Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Jennifers...

Jen O:

I'm 41. I'm gay and currently single. I was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota and raised outside a little Minnesota farming town of 302 crazy, loving, hard-working folks who were either off the boat from Scandinavia or the direct descendants of someone who was. I had 10 people in my graduating class. Eight of us went to college.

I was named for the actress Jennifer Jones and because my parents really wanted to call me J.D. (DeAnn is my middle name.) Apparently J.D. was some guy in the old westerns. But they never did call me J.D. Instead, I was - and still am by my father - called Barney (of Flintstones' fame).

I didn't grow up with too many Jens. I had a great aunt named Jenny Olson (old Norwegian spinster - I wonder if she was cut from the same gay cloth that I am) and knew of a couple other Jens from the neighboring towns.

Of course, now I am surrounded by women with my name. At work, there are so many Jens that we have our own alias so that we can redirect email to the appropriate one ("Hey Jen - is this for you?). 

Until I read about the Jennifer Project, I never thought of us as a sisterhood. But now I do. Human beings love to build community any way they can - and I think this is as good as any. And come on, we are way, way cooler than say, all those Marys and Stacys and Lauries and Karens.

Jennifer T:

I think it will be fun to see what variety of ladies we are who happen to share a name. I think it must have been a particularly popular name from about 1960-65, I've always had lots of similarly aged Jennifers in my life but known relatively few outside my age group.

As a Jennifer, I am 46 years old (young?,) live on a gorgeous 5-acre piece of land north of Seattle, about half-way to the Candian border, married my best friend 23 years ago and am still deeply and happily in love with him, got my bachelor's degree in education then stayed home to school and raise our 2 children (that son is now 23 and our daughter is nearly 21,) worked a ton of part-time jobs during those years including about 10 years of substitute teaching, and now that the kids are successfully launched have decided to return to school for a registered nurse degree. 

I plan on starting a whole new career by the time I turn 50. I love to sing and have been a member of a choir that specialized in Gregorian chant and Rennaissance sacred music and more recently in one that performs music from Eastern Europe. When I have leisure time I garden, cross-stitch, or read. 

Communities of friendships are highly important to me and I'd rather hang out with girlfriends than almost anything else. 

When I was little I went by Jennie, decided as a teen I'd rather always be known as fullly "Jennifer" and recently slipped into more and more times when Jen is used more frequently. 

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Wow, Jen O, I'm a Jennifer that was also given the name because her parents liked Jennifer Jones. Especially my dad. We also have the Scandinavian thing in common. I'm half Swedish, and a quarter each Danish and Norwegian. My dad even built wooden boats and told crazy viking stories at the dinner table. :D