I suppose I’m neither the first, nor the last woman to bemoan the cloak of invisibility that marriage can descend to separate Past Life from Married Ladyhood. A man named “Sam Smith” is Sam Smith from womb to tomb. But, “Sadie Smith” can turn into “Sadie Waholowicz”. The result is that even the mighty Internet can’t easily find her if the seeker doesn’t know Sadie’s new name.
There is one chance to up the odds if Sadie goes the 3-name route a la Hilary Rodham Clinton. Hyphen, no hyphen, her choice.
Over the years, my mind occasionally turns to my coming-of-age best bud, Jan Puhalsky, who lived near the end of my street. Jan was the oldest of 4: 2 sisters and a hellfire brother. Even more exciting for 1969, her mother was in a common law hookup with a black man — living together in sin.
I thought Jan had a fascinating life and I know from drama. I lived with my grandmother and her very disapproving third husband. My mother lived the single girl life in an apartment about 15 minutes away. Add alcohol.
There’s a chance, of course, that Jan is one of the hardy few that keep their birth surname forever. But, if that’s true, why hasn’t Classmates.com or Reunion dug her up? (Notice that I detest the term ‘maiden name.’ Who am I? Guinevere?)
It was the death of Davy Jones that ramped me up about finding Jan again. She and I were glued hip to hip through the tween years of posters on bedroom walls and games like Magic 8 Ball to determine which superstar would marry whom. I think I had my first sleepover at her house, and I’m sure it involved Star Trek.
Musicially, Jan was Beatles all.the.way. She would have tattooed the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour album across her back if she could.
Me, I loved The Monkees and I’m not ashamed to say it. Even in my Mickey Dolenz-fueled delirium, I knew Pleasant Valley Sunday was no Hey Jude, but I didn’t care. Besides, I had the hots for Paul McCartney, too. I wasn’t a total idiot. The one thing Jan and I agreed on was that Davy was cute, but too freakin’ short. If Jan’s survived the deaths of John and George and what Heather Mills did to Paul, the news of Davy Jones’ death took her back to driveway kickball and Barnabas Collins.
Oh! There’s one more little complication. Jan Puhalsky moved away from our little street in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the middle of middle school. I know the private girls school she transferred to in a neighboring county, but I have no idea where she actually graduated high school. I don’t know if she went to college or where. Also, I don’t have a photo of her…my mother kinda lost them.
For all I know, Jan Puhalsky may be trying to find ME! I’ve altered my name, too. But, if uploads live forever in cyberspace, let’s hope Jan sees this before another Monkee bites the dust.