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.