Monday, June 15, 2015

Names and letters

What’s in a name? What’s in even a single letter in a name? I’ve been pondering these questions in some weird ways lately.

This morning when I addressed an envelope, I included my maiden name in the return address, I’m sure the first time I’ve used it since my last name changed so many years ago. I was so relieved to have a simple, easy to pronounce name that I never considered incorporating “Frey” into my official signature.

I was tired of having it spelled Frye, being pronounced “Fray” and being referred to as a “small fry.” The only problem I’ve ever encountered with “James” is having people assume it is my first name resulting being addressed as a mister instead of a mrs/ms, and that hasn’t happened very often.

So why this spontaneous use of Frey? I think it is because I suddenly feel closely connected to my past and my extended family having recently spent time at Fort Frey, a home in Palatine Bridge, New York, recently returned brought back into the family by a cousin, Jon Frey, who has strong feeling about history and family. The place was built in 1739 and was sold out of the family in the early 1950s. Jon and his wife, Gail, spend most weekends there and they welcome all family members who want to pay a visit.

Thank goodness, I’ve been thinking, that this cousin does not have an “h” in his first name.  Unlike the “Johns” who are my brother, another cousin and a second cousin. Those are the live ones. After reading some family history and visiting the tiny graveyard close by Fort Frey, I’m totally confused by the John Freys that appear generation after generation interspersed with a nearly equal number of Henrys—too much already!

The huge benefit of this visit last month is the connection that is forming as long-lost family members are beginning to communicate with each other. We’ve found that we have lots of catching up to do. I’d be very surprised if the independent-minded members of this group ever actually committed to getting together for a reunion, but who knows?

I never thought I’d use my Frey name ever again and today I did. 

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