My name is Maureen Catherine. My close friends call me “Mo.” My mother wanted my middle name to be spelled “Kathryn.” But that’s not how Catholics spelled it in those days. The woman at Town Hall told her so. Bully. My father wanted me to be “Dawn Marie.” I’m glad he didn’t get what he wanted. I do not look like a Dawn. And with the way I am with songs, every time someone said my name, Tanya Tucker would be popping up in there. Every time. I just know it. The other day at work someone yelled, “COME ON EILEEN!” Not good. Especially since that is probably one of my least favorite songs ever. Just so you know, it’s still rattling around in my brain. But I digress.
When I was a kid, I must have asked my mother what my name meant. Which is really weird for me. Because I was a simple child. I didn’t think much. Seriously. I’m not hating on myself. I just was not known for my thinking skills. I’ll give you an example: When asked on a test if I was Male or Female, I didn’t know the answer. I figured I had a 50/50 shot at getting it right so I guessed. Of course, I guessed incorrectly. Which happens to be the story of my life (you know, guess the wrong answer, get in the wrong line at the grocery store…). Unless I had grown a penis overnight, I was female (and still am, I swear). I was about 7 when I took that test. And that statement about me figuring I had a 50/50 shot? That’s not true. I just took a stab at it and failed. Accompanied by a mini anxiety attack. I can still see my 7-year-old self totally freaking out because I hadn’t the foggiest idea what the hell that meant.
Another time, while standing in line at the school cafeteria, a girl asked me what my nationality was. I looked oddly at her for a second and then I just turned around and completely ignored her. Yes. I ignored her. Just like that. Turned my back in the hopes that she would go away. It worked. I couldn’t even remember the word to ask my mom when I got home. But when it came up later in life, I had one of those “aha” moments Oprah is always talking about. Sorry to the girl who was probably trying to be my friend. I’m Irish. And for the record, you are a show-off.
I loved “Little House” so much that I asked for a prairie dress for my birthday. This beauty touched my toes. I’m sorry you can’t get the whole effect. You’re missing out.
Anyway, my mother, or someone, said my name meant “Mary.” I was thrilled at this news. I knew that Mary was Jesus’ mother. I also knew that Mary was my favorite character (other than Charles for reasons I do not need to explain) on Little House on the Prairie. When I went to school the next day, I wrote my new name on every single assignment. Because I figured if that’s what it meant, then I had a right. Besides it took less time and energy to write it out. My teacher was not empathetic. And gave me an “F” on all my assignments that day. That was the beginning and end of Mary. It turns out my name doesn’t mean Mary at all. It means “bitter.” Hmm.
I was born in New Jersey to an Army father and housewife mother. We moved all over the country and even lived in Germany for a few years. I never went to college, but attended a trade school where I honed my typing and shorthand skills. Skills that are falling by the wayside because I can’t find a damn job but that is a story for another time (or did I already write about that once or twice? Yes, I am Bitter. I’m allowed. That’s my name after all). I met DH when I was 19. We married when I was 25 and we settled in Connecticut. We have one child. My life is full of excitement and adventure. Have you seen that new show “Naked and Alone?” Yeah, well, I did something like that once. Except I was wearing clothes and I was in my backyard.
So, that’s it. Are you amazed? I know. Try to contain yourself. I’ve been trying to get TLC to do a reality TV show on me, but they refuse. I don’t understand. I could be a big money maker for them. Big. Their loss. They’ll be sorry when NBC comes knocking on my door. Until then, you can find me hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. Just kidding. I’ll be on my couch. watching reruns of Friends. I’m so glad Ross and Rachel ended up together. Aren’t you?