What’s In a Name?: More Than Intended

I was born a Smith (along with all the originally pure people). However, at 28 years and as a newly minted attorney in Detroit, I discovered there were four other Larry Smith attorneys in the neighborhood. The day I received a confidential psychiatric report intended for another Larry Smith attorney’s client, I realized this problem could become more than a mere inconvenience.

After conferring with family and friends, along with my wife and two young children we all marched off to court and became Bridgesmith’s. That was the name we chose because Linda was born a Bridges and we honored both families in combining our two birth surnames. Neither of us can agree to this day whose “s” was lost in the transaction. I argue that it was mine, because the missing “S” is a capital letter. Linda won’t agree.

We’ve noted that the name we created is unique out there because we have found no other Bridgesmiths. Not even with the Internet. Although most assume I am the descendant of English masons who specialized in building bridges, I’m really of Scotish descent. We all know what the Scotch are famous for: whiskey and fighting (that’s because golf came first). There’s plenty of evidence that the genetic strain is strong in my ancestry (except for the golf part).

Who knew a name change 30 years ago could foreshadow the work I enjoy most? Building bridges between people and the organizations in which they find themselves is the most gratifying work I can imagine. I don’t anticipate retirement as an option because the work I get to be involved in is so satisfying.

And then, this guy named Steve Joiner became a colleague. Is that irony or something more intentional?


4 Responses to What’s In a Name?: More Than Intended

  1. Congratulations to you and your family for changing your name! I changed my name too and, as a result, have a passion for people and their names.

    I really like your story. So many angles that are very touching. My best to you!

  2. Tammy Lenski says:

    Larry, I love this story! I’ve wondered about the origins of your perfect name and so enjoy that you created one name out of two and ended up with one that couldn’t be better for the career you’re in. Not to mention its perfection from a google search point of view too — anyone searching for you is going to find *you*.

    Oh, one more thing: Should have known you’re a Scot. Me too (my mum was a MacDonald, hailed from Fife). We Scots always find each other! I didn’t get the golf gene either, much to the shock of all my Scottish kin (“You dunna play golf?”).

  3. Lara says:

    Now, let’s hear the history of the name “Joiner”…

  4. Great post this will really help me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: