What's in a Name?
For 31 years of my life, I would introduce myself like this: “Lisa London, L-O-N-D-O-N, just like the city”. The name would roll off my tongue easily as I spelled it. To me, spelling it and relating it to a European city somehow made it a more prestigious surname than others. Everyone loved that name, “Lisa London”. I went through life with a name that was easy to remember, easy to spell, and had a cool ring to it. I remember saying it with such eloquence—even though I knew we were poor and had no money to step foot on land outside of the U.S.
Edna was the baby of eight children who grew up on a farm in Bakersfield, California. She referred to herself as the black sheep of the family; that reference came with stubbornness and very selective listening, which resulted in no education beyond high school, sophomore English. She rarely listened to anyone but herself, but this woman held herself in a position where if you didn’t know these facts about her, you might think she was someone of status. I didn’t feel that way about myself, but I did inherit Edna’s crafty ways of making it sound like we were something special.
Growing Up and My Birth Name
🎵 London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady. 🎵 This was the song that the elementary school boys would sing-shout at me as a taunt.
“I’m gonna kick you in the shin if you keep singing that stupid song to me”, I would say as I ran as fast as I could after them. When I’d catch up, I’d grab their cotton, K-mart t-shirt, stretch it as far as I could and sometimes throw them down to the ground. (I wasn’t mean. OK well, maybe it sounds like it, but in this case it was more of a flirting-type of behavior until puberty hit.) I was just as rough-and-tumble as they were. I kicked a lot of shins in my day. My guess is, because I was faster and tougher than some of the boys, those were the ones who would taunt me with that silly nursery rhyme.
Not My Birth Name, But Still Got Called It
But I also had a softer side, and got the name, “Cootie Kisser”. What’s a Cootie Kisser? I knew you were wondering.
Cootie Kisser: a boy or a girl who chases the opposite sex on the playground during recess. Once their prey is caught, they deliver a kiss, usually on the cheek. You know, to give them “cooties”. (Probably wouldn’t go over too well in the pandemic huh?!)
“Nah naaa nah nah naa nah, you can’t catch me” they would say. On many occasions, my girlfriends and I were on the flipside of the cootie catching. Yes, sometimes we would let ourselves get caught by the swings or the tether ball courts to receive a big smooch. We were particular with who we would let catch us, and I’m sure the boys were too. I remember some days I didn’t want to wash my cheek because I liked the boy who delivered.
Back to My Birth Name
Later in life, as an adult, Lisa London was referred to as a stage name. “Theater. On stage. Name in lights. Movie star. TV. Movies,” I thought, dreaming of all the possibilities in my head. “Wow! Maybe I could really be a hit just because of my name. Edna may have been on to something!”
Then, in typical form for those who allow their minds to go down this path, Lisa London sounded like a stripper name to some. Yep, a stripper name. A pole dancer. An exotic dancer. Whatever euphemism you want to use for a chick who takes off her clothes, dances on stage, and winds herself up, down, and all around a pole.
I actually thought it was funny. I may have been a cootie kisser, but I was never a stripper. I had the big hair for it and I loved to dance, but I never ended up on stage. Part of the reason may be because I had no boobs...ha!
Being Lisa London is a great memory, and I still cherish all that she stood for.
London’s Influence Today
I’ve never been to London, but would someday like to go. I’ve had friends who’ve visited that city across the pond and have graciously brought back trinkets with LONDON written across the front. A coin purse, a t-shirt, and a postcard—it’s the thought that counts right?
I must admit though, London fog and Jack the Ripper give London a bit of a negative vibe for me. You know I’m always one to try to find a silver lining...but rainy, foggy days and Jack the Ripper lurking in the alleys....
It’s not often that I get to relate this girlfriendships® blog with those other two. So where do the friends come into play in this blog, Lisa? Right here readers…keep reading.
I think about how I am going to get some of my friends together to plan a cool trip to visit a place that I have always dreamed of since I was a kid, listening to my mother build the name into something magical. (This will be a great test to see how many friends really read my blog—ha!) How do I plan time away from my responsibilities of home, family, my business, my foundation...oh, and throw in the state of affairs our world is in? (Did someone say “variant”?) Why travel? Why travel with girlfriends? These are all questions that we at My Girlfriendships try to answer for women like us.
Here’s the answer: because in a lifetime, we have to make the best of what we have. If we are lucky, blessed, and if the stars align for us to have wonderful other women in our lives to fulfill us, then one great way to sustain that friendship is by taking quality-time trips away with them.
I love that you were with me today. See you next week!
Lisa A.K.A Loopie