Your Name Your Story

Rita’s Story

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Here is a story in which family members argued over the name of their new child and the consequences…


We lived in the USSR. When I was born, my parents agreed to name me Rita. However, my father had an aunt named Adele who had passed away not long before. So, when he went to put my name on the birth certificate, he put Adele. He told my mother that the woman working there said “Rita” was not considered a name and so he couldn’t put it down, and put down “Adele” instead, but I’ll never know the true story. Even though my name was Adele officially, my mother always called me Rita, after her Grandmother Reisija, and I didn’t know that I was really Adele until I was about seven years old. On the first day of school, the teacher called my name, Adele, but I didn’t know she was calling on me. She called it three times, got no response, and got very angry. Finally she called my last name and I responded. “What, you don’t know your own name?” she asked me. When I got home that day I asked my mother about it and she told me what had happened. I have never used the name “Adele,” and when I got to the US I changed my name officially to Rita and made Adele my middle name.

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