Oh, you’re one of THOSE

flying, Boston, in the airWhile driving to the airport two weeks ago, I had a horrible thought.

What name did my son use to authorize me to pick up my 12-year-old CA grandson from the Boston airport?

“Sky” had never flown on his own. But he couldn’t wait for the taste of independence (and full attention from doting grandparents) by flying across country to visit us for a week.

Our son, the nervous father, decided to allow Sky that freedom, although he also paid the (exorbitant) extra fee for flight attendant supervision getting on the plane and then checking ID from the authorized person at the gate once the plane arrived.

I was the authorized person . Me. The grandmother. Pamela S Wight. But suddenly on our way to pick up Sky, I had a sinking feeling.

I kept my name when I married. My guy has a delightful last name, and our children share it, but I had/have a delightful last name too and never understood why I needed to change it because of wedding vows.

I texted our son quickly. “What name did you use for the authorization to pick up Sky?”

He replied, “Yours.”

“What exact name?”

“Pam C___________a.”

Hell’s Bell’s. He used my guy’s last name. And his last name, but not my last name.

I texted again. “My driver’s license is my real name: Pamela S. Wight.”

Son: “Grrrrr.”

By the time we reached the airport, son had called United and tried to explain the change in names on the authorization form. It was too late, but the agent “added a note to the on-line form.”

Not comforting.

My guy and I raced to the ticket counter. I explained in a high and lilting voice, “I’m here to pick up my grandson!”

“Grandson’s name?” The clerk began to type type type: type type type. “Your license,” he requested. I handed it to him. “Type type type: type type type.

I stood there, holding my breath. One two three ….ten eleven twelve. Just as I exhaled, a machine whirled and the agent handed me a ticket that gave me access through security and to the gate.


But then at Gate 24, where I watched Sky’s plane land and glide into its ramp, I approached the gate’s agent. Used my same excited voice about picking up my grandson.

“You’re at the right place,” the 50-ish man said to me. “Let me finish up the authorization.” Type type type. “Driver’s license please.” Type type type.

Then the agent stopped typing. He looked at the computer, looked at my driver’s license, looked at me. “This is not the same name as on the form.” The agent looked confused, but not worried. The Right Wrong Man, Twin Desires, Pamela S. Wight

Molly Finds Her Purr, Birds of Paradise, illustrated children's booksI leaned against the counter as if talking to my new best friend. “Look,” I said, “my son has known me for all 40 of his years. He’s known my name for those 40 years. He owns all five of my published books, which show my name in living color. And yet, he used my husband’s last name when filling out the form.”memoir, flash memoir, flash stories, Flashes of Life

Understanding brightened the agent’s face. “Oh, you’re one of those!” he said with a laugh.

One of those? What is one of those? I daren’t ask. I just smiled and agreed. I’m one of those.

He nodded and said, “Okay.”

As Sky walked through the tunnel and into the light of the airport, he saw me standing, arms out. “Grammy Pammy!” he shouted, racing in for a hug.

grandson love, Walden PondI gave the agent a smile and a wink. “I’m one of those,” I repeated.  

191 thoughts on “Oh, you’re one of THOSE

  1. Lovely story, and I learned a bit more about you! I hope your grandson is having a wonderful visit! ❤️
    I don’t think I felt pressured to take my husband’s name, and if I had published under my own birth last name, I would have kept it. But now I only have to spell my first name for people. 😀 Our younger child took her husband’s last name; our older child kept their own.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I’m surprised they even noticed. I once blew out of Boston on a driver’s license that had been expired for almost two months (it was when Massachusetts stopped notifying people, and I never looked), and no one said anything until I was coming back from Jacksonville.

    But that’s a great story!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I’m so happy you and your guy and your grandson have a whole week together! Anytime there’s a single thing out of place with airlines, it can be a huge hassle. Thank goodness the gate agent understood you’re ONE OF THOSE. It helps when the grandson can confirm your identity so adorably!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. What a great ending to this story. I can understand your concern. I love the agent’s commentary, politely casting shade. I do hope you had a chat with your son about what name to call you, besides Mom.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Waaay back when I made the decision to not change my name, Peta, it was a “BIG DEAL” and I got a lot of disapproving comments. But now fortunately women have an easier time of making that choice. I’ll admit, It ended up being a good “teaching moment” for all of our grandkids when we told them about the arrival excitement. ;-0

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m one of those too! My granddaughters (age 15) were here for the weekend. There was talk in the past about coming alone (they live across the country) but it didn’t happen. At this point, they have travelled quite a big and are better travelers than I am! Have a great time with your grandson.

