GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

May 13, 2013

Groom is under pressure to change his name

:Dear Abby: My wife’s niece is marrying a wonderful man of Greek descent this summer. Her grandfather insists that his last name is too long and impossible to pronounce. He thinks they need to change the name when they marry. He went so far as to make them call him so he could tell them what he wanted. Then he gave them 10 days to “think about it” and call him back with their answer.

He told the mother of the bride that if they don’t change the name, then he’s “just not into the wedding anymore,” implying that he won’t help them pay for the event. Needless to say, this has most of the family shaking their heads and thinking the old man has finally lost it.

We understand that this was common practice for families passing through Ellis Island coming to America a century ago, but have you ever heard of this being done for a wedding? Being a therapist, I thought I’d seen and heard it all — until now. Please give us some insight. I’m hoping his “ladyfriend” will read your reply and share it with him.

:Can’t Believe It Down South

:Dear Can’t Believe It: You have described a man who is used to being in control and is not above using his money to manipulate. A century ago when people came to this country through Ellis Island, many of them were escaping discrimination and wanted to leave their past behind them, which is why they Americanized their names.

Others had it done “for” them by government officials who couldn’t understand them when they pronounced their names and wrote down what they thought they heard. (Years ago, in Sioux City, Iowa, my mother knew two brothers who walked through different lines and wound up with the names “Ginsberg” and “Landsberg.” I don’t know which was correct.) Still others were so eager to become “Americans” that they shortened or changed their names for that reason.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle

Your news, your way
Pictures of the Week
Comments Tracker
AP Entertainment Videos
'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Uzo Aduba Says Emmy Nod Is 'Crazy' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up Mirren Not Thrilled to Play 'The Queen' on B'way The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Shawn Mendes Jumps From Vine to the Music Charts Cook Shifts Gears in 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' ShowBiz Minute: Stritch, Marvel, Beyonce ShowBiz Minute: Cole, JWoww, Box Office ShowBiz Minute: Garner, Backstreet, George 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Legendary Actor James Garner Dies 'Pageant' Star Nick Cearley on Show, Skivvies Roger Ebert Doc a Surprise Summer Hit First Lady Salutes Monae ShowBiz Minute: Cranston, Obama, Howard Kruger on Where 'The Bridge' Leads in Season 2