Friday, October 16, 2009

What's in a name?

(another re-post, but i was asked to do so)

Liane… nothing too impressive really.   What’s in my name?  Irony, that’s what’s in my name.  Most people have a family history to their names, as they are named after their grandparents or other family members.  Not so in my case.  I can go back in my family line and there is no such name as mine.  Some people receive their name out of a book, because it sounded nice, fits well with a last name or it just caught their attention.  Not so in my case.   Some receive their name as it is a fashionable name at the time, perhaps just has a neat sound to it.  Not so in my case.  My mother wanted to name me “Nancy Angelique”.  Nancy used to be a name her friends called her during her teenage years.  Her real name is Eveline and I can understand why she didn’t want to be called that when she was younger, as it is a rather old name.  Angelique... well, here is the ‘cool sound thing’.    Didn’t happen that way…  instead, I am Liane.

When my mother learned of the accidental pregnancy which resulted of a party night and both being drunk.. yeah.. I have a lot to my ego!,  she was only 16 years young;  he was only 17 years of age.  They didn’t get married and it ended up that my “father”, I am using that term very loosely, became more scarce as the months went by.  However, when I was born, he was right there and the moment of assigning a name was present.  He pressed for the name Liane and fought very hard for it.  Liane is a type of vine… the type of vine Tarzan uses as his transportation device through the jungle.  But no… my father wasn’t a fan of Tarzan, but rather of a different movie entirely.  The movie was called: Liane, das Maedchen aus dem Urwald (Liane, the girl from the jungle).  He fell in love with the main character.  She had long, blond hair.  She possessed a very beautiful body and had a very pretty face.  Her personality was a very sweet one, which made him fall in love with the name.  That’s what he wished for me.  To have all those visual qualities and be as sweet as can be.  Oh the irony!

My mother gave in; let go of the ole Nancy Angelique and instead claimed my name as Liane.  Two years later, he was completely removed from my life and two years after that, a court order officially banned him from my surroundings.  I carried a name that meant so much to someone, just not to me.  I carried a name that was supposed to mean something, just not to me.  I carried a name that was supposed to represent beauty, but nobody was there for verification.   Liane was just a girl, like every other girl and he was not around to change that.  He was not there to look into Liane’s face, seeing if she actually turned out the way he had hoped when giving the name. 

We met for the first time when I turned 18;  two days after my birthday, actually.  We didn’t meet as father and daughter who want to get to know each other, but we met to attend a court appointment where I would let go of all claims against him and he no longer will have to go to jail for not paying child support.  His last day in jail; my 18th birthday.   I did what I was set out to do and signed all papers that removed him even further from me and my name.  He was asking for some time with me, which I granted him, due to my silly ole curiosity.  I heard all the stories of how much he loved my mom and the 800 page version of how I got my name.  For a short moment, he seemed like a proud father, who is still pleased with his name selection for me.  He told me the story several times, and each time, he was a little more drunk.  He told me that he never forgot about me and that he always would have a drink in jail in my honor on my birthdays. Charming!   I saw him all of four times before Jenny was born.  I have asked him, to come to my apartment to get to meet his grandchild.  I was stood up three times with what seemed a lame excuse on his part, while his slurring of words only added to my disappointment.  I told him, that I understand now why my mom didn’t believe in him and left him.  I told him, that I don’t want to see him any longer and there is no need for him to call again.  Two years later, I left for America.

In 2001, my name-giver passed away.    My name is still around… but what does my name mean now?   To me, it spells out : irony. Irony that he fought for something that meant nothing.   But in the end, my name will always remind me of the story of a man who was passionate about a name for a little girl he would never know. 

What’s in your name?


  1. I love your name, it is unusual, and unique, and it fits as you are those things as well. It is just a name that triggers memories and smiles, and I love it... however you came to have that name - it fits you and you give it such panache... Thank you for being a part of my life, and making that name something I cherish.

  2. PS - I love the picture too... such an adorable little child... you can see even then you were full of life and character and just so alive, and happy to be so...

  3. What a superb post ... the theme that runs through it is of sadness .. of missed opportunity, of regret and omission ... but it is so well written it reads like a love story.

    Most of us have a name ... nearly all of us I suppose - but how many peoiple do you know that has such a story attached to theirs? I know of no-one else that has such a story to tell ... or who ccould tell it so wonderfully if they did.

  4. great story liane. my name, as well, has no family significance. no long interesting traditional value. my mom just had the "hots" for a actor in a soap opera. on the show his name happened to be kevin.....and tadda!!! thats my name. when i was a kid i hated it. dont really know why. i think most kids hate their name at one point or another. now...i like it. i think it really fits me. its funny how we grow into our kevin

  5. Liane, I think its a nice name.
    My mother calls me Taki, shhhhhh don't tell anybody.
    My full name is Panayiotakis.
    That's the first name.
    We won't even go into my last name.

    We are all given names we didn't choose and we can change them if we wish but we don't.
    Who gave us our name doesn't really matter, it's what we make of that name that does.
    It's just a name.
    Blank along with a phone book full of people with the same name until you make your stand out a little more.

    Liane, you make it a very nice name

  6. 20 years together, which was 5 days ago by the way, and I'm still learning about you and your life. Probably a story you've told me but I was too involved in what ever the emergency of the day way to listen. I'm sorry for that. I love your name. "Liane"...I must have corrected a thousand people about how to pronounce it over the years. I'm here for you, and I always will, to tell you that you are everything your name represented to your father and more. Your name has a story, a history all its own, where as mine "Lewis" is just a traditional "Family" name...the maiden name of my maternal grandmother, and the first name of her husband at the time of my birth.

  7. Tom... thank you for making me blush ;-)

    Michael... I wish I could have a really neat story to my name instead of the mentioned one. I always liked it when people spoke of their passed away relatives and how the names where carried on in order to remember.

    Kevin.. so we almost have something in common, eh? The idea for our names come from the silver screen... is that better than having them picked out of a book? ;-)

    Walker... your comment made me smile.. thank you for that ;-) And you are right... I have never thought of changing my name.. wonder why that is... so not only did you create a smile but also a thought... and thanks for your very last sentence ;-)

    Honey... wow, 20 years eh? Who would have guessed way back then... but see, you have a family name to carry around.. i don't. On the other hand.. my grandma's name is Anneliese... kinda glad i don't have that name though as it is such an old old name... I love you!!

  8. Your name is what I clicked in a comment you left on my blog (thank you very much for that, btw) and now brought me here to yours. Which is where I found not only an eloquent writer who goes by the irony-laden name Liane but a writer who graces her page with poignant lines from names like Schiller and Plato.

    "Liane" sat in front of during sixth and seventh grades. I poked my pencil into her back to show here how much I liked her. Kind of ironic, too, I suppose.

  9. MP --- nice of you to show up in my little silly virtual world. And now i thank you for your comment and it's kind words. Boys will be boys when left with a pencil, eh? Looking forward to reading more from you as i added you as well :-)

  10. Hi Liane,

    I read your post and it almost moved me to tears - in a good way!

    My real first and middle names combine to mean "she of unusual beauty and intelligence " and I think it's quite apt in the sense that I am not beautiful but I have always been a bt left of the centre if that makes sense..

    I am going to become a follower of yours and would love it if you becam a follower of my blog - you would be the first "double number" at 10!

    XOXO as always,


  11. XOXO Wifey -- well thank you for your visit.. and, of course, i will follow you ;-) [your wish is my command] (what a good start to it all, eh?) ;-)


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