What’s Your Name

My mother teased me without mercy over my jitters entering junior high school.  She always teased me about something or other which infuriated me although, she said it was all in good fun. Perhaps it was for her, but not for me.  I was leaving my best friend behind in elementary school. My other friends lived in a different junior high school district and I would not be joining them.  There were other friends who graduated from elementary school the year before, but they now treated me as some little kid, I was only 11.  Those of us who were entering junior high from elementary school where un-affectionately called Scrubs.  I didn’t understand the meaning until I looked it up years later, an insignificant or contemplable person.  

There was an R&B song played on the radio that my mother sang to me all the time, “What’s Your Name” sung by Don and Juan, written by Claude Juan” Johnson. 

What’s your name? I have seen you before
What’s your name? May I walk you to your door?
It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ee

What’s your name? Is it Mary or Sue?
What’s your name? Do I stand a chance with you?
It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me
Ooh-ee, ooh-ee, ooh-ee 

Being so young, I wasn’t ready for boys especially the older ones in the 9th Grade. My mother talked incessantly about all the boys that would have crushes on me.  I prayed that I would be invisible, and I didn’t consider myself a cute girl.  But, like most mothers, mine thought I was a real beauty.  I grew to hate this song and bagged my mother to please stop singing it, being the teaser that she was, she wouldn’t.  

I was sitting in the kitchen as she was styling my hair for that first day at school. In elementary school I always wore two braids or ponytails.   I was getting a new, more teen-age hairdo. My mother rolling the hot curler in my hair, broke into song, “What’s Your Name.”  I started crying unconsolably; I was afraid of going to this school with teenagers, I was afraid of boys, and I hated my name which is Aurora, not Mary or Sue.  My mother finally understood how all this was affecting me, she apologized, vowing to never sing that song to me again, she never did. She told me everything would be ok, I’d have new friends, and the boys would like me, I wasn’t too excited about those boys.  I pulled myself together, washed my face, checked my hair, and went out the door.  

There were plenty girls with the name Brenda, Linda. Patricia, Marilyn, but not one Aurora. Whenever someone asked my name and I told them, I’d get an “A-Who?”  The worst was a boy who after asking my name, then asked me to spell it.  When I did, he said “Oh, Zorro.”  I didn’t think that was funny at all.  The kids in school soon got used to my name, some thought it was pretty.  One boys called me Sleeping Beauty, her name was Aurora.  For Christmas he gave me a puzzle from the Disney movie.  There was another boy who called me Borealis after the Northern Lights.  Then, there was the one who called me Ariba after a cheap wine which is no longer sold. 

Over the years I grew to like the uniqueness of my name, if it was mentioned, everyone knew it was me because I was the only one.  When I was in my late teens, I join a Black Power group.  We were given African names to remove our “slave name.”  I selected Ororo, originating from Edo (Nigeria) and Ghana.  The meaning can be oil or storm.  It was almost the name as my given name which I didn’t consider a slave name as the origin was Latin.  I preferred the meaning, storm over oil which is understandable.  

When I went into the workforce, I met a young woman named Rory, whose name was Aurora.  She was from the Philippines and told me it was a common name in her country. It is also a common name in Mexico and Latin America.  Rory didn’t like to be called Aurora to which I smiled; I was still the only one I knew at my workplace, even when I retired. 

Do you have something to say? Submit to The Daily.

About the contributor

Related Articles

A Writer’s Coronavirus Diary Part 7

In the next instalment of his Coronavirus diary Brendan Landers considers poetry, inspiration and 'knocking back the liquor.'

You Packin’?

I wasn’t much older than them. In 2010, I was 25 and teaching my first college class. I had graduated with my master’s and...

Making It Plain

Mike Smith reflects on our urge as writers to 'make something of' the reality that surrounds us.

More Like This

‘Leaving Four Years of Chaos Behind’ by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Relief and sunshine came pouring through on the morning of November 7, 2020

Missing the Daily Pre-Covid Commute by Melissa Todd

As restrictions tighten and we are advised to work from home, Melissa Todd remembers the creative potential of the morning commute.

Sunday Lunch with the Lawrences at Kiowa by Michael Paul Hogan

Poet, journalist, fiction writer and literary essayist, Michael Paul Hogan takes us to Kiowa Ranch, New Mexico in 1925 and a question asked of the host that has significance for us all.

‘How Did You Come To Write?’ by Denise O’Hagan

Denise O'Hagan, Editor of An Astráil at The Blue Nib, charts her development as a writer and gives us a preview of some of the poetry in her debut collection, 'The Beating Heart'.

Writing in a second language

La pistola  che ho puntato alla tempia  si chiama poesia. Non sono una donna  addomesticabile. Il poeta non rigetta mai  le proprie ombre. Alda Merini, Aforismi e magie Writing in a second...