Friday, February 17, 2006

Why Meemer

Obviously it is not my real name. What parent would curse their child so? I hate to admit it, but when I was in 5th grade, I hated my real name. Was it really so bad? To a fifth grader, who wanted to be Jennifer, or Tiffany, or Alexis it was horrid.

My family moved to a new place when I was almost 9 years old. My dad got a promotion at work that required him to leave our quaint little town, and head on to the big city. It was not cool for me. I didn't want to leave my friends, or my small town. I wasn't popular, or smart, but I had friends that had been friends since I was a baby.

We started our new life in a rented house. My room was disgusting. It smelled like pee. Only because the previous tenant had peed in the heat vent. It was winter when we moved in, and every time the heat turned on, it reeked of urine.

I went to a crummy elementary school where I was miles ahead of everybody else. Not that I was smarter, I had just done it all before. I was in 4th grade that year. To make matters worse, the teacher quit only a few weeks after I joined the new class. She left because she couldn't handle the class anymore. She quit for her own sanity. It was a horrible class. A substitute teacher joined us for the rest of the year. She ruled with an iron fist. I liked that. I was ostracized. I was "smarter", and a teachers pet. Thankfully our family moved once again, during the summer. I never had to go back to that horrid school.

We moved into a wealthy neighborhood. My parents were not wealthy. In fact they had been going through bankruptcy for failure to sell the old house 6 months ago. They were able to purchase the new house because it was bank owned. It was a wreck of a house, but I loved it. It sat on a huge lot, with an old decrepit barn, and a field. What a glorious thing to a 9 year old. A field with bugs and mice. My parents immediately went to work cleaning up the place. They pulled bushes and carpet. They did what they could. My mom had a dream house, and this wasn't it. I can't imagine how hard it was for them to start over.

Enter 5th grade. Because I had done so well at the previous school, I was put into a "special class". It was one of those combined classes for the smart kids. I did really well, but I was still a nerd. I was more than a nerd, I was shy, aloof and a nerd. I desperately wanted to make friends. I had made so very few.

There was a cool girl in the class. She was outgoing and funny. She was cool. She could talk to the boys with no problem. She was athletic and cute. She did that cool 80's thing with her hair. I really wanted to be like her. She had talked to me a couple of times. She was so cool. She didn't know how to say my name. I was so not cool. So one day, I was messing around saying non-sensicle things to a girl next to me in line, getting ready to go the cafeteria for lunch. I said "call me meemer". She looked at me as if I had socks for ears. She was a really nice person, so she said okay. Cool. That was it. It was a cool nickname. People could say it, and now I was almost cool.

I got to be friends with that cool outgoing girl. In fact I became a better me because of her. She taught me to live a little. To take risks. She introduced me to "breaking rules". She showed me a lot about myself. She also took me to church. I was baptized when I was 8, but since my parents had moved, we hadn't been. She gave me another family. We got into trouble. We dated the same guys. We had a blast. I will be forever gratefully for her influence on me.

I had that name all throughout high school. I had teachers who called me by meemer. Only my closest friend even knew my "real" name. Meemer was it.

As for my friend, the one who influenced my life, more than she realizes, we hardly ever talk. We have grown apart. I went over to her apartment the other day. I wanted to see her new baby girl. It was nice to see her, and to relive some crazy times from our youth. I haven't heard from her since.

I finally dropped the name when I got to college, where I did theatre. I always said that if I made it big, I would use meemer as a stage name. So here I am. Life is a stage right?

So now you know.

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