Mon nom 2

Onions

Comme celui de veau,” my mother once said when asked to spell her name. I picture myself standing at her side, stretched on tiptoes, straining to peer over the counter at the mysterious lady whose question had triggered such incongruous words, a little girl puzzled by her Mummy’s answer until the pun was explained. It must have felt like magic: there was a way to defuse banter about our name. Couper l’herbe sous le pied was a lesson well learnt.

As a last name, Lerognon proved unforgiving toward la fille de la maîtresse and the eager pupil I was. Letrognon (apple core), Loignon (onion), Lepognon (dough as in money) were the made-up names whispered at me in the schoolyard, Melle Legrognon (Miss Grumble) the one sometimes heard in class, but only from Monsieur Enoch, my science teacher in tenth grade, when I complained too loudly about his tests. We liked each other, and his playful tease brought a warm and secret smile to my grumbling lips — one I still smile today when introducing myself.

— Claire

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