Namesake | Cora Jane Photo Company Explained

"That was my grandmother's name" is sometimes the first thing said after I give my name. To be totally upfront the place I most give my name is my favorite Thai restaurant for takeout where they always write "Cola" on our ticket, and I look forward to this. It's the simple things in life, you know? 

Truth is my parents taught me the important lesson of using my name for any and all reservations when I was younger. They were willing to bet that no other Cora was at the same restaurant at the same time. I've sometimes wondered if this was the real, truly brilliant, deciding factor when my parents settled on my name. And while there is no familial legacy to my first name, and I am not in fact named after my grandmother, it is quite natural for those who hear my name to ask, "Is it significant?" 

My response typically includes relaying that my parents always told me they simply liked the name (I don't usually get into the whole restaurant reservation benefits ;-D), but in my heart I always held close the significance of my middle name. When it came time to name my business I didn't hesitate. Truth is, when asked, I love to share the story of 'Jane'. She's a part of my parents' story, so much so that they decided to make her a part of mine. 

I often turn to two of my favorite book series, Harry Potter & the Inheritance, to help with an explanation of my thoughts on how a name holds unspeakable power. In both of these literary examples characters refer to the power of a name. If you know one's true name you control their person and therefore their destiny. I believe this power translates to the power we have when we know and understand our namesake. Pictured below are my parents (bottom right) and their best friends and the couple that introduced them, Guy and Jane (standing and middle top of the stairs). My parents were married before their friends, my mom was the Matron of Honor in Jane's wedding. Shortly after Guy and Jane were married they were killed in a car accident when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Even writing this I struggle to fight back tears thinking about my mom and dad receiving that phone call and  learning about the accident. Friends that they'd laughed with and planned to adventure into the newlywed world together. Having been recently married myself I can't imagine experiencing this level of tragedy and loss. I don't remember the first time my parents told me the story of Jane, but I do know that it affected how I viewed friendships and also how I saw incidents of drinking and driving, among other reckless activities, when I was younger. 

This Christmas my mom gifted me the jewelry box Jane had given her at their wedding for her duties as her Matron of Honor. Jane had a gold name plate with my mom's married name made which my mom replaced with my now married name, along with a beautiful letter Jane had written. In her opening words she writes, "it is comforting to know we won't become like so many others that regret they never played the field, went wild, or learned the grass is seldom greener on the other side. Life has so much more to offer and there's so much to be enjoyed by two people in love."  When I hold the letter so many feelings swirl around. I'm honored to carry the name of a woman so fiercely full of life. But also, why don't we write letters like this anymore? Jane left her mark in many intangible ways, but she also left us with this. A taste of her 'about to be married' thoughts all written in beautiful flowing cursive with the date marked at the top. A moment in time, captured forever. 

My now grandmother-in-law's name is Jane and in so many ways this has been a beautiful full circle reminder that family - well, it's everything. But the definition of family is often sometimes how people who are not related by blood are woven into our stories. I hope to honor the woman that Jane was. All I'd really like to say is this: look around you and hug those you love, both friends and family. And if given the opportunity, take a stand when it comes to allowing others to drive under the influence. Taking a chance at the loss of life is never something to take lightly. But also, live today like it matters...because it does. Play the field. Go wild sometimes. And remember that the grass is seldom greener on the other side.