October 14th, 2008


LJ Idol: week 4 "Mistaken Identity"

There was, for most of my life, another me in the world. This is rather more literal than you might think. It all begins with a name.




My parents decided to name me Rebecca Ann because, as I’ve been told many times, it was the only girl’s name that they could agree on. Dad apparently wanted to name me Jessica, Mom wanted to name me Amber. I’m still not sure how Rebecca is the middle ground between those two, but they both liked it. 


So I became Rebecca Ann {mylastname}. When I was about a year old Mom took me to the pediatrician for a check up. I was supposed to be getting an immunization shot and that’s when things got strange. According to the state records I was three months old. Or someone else with my exact name was three months old. The office was able to track down my records quickly enough and I got the shot as planned. 


That was how we discovered that there was another Rebecca Ann {mylastname} in the world. It turns out that a second cousin* of my Dad’s had a daughter a little less than a year after I was born. They also liked the name Rebecca Ann, and didn’t realize, or didn’t care, that it had already been taken within the family. Thus, there were two of us.


(An aside: Apparently after Mom shared this story with Dad’s parents, my Grandma called the matriarch of the other branch of the family and chewed her out for not knowing there was already a Rebecca Ann {mylastname}. Grandma was horrified at their ignorance, and the confusion they had caused. I am hugely amused by that because Grandma was always so proper. I really wish someone would have thought to record her, it would have been fun to hear.)


The other Rebecca Ann {mylastname} lived on the opposite side of the state, and while we were close in age we were a grade level apart, so there weren’t very many opportunities for us to be confused for each other. I was aware that someone else with my** name was out there, but not in any specific way.




Then there was Google. You’ve done it, we’ve all done it. The day when you’re at your computer and a little bored and you decide to put your name into Google and see what comes up. The first several links were me***, the life I knew. And then there was the me who worked at a nursing home in Minnesota, and had been a swimmer in high school. It was still my name, but a completely different history. It was interesting, and a little scary. I wondered what life would be like if we traded. I wondered if the other Rebecca Ann {mylastname} ever Googled our name and looked at my life. I wondered if we’d ever meet, and what we could possibly say to each other.


But we never crossed paths. As adults we lived in different states, doing very different things. Other than the accident of our name, and a distant blood relationship, there wasn’t any connection between us. I never got her mail, or had her medical records pulled up instead of mine (again), and only my own ex-boyfriends ever tracked me down online. So mostly I forgot about the other Rebecca Ann {mylastname}. 




This summer I went home for a family reunion, the first I have been to in years and years. I was chatting with a few of my cousins and an uncle when Dad came over and said there was someone I had to meet. 

“Who?” I asked.

“The other Rebecca Ann.” Dad replied.


There we were in the same picnic area of the same park. She is a few inches shorter than me, and much blonder. She knew of me the same vague way I knew of her and we were both amused to finally be meeting each other.  We shook hands instead of hugging. We chatted for a few minutes but didn’t have much to say. It turns out that she got married a few years ago, and she took her husband’s last name. 




So I am once again the only Rebecca Ann {mylastname} in the world.****  Mostly this is a relief, it was a little odd having a doppelganger.


Though I always liked the idea of having a name-twin out there to blame in case I turned evil. Now I’ll have to come up with another way out of any predicaments I find myself in.



* Maybe? I tend to call everyone cousin because I have trouble sorting out the numbers and removed-s.

** I had it first after all.

*** That was true sixish years ago when I first tried it. It’s not even close to true now.

**** That I know of.



@@@This is my entry for week 4 of LJ Idol - the topic is “I think I thought you were someone else (mistaken identity)”.  I'll post a link to the poll on Friday once it is up.  Thank you for reading.@@@

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