Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Living up to your name

My parents must have known something when they chose my name - Penelope.  Weaver by name and weaver by nature, that's me.  I love to weave yarns, whether threads or words.  However, I can remember disliking the name as a child.  To begin with I couldn't spell it and then there was that dreaded nickname Penelope Pitstop.  Funny I should detest being likened to one so good looking with a figure to die for.  No I think the problem had more to do with my tom boy nature.  All that pink stuff and helplessness went against the grain.  Then there was Penelope Keith who seemed type cast as a snob.  Remember Margo in the good life?  Why couldn't she have played Barbara the hippy neighbour.  Maybe then I wouldn't have developed such a complex about my name. 

Time is a great healer though and as I have woven my life I have grown to love my name.  Its mispronunciation Pen-ee-lope (that's lope as rhymes with rope) no longer rattles me.  In fact it makes perfect sense.  If I didn't know otherwise I would pronounce it that way too.  Phonetically its correct.

So where does the name Penelope come from.  In Homer's epic legend of the Odyssey Penelope was the faithful, patient and wily wife of Odysseus.  When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan war, Penelope waited patiently for him to return.  So patiently she waited twenty years.  Whilst Penelope was convinced Odysseus would return others believed him dead.  Being the wife of a king Penelope was highly valued and many potential suitors came forward with proposals of marriage.  To delay her suitors Penelope devised a cunning plan.  She agreed to choose a suitor once she had completed weaving a funeral robe for her father-in-law.  Every night for three years Penelope unravelled the part of the shroud she had woven that day.  This is the famous Penelope's web which is used as a proverbial expression for anything which is perpetually doing but never done.  I think a few of my knitting projects could be described thus.

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