You could knock me over with a feather. I’d been thinking about a post regarding how I got the name Elroy and who gave it to me. Ever mindful of other people’s privacy (potential lawsuits) when I write autobiographical excerpts, I initiated a search using cranial archival data from the early 1980s. I finally found the person who named me Elroy, looking quite the same, except 30 years older, Rip Van Winkleish.
When I knew the man (for our purposes he’ll be identified as my godfather) in question he was married to a woman I thought would be my sister-in-law. They were lawyers, each of them brilliant, no lie. I stayed with them for about 3 months while my, then, gentleman friend was navigating a career transition. My godfather was funny. He was a brand new associate at a venerable law firm with offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, and Atlanta.
I have no idea why on earth he called me Elroy, none at all. It stuck like glue and before long even my mother referred to me as Elroy. He loved sports and, I think, enjoyed a collegiate athletic career of some renown. If I walked by his study when he was watching the Hawks, he’d invite me in “Elroy, sit down and watch the Hawks, here you can hold the ball.” He’d pass the basketball to me (it was an honor so I took the thing and held onto it for dear life) and we’d pass an
interminable pleasant hour or two watching the game. He was a nice guy, ridiculously smart and really, genuinely, nice. He listened to Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Culture Club, Warren Zevon, and ACDC. He had an old dog with an unlikely name, Ruggles or Cantebury or something equally uncanine.
His wife was also very funny, observant and smart. She had interesting women friends, who worked for big newspapers, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and were independent free thinkers. We met my godfather for lunch one day at the law firm. It was raining out so he had a coat and hat to put on. While we waited for the elevator he stuck his hat on a bust of the long dead, founding partner and had a short conversation with it as he put his trench coat on- “Here sir, would you mind wearing my hat while I put my coat on?” Wouldn’t you just know that one of the current partners happened upon us as this was taking place. Truly, no disrespect was intended. The ancient (45-50) partner said to my godfather, the lowly associate, “I see you have company for lunch. It’s, harrumph, raining heavily. Nod to his wife, “Nice to see you again.” We were like a bunch of little kids, oh we’re in big trouble now.
Luckily, no harm no foul. They divorced years later but have enjoyed successful careers and met new spouses. He lives in a different country. She no longer practices and has a PhD in an unrelated field. They were splendid.
In the natural world, nobody calls me Elroy now.