A Peruvian Girl Named Mary

March 28, 2009

 When I was younger, I heard Johnny Cash sing a novelty song called “A boy named Sue.”

I don’t think Mary’s Peruvian father had a similar intent in naming her Mary instead of Maria.  She says he likes American movies, so he named her “Mary” because there were many Mary’s in American movies. He named one of her sisters “Vivian” because he liked Gone with the Wind(starring Vivian Leigh). Mary’s other sister has a Russian name I can’t spell.

 In the case of Mary, although her name did not make her combative it made her very polite and very firm. Whenever she meets someone, whether Hispanic or Anglo, and introduces herself as “Mary,” the person is likely to start calling her “Maria” (a more typical Hispanic name).

 Mary gently but persistently keeps reminding them her name is “Mary,” until they start calling her Mary.

 When she was in high school in Peru, her counselor told her, “You are very good at math. You should study to become an accountant because that is a good career for a woman who is good at math.

 Mary listened politely and thought, I don’t want to become an accountant. I want to become an engineer.

 She graduated from college in Peru with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Then she came to the United States, got a Master’s Degree in the same field, and then went to work for an American utility company. She recently became an American citizen.

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4 Responses to “A Peruvian Girl Named Mary”

  1. woo Says:

    Go Mary! 🙂

    My mother named me Trucie and used to say, whenever she was asked, which was frequently, that she made it up.

    THEN she decided she had known a Dutch girl who was a trainee nurse with her in the early 70’s whose name was Troosja and that she just anglicised it.

    Which is odd, given that I know several Dutch people and none of them have ever heard the name Troosja.

    So, my mother not only made my name up in English, she made it up in Dutch, too.

    And people think I’m exaggerating when I say she’s bonkers…

  2. modestypress Says:

    Names are pretty strange. My daughter attended a two-year international college on Vancouver Island in British Columbia in Canada and became good friends with a Finnish woman named Annina. They remain good friends to this day, and my daughter and her partner spent a week sailing the Finnish achipalegeo with Annina and her husband, who works for Nokia.

    In my last job, I met somebody named Annina. “Are you Finnish?” I asked.

    “No,” she told me. “My mother just liked the names Ann and Nina and put them together.”

    Perhaps we should make a list of the people whose parengts were not bonkers and call it the “short list.” My parents were bonkers and my wife’s parents were bonkers. My daughter’s parents are bonkers but our daughter is kindly and puts up with us.

    Random Granddaughter has so many parents and so many grandparents she can pick and choose until she finds a few who aren’t too bonkers.


  3. Annina and Nokia just go so well together that I lost track of what the comment thread is about. That’s euphony, right there … AnninaNokia, AnninaNokia. See?

  4. modestypress Says:

    Annina’s husband when I met him struck me as a pleasant and presentable gentleman. However, David, I am sure you zeroed in on the reason for their happy marriage. AnninaNokia, for sure.


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