Community Magazine

A Story of My Name

By Tracyrosen @tracyrosen

Let me tell you a story…

When I was 5 years old I changed my name to Harmonica Goldfish. The motivation behind that is still a bit unclear but the context was that my family had just moved to Manhattan and I spontaneously told the new children I met at the park in front of our apartment building that my name was Harmonica Goldfish.

Once the laughter subsided as children started knocking on our door asking for Harmonica Goldfish, my mother convinced me I should change my name to Patricia instead, since that was actually (and still is actually) my full name. That my new teachers would call me that but may not call me Harmonica Goldfish. I accepted that and was known as Patricia when I started school.

Most people call me Tracy now so sometime between 1973 and now I reverted back to Tracy. I imagine things gradually shifted back towards Tracy during the year…or at least when we moved back to Montreal the following year, when the reason for our year in New York – my father’s fellowship with Cornell University – had come to an end.

At one point in my 30s I worked at a school where everyone called me Patricia for about 5 years. Don’t quite remember how that happened. Towards the end of that same period I began and completed a Masters program, where people called me Patricia. Gradually, by the end of the 2-year program, I think I began to be known as Tracy again.

This little story of my changing name makes me think of the line, “no matter where you go, there you are.” I could try to mark a new start somewhere with the changing of a name but when it comes down to it, I am Tracy. I am me. And with that comes all of the qualities that brought me to where I am now – mainly a strong desire to create hope for the future through education. A tenacity when it comes to an idea that I believe fosters that hope.

I’m good with that.


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