    Liked by 6 people

      • They always visit with mom and maybe an aunt. They don’t have cousins on our side of the family. I was thinking about it today. Many people are choosing not to have kids. Out of 4 kids, only one of my husband’s had children. My niece also has 4 with only one reproducing and her granddaughter says she doesn’t intend to (she’s mid-30s so it’s likely set in stone). Grandkids will be a rare and valuable commodity soon!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I one of those other “other ones.” I married, took my husband’s name, and then kept it after we divorced. It had become my professional name, and it held the person I’d become better than my unmarried last name. Sometimes, it happens.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Fabulous grandson week, Patricia. And at 12, he tells us he goes to bed at 8:30 every evening so he can read for 45 minutes before he turns out the light. :-0 He is absolutely loving AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS.


  7. Oh, Pam, I was interrupted while I read this exciting story. And even though I knew a happy ending was in store, I wanted to see HOW you worded it–right away!

    I believe it’s a badge of honor to keep your maiden name (or whatever name you choose) as your professional name. In spire of complications you DID prevail.

    The story reminded me of a crazy Carol Burnett sketch with Tim Conway using delay tactics at the airline’s check-in counter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qspcQr-Y9_U&ab_channel=TheCarolBurnettShowOfficial

    I LOVE this story and I like the “Boston” headpiece. Surely we will hear more from you and Sky next episode. I’m so glad air travel is possible and hope to board a plane very SOON.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I just watched the entire You Tube episode with Tim Conway. Oh myyyyyy. I’m glad I didn’t bring a briefcase with me!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing a perfect airport-debacle video thanks to Burnett and gang. My best humor during the “real-life” episode at the airport didn’t occur until the happy ending. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this story on so many levels. Copied and kept the info on the writing arc. You tell a story so well, even if it’s true. 🙂 I’m smiling to my toes with this. I’ve been giving serious thought to changing my last name to the one I use on the blog. Marlene Herself. I’ve had to change my name too many times and as old age sets in, I forget what it is sometimes.. I always pause before I sign a check. 😉 Have an extra special week.

    Liked by 7 people

    • I must admit, I think Marlene Herself is an excellent name. 🙂 My hope is that women realize they have a choice on whether or not they change their name. Keeping one our entire lives (as men do) most makes sense to me. (You had me smiling when you wrote that you have to pause when you sign a check – “now what name am I?”) 🙂 To extra special you – HERSELF. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Woo hoo. I can read your posts if I’m in reader! What a fun post, Pam. My last name is also my original name, so I can relate to some of the “having to explain.” But when the grandchild runs into your arms… that says it all about who is who. Have a wonderful visit with your grandson. Hugs!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Wonderful story, complete with a happy ending!

    I’m ‘one of those’, too … which made things a bit complicated a number of years ago when my husband booked our flights out of Heathrow giving me his last name. The tickets of course did not match my passport. It was nothing short of a miracle that the airline was willing to invest the 3 hours it took to get the authorizations to change the tickets … and this is why I like to leave lots of wiggle-room in the timeline when travelling 🙄

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thanks for sharing your “airport almost-disaster last name” story, Joanne. Yikes, our guys have a bit of a passive-aggressive nature regarding our name independence. When my guy set up our e-mail accounts, he created my e-mail with HIS last name. I kept that e-mail for personal use but for professional, I added another e-mail account with my rightful name. Confusing? Yup, but as you say, worth the extra effort. P.S. Wiggle-room is the name of the game in traveling!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great story! I think “one of those” in this context means a grandparent who loves and is excited to see her grandchild. We run to this thing all the time because my wife hyphenated her name by adding mine to the end. I would never ask her to give up her name. We sometimes run into problems because sometimes she writes her name in different ways depending on the document. It frequently causes confusion but is a small price to pay.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Great share here, Pete. I almost did the same thing with hyphenating my name with my guy’s. But I expected him, then, to do the same: change his name by hyphenating his last name with mine. He balked and in fact was horrified at the idea. And I totally understood. Thus, we each kept the last name we were born with. That said, sometimes he does “forget” and use his last name for me in documents, etc, so we have run into the same “name challenges” as you and your wife. But in the end, we just chuckle and set it right.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. How wonderful that you’ll have this special time with Sky! And also it’s great to hear he traveled so independently. I must share this story with daughter-in-law, since she is also “one of those.” 🙂 I am certain you are going to enjoy every minute of time with your grandson. A grand adventure!

    Liked by 7 people

    • There’s a lot of “one of those” women out there but still confusing to many, unfortunately. I guess I didn’t do a great job explaining my name to my son while raising him. 😖 Fortunately he found the entire episode amusing. And Sky is now a feminist-leaning 12 year old. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. How sweet! A happy ending. I love the photo of your grandson. My youngest grandson is thirteen now. He seems so much older and bigger than he was a year ago.

