The Power of a Name

This morning on my way to work I am practicing my Spanish CD, talking to myself, looking goofy I’m sure.  Then all of the sudden this runner yells “Hey!”, so I stop and he ask “You’re Liesl?”  I have never seen this man before, I’m pretty confident I didn’t hit him while he was running so I am confused, but I answer him, “Yes, I’m Liesl.”  Then a huge grin breaks out on his face and he tells me “that’s cool, my sister’s name is Liesl”.  At this point I realize he saw my personalized license plate on the front of my car.  He informs me that her name also came from The Sound of Music.  So then we said our goodbyes and I continue my drive to work.

This is not the first time my name has been an attention getter with strangers.  I have met people from all over the world and I love hearing their “Liesl” stories.  One that sticks out the most is when I was around 19 and working at Goldsmith’s, one of the ladies that worked with the cleaning crew was vacuuming and she noticed my name tag.  She doesn’t speak very English, but we exchange smiles every morning we see one another, so I didn’t know why she was stopping me that morning.  She ask if that was correct and my name was Liesl.  I smile and shake my head yes.  Tears started to collect in her eyes.  She hugs me and tells me that’s her name.  Her name tag says Elizabeth.  She explains to me that her Mom called her Liesl and in her country, Hungary, Liesl is a common nickname for Elizabeth.  That morning I saw her face light up as she was telling me about her Mom and her childhood in Hungary.

Wonder if my parents knew back in 1980 all the attention “Liesl” the name would get?  At one point during my childhood I wanted to change my name, because no one could say it or spell it correctly and it irritated me.  Now I feel like I have grown into it and it fits me perfectly.


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