sarah [nothing] mccartney
Our family is divided. My dad and I didn’t have middle names. My mother and my sister do.
“We nearly called you Sarah Jane,” my mother told me once, “But then we didn’t.” Jane would have been fine. My sister is Ruth Louise, a name only used when she was naughty. Often. I was rarely naughty, perhaps because I didn’t have a name for the occasion.
Here’s the thing. My mother’s father, Leonard Aitken Hall Bain, was a first aid man at a steel works, but believed that he was middle class. My father’s dad, Alexander McCartney, was a crane driver at a chemical factory and knew he was working class. He had whippets. Middle names are for people who can afford them. So my mother’s family were all given them. With me, my dad won the argument. Later on, with Ruth, he lost.
My great Aunt Pera, Leonard’s younger step-sister, didn’t have a middle name so she awarded herself one. On her passport it said Pera Jacqueline Bain. She chose it because she liked it. In the tradition of the family’s dotty aunts, I think I’ll have one of my own. Suggestions appreciated.