Yes, I’m Tall


My kids seem to channel James Lawrence at least once a day

It took me almost a year to change my name when I got married. I held off as long as I could. Too much of a hassle. DMV and Social Security office lines way too long, I argued.

My husband was patient. He knows I come from a long line of stubborn people – maybe even more stubborn than his family tree – but probably not. What my family gives in stubbornness, his family gives back in never giving up…(you’ll see in a bit just what I mean).

For me, though, it was more than just a name change. It was retiring a name and livelihood that I had spent 30 years carving out for myself.

I have never been the sure thing. I’ve always been the small one, the unlikeliest, the underdog. Giving up my maiden name for my married one was tough. It felt like I had to surrender my fight.

Initially, I thought maybe I would hyphenate. Maybe I wouldn’t change it at all. Maybe I would use my maiden name as my middle name. Eventually, I just took the red pill and jumped in with two feet. I’ve now been married ten years and have discovered so many really cool things about being a Tallman.

For one, every single person asks me to spell it whether on the phone or in person. They say “Paulman?” or “Thompson?” or “Tomlin?”

Taking cues from the many Tallman’s who have gone before me, I say “no. It’s Tallman. Like a tall man.”

Then I wait for it as it comes as sure as the tide “Oh. So, are you, like, tall?”

I say “Yes, I’m tall.

Then they say (you guessed it) “Good thing you are tall. Good thing you aren’t named ‘Shortman.'” I feign laughter.

But this happens all the time.

No, like this happens every single time I give my last name. I’ve grown to like it.

I’ve also grown to like – wait, love – the way this family is connected. Not only us and the ones in my immediate family, but it has been said that if you know of someone with the last name of Tallman, you are most likely related (well, my husband and kids are). You know that saying “don’t give up the ship” by James Lawrence? He was the commanding officer of the USS Chesapeake during the War of 1812. Those were his famous dying words. His mom? A Tallman.

You know that big tall President who wore a big hat to keep his notes straight? Check this out:

“President Lincoln’s great-grandfather John Lincoln had a sister Anne, who married William Tallman. These families, along with the Boones and Bryans (the wife of Daniel Boone was Rebecca Bryan) lived in the Lincoln Creek area of Rockingham County, Virginia, in the mid to late 1700s. Anne Lincoln Tallman’s son Benjamin married Dinah Boone, first cousin of Daniel.” (source: wikipedia).

Not a direct relation, but way cool – and that isn’t the only president on the family tree. Think my kids have a lot of fight in them? You betcha.

What took months to accept has become a part of my life and a part of my children’s history. Now, it’s going to be a part of my writing history.


Categories: All The Rest

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