Security and Medicare. Such considerate souls.
The latest has been so kind as to wonder at my hearing.
People automatically assuming I am an old person also makes for trouble when workers come by the house. This is a conversation with our A/C checker guy.
ACCG: I'll give this info to my office. Thanks and have a nice day.
ME: Oh thank you. How will this be billed?
ACCG: Since there was no damage we'll send the bill to the homeowner.
ME: Yes, that's me. Will you still just send it, or will you take payment right now?
ACCG: Oh no we can just send the bill to the homeowner.
ME: Yes, that's me. I'm the homeowner. I'm Shirley. Do you need payment now if I'm Shirley?
ACCG: Oh, YOU'RE Shirley? Okay, yes I can take a card.
This might not all be the fault of my name, though. It could just be that, more than anything else, I am an old person. No, not an old soul. An old person. I talk about young girls like I was fifty years older than they. I fall asleep when I shouldn't - like when hanging out at friends' houses or on Mike's couch (before we were married. ALL the time). I'm losing my mind. All of my hair is falling out (I'm going to have to get the Sheri Do!). My biggest dreams are very old person-esque: Most people know of my desire to run a flower shop someday, but they might not know that I would love love to be a Story Lady.
Please tell me you've heard of The Story Lady. When I watched that as a little girl I wanted to be her, and dang-it I'd be so good at it, too. But really, if it were reading stories to kids or narrating for novels and big productions, I would love it.
So, Shirley: sleepy wannabe story lady, often mistaken for an old person, trying to be just like Grandma.