Thursday, October 29, 2009
(This week's writing assignment was to tell the story of a name.)
“Mom, I hate my name. I want it to be different. I want it to be Missy, or Sheri, or Dena. Nobody has my name and I don’t like it.” Mom is in the kitchen making me toast for breakfast, and I am sitting at the breakfast bar waiting. The accordian screen that divides the kitchen from the dining room, is folded up behind me. I twist in my seat and my knees bump into it. I’m growing. My legs didn’t used to do that. I should be growing, I’m in third grade and my teacher told us all this was going to be a big year for growth.
“Carrie,” Mom says while putting just the right amount of butter on my toast, all the way to the edges but not globby anywhere. She cuts it in half diagonally, just the way I like it. Triangles. “You have a beautiful name, it was your great grandmother’s name. Here, let me show you.”
Mom hands me my toast and as I nibble it from one corner to the next, she comes over to my side of the breakfast bar and reaches for something in the cupboard below. It’s the chest that holds the real silver. She opens the dark wood box and inside it’s all purple and soft with a special place for each knife in the lid, and special sections for salad forks, dinner forks and spoons down below. In the place that’s not special, the extra space, are the big forks and spoons, serving pieces, Mom says, and the butter knives.
We use the real silver on very special occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter and maybe on a birthday. Maybe. Someday the real silver will be mine because I am the oldest and the only girl and the one that will put it to good use. Mom has not actually told me this, but that is my guess, and I think it’s a good one.
Mom looks at all the pieces in the section of mixed up pieces, and pulls out a spoon. “How come that spoon is not with the other ones?” I ask Mom.
“Because it’s special,” Mom says. So, I was wrong, that section below is not for the pieces that are not special, that section is for the pieces that are. “Look at this spoon and tell me what it says on the bottom.”
I take the thin silver spoon in my fingers and touch where the three engraved letters are on the handle. “CEW,” I say, “what does that spell?”
“Those were your great-grandmother’s initials,” Mom says, “Your father’s grandmother. You were named after her.” Mom sits down on the stool next to me and continues. “When I was pregnant with you I found this spoon in a drawer. I’d never seen it before, so I asked your father about it. He said CEW stood for Carrie Evans Wilson. I knew right then that that would be your name, and your father agreed.”
Mom didn’t say, “For the first time,” or “for once,” or anything like that, but I think that’s what she was thinking. She and Dad don’t agree on much, at least that’s what I think. It’s not like they really fight, either. It’s confusing. One thing I’m not confused about, though, is that they both love me.
I keep twirling on my stool and eating my triangle toast and just thinking how special that spoon and my name are, and how special I am. Missy, Sheri and Dena would be more popular names, for sure, but they wouldn’t be as special.
* Photo from henryantiques.com