Growing up with a mother who loathed and rejected her name (Beatrice Blanche) and always went by Bunny, even to her daughters,why did she name her firstborn Lena Lorraine? "Because," she said, " just before Lorraine was born I went to a movie and the actress was named Lena and she was so beautiful..I never intended to have anyone call her that." Does that make any sense? It says something about her narcissism, me thinks. Lorraine so hated the Lena part, always being teased as Leapin' Lena, she had it changed on her high school graduation certificate to put an accent mark over the "e". Still I always called her Lari. As she got older I think I was the only one, but she liked it.
At my new book club up here, "Between the Covers" meeting for the third time yesterday, we reviewed Catherine the Great, which was my nomination. I had read it about a year ago and as a retired therapist, was fascinated with analyzing her character. Not many finished it. In fact, reading it for the second time in a year, I only got to p 267 of the 575 pages. All agreed she was a gifted and magnetic character, an enlightened autocrat, and a very very complicated woman who found complicated ways of getting her needs met. Catherine declared herself monarch and went on to lead Russia with an iron hand. She bore three children, all by different lovers. It was Voltaire who first named her Catherine the Great but she wrote she preferred Catherine II and begged to be called that.
Naturally we ignored the "Questions for Discussion" at the end of the book and instead talked about ourselves and our own names. Curiously there is another Bonnie in the group, besides myself. I explained that I was named by my father for a folk song, Bonnie Eloise, the Belle of the Mohawk Vale. Except for being teased in childhood by the song My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, I have always enjoyed my name. Likewise the other Bonnie in the group (full name Bonnie Marie) liked her name, however she was once a novice nun and the sisters felt Bonnie was a seductive or trashy name and made her change it to a male saint's name. That is until a time later when she pointed out that Bonnie meant pretty or good and that Marie was the same as Mary, hence her name meant blessed good Mary, and they allowed her to change it back. Amusing to us all.
I just checked my back garden and note that my purchase two months ago of a dry root Ingrid Bergman rose is showing teeny tiny buds on its six inch stalks. So different than the giant deep red Ingrid in the middle of my Cathy Lane rose garden. I could hardly contain its enthusiasm. I guess I'm pleased this one survived the cold. Come on, Ingrid. Live up to your name.
PS This week marks my first six months at Oakmont. The old roses here aren't specimens but I pruned them almost to the ground in january