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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Friday, January 04, 2008  
What's in a Name?

In 1975 when I got my divorce, it wasn't a matter of course for women to get their maiden names back. My ex-husband and I worked out all the details of our divorce settlement, and I went to a lawyer to get the paper work done and to represent us before the judge. I suppose because I was calm and business-like about it with the attorney, he told me he didn't think I'd go through with the divorce. I'd had years to build up to this by trying to talk things over, attempting to spice things up, reading books, going to a marriage counselor by myself, and finally giving up. There are some things you need help with and making a relationship work is one of them. I wanted out.

Things were going according to plan until I mentioned to my lawyer that by-the-way I wanted to get my name back. He said no, I couldn't do that. I asked him why not, and he told me the judge wouldn't go along with it if a woman had children because that would make a bastard of her child. I told him I didn't think that was retroactive. He didn't laugh or respond. No sense of humor apparently.

So the research began! And so did the battle with my attorney which I lost. I'm a charter subscriber to Ms Magazine which had an article about name changing that I quoted to my attorney. It wasn't a law that a woman had to change her name when she got married but a custom in all but two states, and Tennessee wasn't one of them. I also read about this from a case filed by the famous Nashville divorce attorney Rose Palermo. I thought since I chose to change my name when I married that I could choose to unchange it when I got unmarried. A person can use any name as long as it's not to commit fraud or conceal a crime, and all I wanted to do was use my own name that is on my birth certificate and report cards. But NO! They wouldn't let me.

So I did it myself. I got it changed on my driver's license and social security card and started using my own name again. Everything was fine until a few years later when I had to take my ex-husband to court for non-payment of child support. This time I had a different attorney who mentioned that he couldn't find a legal document where I'd changed my name and asked if I did it later or just did it. I answered "both" and was told that I needed to get it changed legally. Off we went to the county judge where I paid $50 to get my own name back. That, I thought, was that.

When I bought a house several years after that, I had to show that I'd changed my name legally and sign papers saying that all the names I've used and had were the same person. This is why I decided if I ever got married again, I'd never change my name. All this was enough trouble to make me decide not to go through it again. So my name stayed my name and always will. Now women are asked routinely which name they want to use. In fact, my son has a different last name from his mother and his wife but not from his son.

Can you believe I had to go through all this just to use my own name?

8:54:00 PM

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