”A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet.”

Veronica, an unusual name, one I hadn’t heard for years. With the name came a thought followed by an image.

If my parents had named me Veronica, would I have become tall, thin and sexy with dark brown, wavy hair that I would flip with a simple toss of my head?

After thinking about it for a while, it dawned on me that perhaps that image came from Veronica Lake, a movie star from the 40s, which I don’t remember ever seeing her in a movie. However, the black-and-white head shot I found showed her as a blond and with a smile that could be termed provocative.

My name is not something I often think about. I changed my last name some 60 years ago and am not interested in doing it again. However, there is something to be said about a having name that projects a certain image.

Would I be the same person if my name was Veronica instead of Joyce? Would people see me differently? Would I have accomplished more as a Veronica than as a Joyce? Would I have written a novel or two had I been given a different name? Had I been Veronica could I have been in a movie with Alan Ladd?

Had Veronica Lake not changed her name from Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, would she still have been called a femme fatale?

I looked up the meaning of the name Veronica: “saintly, sensual and strong.” Not exactly the attributes necessary to write the great American novel, but not bad, either. I could live with that.

I looked up the meaning of the name “Joyce.” A short definition used the term “medieval,” which is kind of cool, then went on to say derive from a Latinized form of the Breyton name Judoc meaning Lord.

The actual definition was much longer but used words that even my thesaurus didn’t understand much less me or my spellcheck.

An even shorter version said it may or may not be a lengthening of “Joy” while another source defined it as possibly Irish, which is something I could use every St. Patrick’s Day.

The possible source of my name gives me something to think about, but it has a long way to compete with Veronica. Just the term sensuous alone is not in my DNA.

Had my name been Veronica, I doubt that I would have resembled Veronica Lake in any way.

She was a little thing, not even five feet tall. I am much taller, plus my hair is short and gray. I did have a part in my high school senior class play.

So, while a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, not always.


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