Out of My Cucurbitaceae

Though most days still remain warm and most trees still retain leaves, autumn is in full bloom, meaning gourds of every variety, both edible and decorative, are everywhere.

It makes me think about a time in the past, when the ex-man wanted to assign to me a pet name.  He didn’t go for the generic endearments like “darling” or “sweetheart” or “love”.  No, he wanted something distinctive and he decided upon “Pumpkin”, or “Pump” for short.

Pumpkin Lady imagePumpkins, as you know, are the large round orange things symbolic of the scary season.

This designation, it made some kind of sense, but also it made me to cry.

Always obsessed with the padding around my middle and lately sensitive to the rosacea tint of my skin, it was true enough that I resembled a pumpkin.  Or perhaps more accurately, a pomegranate.

Even so, I didn’t care to be reminded and discouraged the label.

Snoop Dogg photoSo his next choice was “Snoop”, presumably in reference to my large proboscis.  He’d had his own nose resculpted long before our attachment.

But now it was the 90s, the heyday of “Snoop Dogg”, a gangsta rappa known for his violent and misogynistic lyrics.  Oh yeah, and his pit bulls.  And who could forget his murder trial?  Needless to say, I protested this moniker as well.

To be fair, I was wary of nicknames.  We weren’t allowed affectionate names — or even affection — growing up.  Should a friend call and ask to speak with “Jackie”, my mother would snarl, “her name is JACLYN”.  She herself called me “Madame Schmutz”, but this was meant to humiliate, along with “Slobby Slob” and “Piggy Pig”.

Finally, the ex-man seemed to settle on “Jac” which I did like then and still like now.  My mother’s father Jacob, for whom I am named, went by Jack, as did my own father, Yankel Yussel.

© 2014 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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