What’s In A Name?

Emma Mann Vance

We’re so beyond thrilled to finally meet Emma Vance! Thank you, everyone, for putting up with our keeping the name a surprise. Now that it’s official, here’s the background…

My maternal grandmother’s married name is Mrs. Emma Vance, and she’s played a really important role in my life–and even a bit in Ryan’s.  She’s got an awesome life story: immigrant parents straight from Hungary, family life as the proverbial middle child, a nurse who met my grandfather (a Navy man) in Times Square and married him secretly at 19 while still in nursing school (big no-no back then). In fact, she tells the story rivetingly, a chance meeting at the Pepsi Cola Canteen, a no-frills “wedding” in Brooklyn by a judge, and literally sneaking INTO her dormitory after the “ceremony” and celebrating…all very “A League of Their Own” sounding.

My grandmother’s an amazing woman, and we will be so happy if our daughter turns out like her. She’s young at heart and is full of wisdom, evidenced by the fact that she’s now in her mid-80’s and is STILL a nurse at a hospital in Orlando. (She’s one of the longest-standing employees there and manages to keep up with the young folks!)  Despite being a working woman all her life, she also has a keen domestic streak for balance, and as a result, she is notorious for making the best cookies around and her knitting skills are well-earned. Plus, she’s one tough, independent lady–no one was ever allowed to mow her lawn but herself (even when my grandfather was alive she did it), and her garden and house are impeccable because she never rests. In fact, when Ryan was a film student in Orlando, a terrible hurricane came through and wrecked the city.  Living only a mile or two down the road from my grandmother, he immediately went to check on her, only to find her on the charcoal grill, feeding the neighborhood until the electricity came back! Seriously, she’s an admirable lady and we love her.

My grandmother had only one child, and so we’re excited to be carrying on her legacy through her new great-granddaughter. We chose her married name to honor my grandfather, who loved me more than I could have ever asked for. Although he never got to pass his family name down through a boy, we wanted to ensure that his memory would live on.

So her official first-and-middle name is “Emma Vance,” and we’ll be calling her by that double name or by “E.V.”  I like that she has a little bit of leeway to decide herself what she prefers; we figure if she turns out to be super-Southern and girlie, “Emma Vance” will suite her just fine. If she’s indie or a tomboy, “E.V.” fits perfectly.  For now, we’re just going to call her whatever comes out naturally at the time.

On our wedding day almost SEVEN years ago, I was married with my grandmother’s ring, just like my mother was.

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