Names …

Always/Everywhere

My given name is Mark William Meinke. I have been called “Marky” in the family, but mostly Mark. As well as assorted names that are often represented by asterisks! And the occasional “Hey you!”

Yet for some reason, people outside the family often seem to think I must be “Mike”, maybe because it seems to go with the vowels in “Meinke”. Unfortunately in our family that name was already taken by my cousin Mike, born the same year as me. Most recently, on a listing for my 50th college reunion’s memoir of my summer of 1969, the link to continue the story read “continue reading Mike’s story online”. After 70 some years, I guess I should be used to this.

At grade school in Clarendon Hills, Illinois by second grade teacher, Mrs. Loomis, called me Mike Marky for an entire year and then did it again when I had her in sixth grade at the Prospect School. My brother Gary had even worse luck because he also had Mrs Loomis who called him “Mike Marky’s brother”. If that doesn’t ruin a sibling relationship, not much else will.

Of course my youngest brother had it even worse. Steve was often called Gary by his uncles and aunts and cousins and other people. They did look a bit alike (they both had that Pictish look of the Mackenzies, my mother’s family). But it aggravated Steve to be so often addressed as “Gary”.

When I became a Muslim in 1973, I took the name “Musa’ab” in honor of the early Muslim ambassador Musa’ab ibn Umayr. Luckily that wasnt often confused with anyone else. I then became Musa’ab Meinke.

When I returned to the States and began studying and practicing Soto Zen Buddhism, I adopted the name Issan, in honor of San Francisco’s Issan Dorsey who founded the Zen hospice there. No confusion there, either!

Published by Mark Meinke

Married gay Quaker and historian, retired, and working more than ever.

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