A lot, actually. More than I thought, now that I think of it. By the time my parents got to me, numero seven-o, they had a hard time coming up with a name. I’ve been told that I was without a name for some time (back then, moms and new babies stayed in the hospital for more than two days, can you imagine?), and they called me “She She” for a while.
According to my Mother, my Father wanted to name me Angelica so that he could call me Angel. Ahh bless … And Angelica is a family name on my mother’s side so it would have had some meaning behind it, but my Mama didn’t think that was the name for me. Nope. She liked the name Allyson. Allyson – not Allison or Alison – Allyson, with a “y”. Like June Allyson. But June was not the inspiration for the name (just the spelling) my Mama gave me; that came from a movie and soap opera called “Peyton Place”.
Until a couple of weeks ago, I’d actually never seen the movie or show that was the motivation behind my name. As I watched, it got me to thinking … does a name somewhat define a person’s character or does the person define the name?
Alison MacKenzie from Peyton Place was a small town girl who was destined for bigger things. I grew up in a town that was considered somewhat small; you knew most of the people around, and you couldn’t go to a store without running into someone you knew or that knew your mother or father or grandfather. And Peyton Place is in New England; it just so happens that I love New England! I often daydream about moving to a cozy, small New England town. And I have, for most of my adult life, had this pang that there is something bigger meant for me; that I haven’t yet found my true purpose in life.
Alison also leaves her small town and goes to New York to start a career as a writer. She’s given the opportunity to go to college and study writing, but she’d rather do it and learn hand on rather than sitting in a classroom and listen to someone to tell her how to write. I am a writer, or at least I try to be. And I’ve thought about going back to school for an MFA in Creative Writing, but it just doesn’t suit me. I didn’t flee to New York, but I did quit my job and escape to Ireland for six months, and while I was there I did a lot of writing.
So … are these similarities merely coincidences or is it all in the name? Did my Mother’s choice in name influence who I’ve become and the person I still have left to find within me?
What’s in a name? A lot. If it actually does play role in the person you become that’s one thing. But even more importantly than that, it’s the name my Mama chose for me. Whether she thought I’d become a writer or a strong woman or someday live in a small New England town or if she just simply liked the sound of the name … whatever it was, it was chosen just for me. And that is who I am. I am my mother’s child. Allyson.