30 May 2013

When You Find Your Name

Many moons ago, I worked part-time at a small community center. During one of the events, as I sat at the front desk, an older woman took a break from the noise of her party and sat in the lobby with me. After several minutes of silence and staring at the snack machine, she started talking to me.

She wanted to know my name and who I was from home and if I was married…stuff like that. I told her that I had just gotten married a few weeks before. She asked me what I thought of married life thus far, and I answered with the first thing that popped into my head: It sure is tricky getting used to a new last name!

I think she was surprised and maybe a bit entertained by the answer, and she promptly told me to imagine what it would be like when I turn as old as her and have spent more of my life with my married name than with my maiden.

I can’t imagine!

To date, I’ve spent 79% of my life with my maiden name and 21% of my life with my married name. Interesting.

The farther I get from using my maiden name, the more foreign it sounds to me.

And then my sister found this interesting link for a location in Paris that boasts our name.

I know from research that my paternal grandma has shared that my father’s heritage is approximately 98% German and 2% French: vielen dank and s’il vous plait passer le pain.

So I suppose it is no surprise that my old name is floating out there in Paris somewhere. But how fancy? I think of my old name as more of a pasture next to a butcher’s shop name; not a streets of Paris, France name.

And did you click the link and look at the picture yet?

I definitely don’t ever anticipate any old name of mine sharing space with a POOL, for cellulite’s sake!

So, Piscine Molitor. It’s a swimming pool. A fancy one.

Not a stock tank. Not a dirty river. But an actual location for family fun, clear and clean and beautiful, built in the thirties. As I scroll through the pictures on the memorial website, I can’t shake the odd feeling of seeing our name on the outside of this building.

Is it us? Am I from them? Or is it totally unrelated?

Did those specific Molitors multiply and marry and scatter and travel and land in my backyard? It’s a daunting thought.

It WAS an absolute bathing mecca, with piles of changing rooms and striped umbrellas. At first, there was no roof. And then a roof was added. A covered, indoor pool.

Just like at The Holiday Inn.

They even ice skated on it. I don’t guess I have to mention that’s yet another sport that I’ve never tried. Are you kidding? To be broken, sprained, AND cold, all at the same time?

Je vais passer.

There’s even a picture of two athletes in Molitor-emblazoned uniforms, standing in the water.

(And if you’re wondering why on Earth I’ve got pictures of me and my boyfriend on here instead of the pool and the people, it’s because I have no idea how to post pictures that I don’t own without getting in trouble. So instead of historically accurate pictures, you get B and me in front of the old schoolhouse where we met as babies.)

I mean, get outta here. I can’t even walk through the sporting goods section in Academy without getting a heat rash.

But there they are, hanging in the pool, competing, being strong, and strutting around the glamorous pavers.

I think I’d like to go there. To see it firsthand and to stand in front of it and have my picture made. I realize it doesn’t look the same as it did then, but I’m a sucker for this sort of thing. What if I end up standing exactly where some great great great great relative stood, right before they opened the doors to the public for the first time? What if some of the swimmers – ATHLETES – were Molitors, too? And what if they were any good?

That might mean that I can do more than I think. That might mean it’s in my bones…I just don’t know it. That might mean that I’ve shunned a sport – a legacy – all because I don’t look good in a Band Aid-sized slip of stretchy material.

Or, it could just mean that my relatives were mad-skilled in business and knew opening a pool would be a really good idea when Paris got hit with its next heat wave.

Either way….


  1. This was such a cute and interesting post.I think it is fun to research our relatives and learn more about them. The pictures of you two are just adorable!!

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words! :)