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What’s in a name?

Shakespeare wrote “A rose by any other name smells as sweet.”  Truly,what is in a name!

For the past few years, I have come to realize that our names define us in countless ways. What people call us communicates a level of familiarity and demonstrates how and when someone has known us.

I was given the name Anne Hart by my parents Annie Laurie and James Hart Morrow several decades ago. My father thought that if you named a child, the child should use all the names and he was adamant about that. When I went to college,that is what people calaled me and when I got married and moved back to Tallahatchie County,that is what people called me.

Life happened and I moved away from Webb in Tallahatchie Couny. I went to work at Delta State and found it was just easier to say Anne. So in that chapter of my life,people who knew me , only knew the first name. It seemed simpler and less complicated and then, I was looking for simple and uncomplicated in my life.

However, as I would go back to visit my parents and encountered those who had known me in my younger days, the sound of people calling me Anne Hart gave me a sense of comfort, of belonging, of being in a place where people knew me, knew my history,my family, my trials as well as the tribulations.

Nine months ago, I moved from Bolivar County to Starkville, and as I began to make this place my home, I realized that in this phase or chapter of my life, I wanted to be called Anne Hart. It was the name I was given. It is the name that evokes a sense of belonging. It requires that a person pay attention when being introduced and understands that for me, the double name is important. Use of a double name is a southern tradition that is fading along with many traditions and maybe that is a reason I hang on to it. That, like saying yes ma’am and no sir are part of that tradition and I hang on to those as well.

This is not to say that the people I met and became friends with in Bolivar County are not friends or a special part of my life. It just means that  I share a different experience there. It also makes me realize I should have taken the time there to identify myself more clearly.

As I open a new chapter in a new place, I want to learn from past errors and start here with who I am.

There have been many chapters in this life’s journey: childhood,college, work, retirement. Through them all, I have met people who are near and dear to my heart, Anne Hart that is.

The Answer

It never occurred to me that people had so many questions until I made two announcements about life-changing events.

When I retired in April, 2016, from “The Bolivar Commercial”, people asked me what I was going to do with my time because their first assumption was that I would be bored after working for 45.5 years–not just at the “Bolivar Commercial,” but in education too.

“Are you going to get a part-time job?” Are you going to travel?” Will you be moving?”

My answer was, “I am going to explore  my options,” and that seemed to satisfy the curious for a while.

I enjoyed several weeks of not having to wake up to the alarm clock and then began to think about my next steps- the next phase-the last hurrah before the nursing home and looked at the best place for me. Should I stay in Cleveland where I had been for 16 years or should I move and if I moved, where? Now, I was the one asking the questions.

All the arrows pointed to Starkville so I contacted a realtor, found a place I loved, listed my house in Boyle and moved. Things just fell into place. If the truth were told, I really thought I would take a couple of years to make this move,but then, the reality of   a few more birthdays creeping up hit me and the notion that if I were to make a move, I could not wait for the calendar pages to turn. Sometime in the future was not an option and as my Mother would say, “You better strike while the iron is hot.”

Believe me, packing up and moving in August with temperatures nearing the triple digit mark was not what she meant,though.

So,the movers came. My friends asked, “Why Starkville?” I never in a million years realized I needed an answer. I knew why Starkville was the right place for me but not that I would need an answer for anyone else.

“Do you have family there? Are you getting a job there? Do you have a boyfriend there?” So many questions! Who would have thought?  Well, I decided I had to come up with a standard answer that would discourage further questions, so I pondered.

The movers unloaded my valuables and I began to settle in and meet people. After the “Where did you move from?” which was not hard to answer , the inevitable “Why did you move here?” ” Do you have family here?” “Do you have a job here?” came. When I answered in the negative, puzzled expressions and silence greeted me next. I needed an answer that would curtail further questions and one that would satisfy the curious without seeming rude or flippant or causing anyone to contact Homeland Security.

I scoured the internet to see if there was a resource or guidebook but there seemed to be no reference material for my dilemma. Surely, there was something like” Twenty Questions: Twenty Answers” but alas, nothing like that exists so I started making a list of answers that I might use in case anyone else might need to have this resource.

Here are a few answers I thought of and they are not in any particular order or importance.  1. I like moving. 2. I like moving–especially in the hottest weather. 3.  Change is good. 4.  I am on a quest to see how many people I can meet and set a world’s record.  5.  I am in a contest to see how much stuff I can get rid of.  6. I am training for the next Olympics and want to take advantage of the athletic facilities at MS State. 7. Life is short and we have to seize the moment- to do things when we can and while we can.

Any more questions? Pick an answer.