Theatre and book reviews by Janice Dempsey
I decided to write about my name, and realised that I wasn't sure what name is really mine. My surname now is not the one I was born with, though I took it on some thirty-three years ago. I suppose it's not my legal name now that I am divorced - though all my documents carry it.
I began to think about the way that women lose the use of their family names when they marry, because of course the family name in Britain is generally taken as the male line's name. I researched the meanings of all the names I knew in my family's history and found I knew more about my mother's family names, because she talked about them, than my father's family name, which was taken for granted. My maiden name was Watkinson, and I began by finding out the history of that name, then went on to find out about my mother's family names. Here is the poem.