Apparently it was quite the challenge to successfully name a seven pound baby girl in June of 1961. After months of debate, my parents had finally reached consensus on a moniker for their first born child, only to see that name arrive in the daily mail, engraved in silver on the pink card announcing the birth of the anxiously awaited niece. Tradition and superstition dictated that cousins in the family not wear the same label, so back to the drawing board it was for my parents. In that age before ultrasound, it was, of course, imperative to have a ready name for each gender. The male name, Mark Alan, was safe and would remain so for nearly three years, until the birth of my younger brother.
Agreement was difficult to reach ... a joyful much anticipated event overshadowed by the tug of war between Tamara and Teresa, Lynn and Gayle. Calm conversations, heated debates, stony silences, playful back and forth - all paved the way to the string of letters the world would know as me. The dilemma filled countless hours, days, weeks ... becoming the rhythm of the waiting. A compromise was finally reached. Mother would choose the first name and my father would choose the middle name. My mother now jokes that she should have chosen both names; after all, my last name would be my father's by default.
And so it is that today, forty seven years and thousands of miles from that small Tennessee town, I am Teresa Gayle.