Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes

A Different Name

 

Katina Article LOGO art

 

I was born with a name my mother found in a Greek mythology book, or so I was told.  Katina is a common nickname for Katherine in Greece. I know because when I was in Greece, everyone thought I was Greek.  Many boats had my name painted in bold letters on their backs.

When I was in fourth grade I moved to a new school and the teacher asked me to introduce myself. I said my name clearly. A smart aleck boy in the back of the class pretended he heard my name wrong and clarified loudly, “CHIQUITA?!” The class roared with laughter. I calmly clarified, “No, my name is Tina.”  I went by Tina until I started my life anew in college many years later and reverted to Katina.

My family name was the English surname Cox. I was happy with my last name until a group of guys at a bar in college called me over and had fun asking me to spell my last name.  I tilted my head in incomprehension that they couldn’t spell a three-letter name, until it occurred to me there was another phonetic spelling which was a male sex organ. I was mortified!

Years passed and I was going to get married. I informed my fiancé that I’d prefer to keep my birth name and gave many reasons why this was my desire. I had a career and had established what one would now call my “brand,” establishing my work reputation. Plus I was feminist in my thinking. The traditional assumption of the husband’s name made me feel like chattel. He was so dismayed and carried on in such tragic grief that I relented and changed my name to his.

Greek last name.  It actually sounded pretty with my Greek first name, so I moved on.  I had a son and gave him a traditional Greek first name, so he sounded like he was a real Greek too.

Life went on, I divorced, and several years later I was preparing to remarry my present husband. The name issue came up again. I was adamant I wasn’t going to do the whole name thing again. My then fiancé held traditional views. I stressed that I didn’t want to have to send out name change correspondence at work, and that my son and I shared last names. He wasn’t swayed.

One day while driving with my son, he informed my fiancé he had only one request if we were to become a family.  My husband thought this sounded simple and asked what it was. “There are two of us with our last name, and only one of you. Will you take our last name, and we will all have the same last name?”

My husband stammered with the logic from this young boy’s mind. He reluctantly agreed that I would keep my last name. I was really proud of my son’s argument, and he saved me a boatload of administrative tasks required when one changes their name.

I kept my name and I remain myself.  Names hold meaning.

 

El Ojo del Lago - Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

 

Pin It
Editor's Page By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez   What follows is an announcement that will run in the August debut issue of our new sister-publication
Women And Mexico By Bill Dean   Coatlicue — Let’s start at the beginning. There is a sculpture of Coatlicue, the “Mother of the Gods,”
God And Mr. Gomez By Jack Smith Book Review by Jeanie Swentik   (Ed. Note: This is a review that we run from time to time because in our view
The Ajijic Plaza At Dusk By Jeremy Monroe   Something has changed. The air is suddenly still. Children’s screams of joy are dialed down. 
AUGUST, 1945: Memories of another Time and Place By Dr. Lorin Swinehart   In August, 1945, as the long awaited birth of my baby sister approached,
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
    MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING   Column: Profiling Tepehua   Website:   Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The
  KEN MASSON   Column: Bridge by the Lake   Website:   Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
 Find us on Facebook