No Middle Name, Mom, Dad and History

No Middle Name

By Mike Bossy

Jack Reacher, a character created by Lee Childs, is one of my favourites. “No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories” is a collection that explores more about Reacher’s character. As the author describes him, he has “No suitcase. No destination. No middle name. No matter how far Reacher travels off the beaten path, trouble always finds him. Feel bad for trouble.” It is the no middle name part that ties into my thinking today.

I was assisting my mom and dad in the sale of their house. While completing the legal documents, I needed to confirm their middle names. I asked, “Dad, what’s your middle name?” My dad’s response was, “Mitchell, no, Maurice, it might be Michael”. Wow! He didn’t know for certain. I then asked my dad to get his birth certificate. He gave it to me, and I said, “Guess what Dad, you have no middle name.” My dad’s response, “Oh well.

It was then my mom’s turn, “Mom, what’s your middle name?” My mom did some thinking and said “It’s Madelyne, no Virginia. Maybe I better get my birth certificate.” “Well guess what mom, you have no middle name either. On top of that you have been spelling your first name wrong.” We all had a good laugh.

I did some further inspection of her birth certificate. “Mom, it says here that you were born in North Walsingham. Were you born in a house?” She then went on to explain that somebody or somebodies had burned down my great grandfather’s store because of our religious beliefs and we were labeled “foreigners.” Interesting.

Here is the lesson I learned. While you can, talk to your parents and grandparents and ask them questions. Why did you do this? What were you thinking? What was going on when you made that decision? The questions should be endless. The second part of the lesson is to write the answers down. Anthony Robbins says (or at least I think it was he), “If life is worth living it’s worth writing about.”

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