it’s all in the name

No-one seems to know what our maternal grandmother has in common with some medieval Italians! So it’s time for us to tell you – and we’ll keep the prize for ourselves – we’ll go out to the garden and pick the silverbeet and put it in tonight’s chicken noodle soup.

Sandro Botticelli started off life as Alesssandro Filipepi.
His first name got shortened to Sandro. He was sent to live with one of his older brothers who had acquired the nickname “Botticelli” which means “little barrel” (that’s not where grandma comes in!!) Even though Alesssandro was tall and slender, he became known by his older brother’s nickname! He changed his name.

As for the de’ Medici clan……they changed their name from Medici to Popolano when their family fell out of favour with those who could do them some serious damamge.

When we read about these things they took on special significance for us. If we’d read them a month ago we probably would not have thought twice about it all. But our own Grandma has changed her name. She would now like to be called Gran and so we are totally familiar with what these guys’ friends would have been experiencing. Every time they said “Mr de Medici” someone would have called out “Remember it’s Mr Popolano now!” And for them it must have been much harder – because they had been using those names for years and years and years – we are making the shift after only 13 years. Even still, we pick each other up on it every single day. But at least our Gran won’t lose her head when we use the wrong name; the stakes were higher in 1494! 

We wonder whether the Medici’s papers or manuscripts were changed…..just the other day we got out “Grandma’s Fruit Cake” recipe – Mama said we didn’t have to change it to “Gran’s Fruit Cake”, because Grandma wrote it herself and it’s not wrong to remember the time when she was Grandma. Same goes for the inscriptions in books we have been given.

When *we* are old grandmas and grandpas we’ll be able to show our grandchildren the recipe and tell them the tale of “when Grandma changed her name”….but by then we’ll probably be mucking it up the other way, saying “when gran…ooops I mean grandma…..changed her name” instead of the “grandma…oops I mean gran” that is her current title!


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