My Last Name
Let me tell you the story of why I've always been "Lori Knutson" even though I’ve had chances to adopt other names.
I grew up in northern Alberta near the Peace River. To travel anywhere south, we had the pleasure of driving through those river hills, right past Dunvegan Park and over the muted-yellow suspension bridge that majestically spans the Mighty Peace.
But for me, entering those gentle river hills meant one of two things depending on the direction in which we were traveling. Heading south meant adventure. Heading north meant heading home after the adventure. Each direction touched my heart. Driving south excited my heart while driving north soothed it.
One afternoon, our family drove south through those hills, and anticipation made me think new thoughts. I remember that I was nine years old. It's strange, though. I remember many pivotal experiences happening when I was nine. Some of these must've occurred before or after, and yet, it's nine years old that I recall.
I remember sitting in the backseat, thinking. Finally, I leaned forward between the seats and commented to my parents in the front, "Isn't it great that you two met each other, and you both had the same last name?"
What were the chances? You're a Knutson, I'm a Knutson. Let's get married! I was so pleased to arrive at this realization all on my own. This proud feeling didn’t last long.
Mom chuckled. "My name wasn't Knutson when I met your father." Dad chimed in, "She was a Hobden."
My jaw dropped. "A Hobden? Like Grandma and Grandpa?"
This was news. I’d never made the connection. A dark suspicion crept into my mind, and I asked my mom, "So what happened to your name?"
"I changed it when I married your dad."
Holy crow! What? You've got to be kidding me! Isn't your name who you are? Wasn't Mom devastated to lose that part of herself? What other injustices existed in the world that I didn't know about?
I could never bring myself to do it, but there are good reasons for taking another's name.
Some women have last names that they've been teased about all their lives and that they can't wait to unload. Others want to have children and for their family unit to share one name, typically dad's. There's also tradition and romance as reasons. I respect the choices people make in changing their names.
But I will always be Lori Knutson named after (no kidding) my cousin Laurie Knutson. No matter where it came from, it's my name and I like it.