Yours truly in the third grade
Born into a family of unusual names, or so I proudly felt in my early years, none of us ever had to concern ourselves with others possessing the same fore or last names. My parents, Sol and Jacqueline Urdang, named us Stephanie, Melanie, Nathan, and Gretchen, in that order.
In the third grade, a few weeks after the beginning of school, without understanding her impact on my vanity, a friend at lunch said, “There’s a new girl and her name is Stephanie.”
“No, there’s not,” I said, naively confident since I’d never before met another.
“Oh, yes there is, and she has long black hair all the way down to her waist.”
“I don’t believe you,” I said, staring at the floor of the cafeteria.
“Whether you believe me or not, it’s true. She’s from California and her hair is beautiful.”
“What’s her last name?” I had a bad haircut but I knew for sure she was not an Urdang.
“Shush, here she comes.” I saw the blanket of glistening hair swinging in the wake of the new girl, and so did everyone else. At eight years old, she was a force of nature. My friend turned in the direction of my ear and whispered. “Stephanie Cassandra.” I left the cafeteria furious at I didn’t know what.
The third grade was many decades ago and since then, I’m relieved to say I have met a few Stephanie’s without one ego collapse. The latest was in October of this year. I was at a doctor’s office and when I heard my name being called, as I followed a Latino girl in her thirties to her desk, she looked over her shoulder and said, “My name is Stephanie too.”
“Oh,” I said, “what a nice coincidence.”
We sat at her desk as she was filling out papers to prepare me for my time with the doctor. Without asking if I even had any siblings, she said, “What’s your sister’s name?”
“Melanie,” I said, purposely avoiding mentioning Gretchen because she died twelve years ago of smoke inhalation. Memories and words on the subject don’t come easily, especially to a stranger. Stephanie didn’t respond so I said, “What’s your sister’s name?”
“Gretchen,” she answered.
With the name of Dixie I seldom encounter another human named Dixie but I have met many cats and donkeys that share the name. I accept that as a simple twist of fate.
Animals are forces of nature too!
Oh this gave me goosebumps Stephanie. Beautiful as ever. x
We were speechless, both of us. It couldn’t have floored me more.
!!!! Busted a tear xo
On Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 11:29 AM, Wild Nature of New York wrote:
> stephanieurdang posted: ” > Yours truly in the third grade Born into a family of unusual names, > or so I proudly felt in my early years, none of us ever had to concern > ourselves with others possessing the same fore or la” >
I know, Christi, heartbreaking and shocking too.
Wow, a very powerful ending. There are not many coincidences in life, are there?
I agree about coincidences. It was very meaningful to both of us. We were speechless, and it brought up deep feelings on both sides of the table.
Beautiful writing, Stephanie. Thank you. Honest and poignant.
I was with a writer when your comment came in, read it to him as I read it to myself, and he seconded your opinion. I thank you both. This is the series of The First Time For Everything, an endless subject. Tahnk you for reading, commenting.
Sorry for the typo!
Gave me goosebumps again.
It still stuns me…
Oh wow. This gave me goosebumps! Wonderful, honest and fascinating little story. Thank you.
So many people said they got goosebumps. That’s what I was aiming for since that’s what happened in real life. Thank you, Judy. Hope all is well with you.