What’s in a name?

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson

This is my life and I’m going to live it. I never liked the middle ground, the most boring place in the world.
Louise Nevelson

I never liked my given name. I always thought it was out-of-date and dull. On paper it was often mistaken for Lousie or Lois or even Louis. Most of my adult life, people who meet me would be shocked that someone so youthful and modern was associated with some thing so old-fashioned as quiltmaking and with the name Louise.

As a child it was embarrassing to have the same name as the maid in Danny Thomas’s “Make Room for Daddy”. Things didn’t get any better with Louise Fletcher playing the very nasty inflexible Nurse Mildred Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

As a young adult, I discovered Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Louise Hays and her Hays Publishing House Self-Help Movement and the American Author, Louise Erdich but these had little impact on a deeply ingrained negative image. Then came the very discouraging movie Thelma and Louise where two friends end up driving off a cliff as the only answer to their life dilemmas.

Louise Bourgeois's TemperTantrum

Louise Bourgeois's TemperTantrum

Much later, I came to know and admire the works of Louise Nevelson and Louise Bourgeois who used their personal trials and tribulations to make truly great art. Most recently I discovered Louise Story, a young business reporter for The New York Times who appears very comfortable in her name.

After sixty decades, it feels okay to be a Louise-come-lately among the likes of Nevelson, Bourgeois and Story.



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