I was just upstairs with Matt as he was reading the paper and spotted someone with the surname Erickson. “You have relatives in Australia, sweets!” he told me, continuing with “It’s even spelled your way!”
This is rare – Erickson, as a surname, is probably not the most uncommon you will hear. However oftentime it’s spelled Ericcson, Ericsson or Erikson, deriving from – you guessed it – Eric/k’s Son in the good ol’ days.
I went on to tell Matt, though, that this isn’t actually my blood surname, even though I have some of the physical traits associated with Scandinavian surnames, such as Erickson. Because my paternal grandfather was adopted by his stepfather, we acquired the name Erickson. In actuality, the surname in our family is only a few generations old and not likely to continue past myself and my cousins since none of us are poppin’ out baby boys (unless, of course, my dad’s cousin’s daughters have kids that keep the Erickson name alive) and bucking the tradition of giving them their dad’s surname.
In fact, I should be a Meyers. My paternal grandfather was born Charles R Meyers, and my great-grandfather was Charles H Meyers. While I’m still digging into my ancestry online, what came to my mind when I was talking to Matt was this:
How much of my life has been inadvertently decided for me because of my last name? In grade school, we were often seated or organized alphabetically, so I got to know the Ds, Es, Fs and Gs around me (including the infamous R. Gladstone who drove me bonkers for many years; may he rest in peace). Did I befriend these people because they were close? Would I have had a completely different set of friends/acquaintances if my grandfather had never adopted his step-father’s name?
This may seem like a random subject, but it has made me think about how life could have turned out differently with an alternate name. Would my first name still be Joslyn – does it work as well with Meyers? Would I have the same middle name? Would I have gone through the world as a Chelsea or a Mackenzie or a Tina? Do names influence personalities, character traits, preferences? Would I have travelled? Would I still have felt a bond with Mika, Alaya, Raihana and others with similarly unique names?
Am I the person I am today because of my last name?
Such a big thought from a small comment.
Let me know what you think! Much love and many hugs,
Joslyn Mariah Erickson