    Liked by 7 people

    • 12 to 13 years is such a difference! My almost 13 year old granddaughter towered over this grandboy (her cousin). He was mortified. They’ll have to wait probably another 6 years for him to catch up. For us grandparents- that will come way too fast. 😏

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I LOVE this story! And of course, he paid for the VIP treatment for your grandson. I talk about that in my first Amanda book. As she is 12 and flying for the first time. I have had a couple of people comment that it was unrealistic for a 12-year-old to fly without a parent or adult. Well, my grandchildren did and I see yours has as well. Enjoy every minute!! Our grandson spent every summer with us from age 10 to 15. We have the best memories. xo

    Liked by 5 people

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  16. Love this, Pam. I’m actually “one of those” as well. After my divorce, I changed my surname back to Kelland, and told everyone I would never change it again. So legally it’s just Kelland, although as a blogger and author, I tacked on the Perry. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Pam, what a great story. I have done this several times picking up my niece and her girlfriend coming from Germany. One time they had a stopover and in Dallas and missed their flight to San Francisco. They were several other incidents. It was always nerve-racking.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Oh my gosh. If that had happened to me (with one of my grandkids getting stuck in a stopover and missing a flight) I would have stressed enough to have aged a year! ;-0 Nerve-wracking, YES. So glad to see you here. I just signed up for your (new) blog website, which looks terrific.


  18. Hi Pam, this is a fun story. I am glad you resolved the issue without any problems. When I got married in 2001, the South African government automatically changed my surname and issued me a new ID document. My work also automatically changed my name. This has changed subsequently.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. The thing my mother hated most about getting married was “losing her name”. The day after they separated my mother reverted immeeeeejately 😉
    Since 1976, we in Quebec are FORBIDDEN to take our husband’s name! How do you like them apples? If you really, really., REALLY want to, you can pay a lovely and hefty sum to have your name changed…
    So we are all “one of those” 😉
    Love that you were able to get things squared away!

    Liked by 6 people

  20. The first time flight for a 12-year-old is quite the adventure for everyone. The name issue does matter when travelling and especially when picking up a minor. “Grammy Pammy”……..racing in for a hug……….tears brimming……likely yours, and definitely mine with this lovely story. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh, I had to try and hide my tears when the 12-year-old grandson came racing toward me, Erica. Didn’t want to embarrass the boy first thing! Don’t worry, i found ways to embarrass him during his (fabulous) week’s stay. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  22. I loved this story! I changed my name in my first marriage, thinking I wouldn’t mind getting rid of the ethnic name, then went back to my own name and kept it for the second marriage. My son, stepson and husband all had the same name. My son got married recently and I asked if his wife changed her name. He said, “Neither of our mother’s did, so there was no question about it! She is still Dr. L——“. Enjoy your time with him!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! I’m so glad you shared this with me. I realize that I’ve written a number of blog posts and stories (even in my latest book) about names. I think the name we are born with and the name we choose is quite important to each of us individually. That said, i was disappointed (but quietly, of course) that both my daughter and my daughter-in-law chose to take their husband’s last names! Oh welllll. 🙂

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  23. Life is confusing when we dare to not change our name to our husband’s (back then) or … decide to keep his name when we split up, even though that was NOT what one did so many years ago. Yeah – let’s all be one of THOSE! Enjoy your visit!

    Liked by 2 people

    • SO true. One of the reasons my parents/sibling/friends disagreed with my choice of not changing my name was that it would be “too confusing” for people. “Well,” I replied, “it’s not confusing to me at all!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Okay, my eyes are actually stinging. Such a sweet ending! But, for reals, your son? Come on, man! Undue stress! Heehee. Glad it all worked out, even if you are “one of those.” Ha. I wish I had been one of those. Russell was so so so so much easier to pronounce than Kerekes! Every single radio interview has begun with the producer asking me how to pronounce my name. To the point where I’ve neeeeeaarly answered the phone with, “This is Betsy Kerekes. Again, that’s kare-uh-kiss.” I totally should next time.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I especially laughed at the mention of leaning on the counter as the new best friend;) It’s so true, we try everything when the airlines have the upper hand on us! “No, really, I’m the most amazing person you’ve met here today SO PLEASE HOLD MY CONNECTING FLIGHT FOR ME! It’s not my fault my first flight was delayed!” Trying everything also includes biting our tongues when an airline agent says something idiotic and rude (insert eye roll here)… Really loved this piece Pam:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t it interesting, Roy (never Kevin) that a little bit of kindness (and common sense) can make life so much more livable? Rule books are a help, but looking past the rules into a person’s “being” is better. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh wow, Pam! I love that “one of those.” I was afraid it might happen one day, so at one point, my name was a mile long with my maiden name which I used as my midden name, and my previous married name which associates with my daughter’s last name, and my current hyphenated married name. My driver’s license has all that except has the initial for my middle name which is my maiden name. It takes two lines to spell my name. When some people read it and only read the first line would ask me questions, so I had to say, continue to read the second line!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yikes. And think how simple it would be if we all just kept the name we were born with. ;-0 I know, many would disagree (like my daughter and DIL) but that’s okay. Just make sure your driver’s license is on you at all times, Miriam, and that as your daughter becomes an adult, she can remember your full name. 🙂 ❤

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