Beth & I had our union ceremony on our fifth anniversary together in 1993. It’d been tricky up til then to figure out an appropriate “anniversary” as a lesbian couple: should it be the first date? first kiss? first bouncy-bouncy? It was actually a pertinent motivation for us to have the ceremony — so we could have a mentionable anniversary date!
Beth proposed (over the phone) and I accepted. Shortly thereafter, we decided that if we were going to be “hand-fasted” (our terminology at the time), we wanted to have the same name. Thus began the search for the perfect name to describe our family. We considered a variety of options. I particularly remember rejecting the idea of Einhertz (“one heart”) because it would make my initials LAME.
Beth’s dad was Jewish, but her mom raised her as Greek Orthodox. I had a lifelong interest in Judaism, although I identify myself as an ecofeminist she-devil. Beth was becoming more interested in her Jewish heritage at that time so we tentatively began searching in that direction. One night, we heard poet Irina Klepficz read a poem entitled “Bashert,” and the word intrigued us. Neither of us knew its meaning before. Thus, we concluded it must be a rather obscure reference!
It sounded sort of like a name. We thought it wouldn’t attract too much attention. We each filed for a name change. (See Beth’s page for the story on THAT.) I added Bashert on the end of my name, making it Lisa Ann Marshall Bashert (yes, now my initials were LAMB…)
Come to find out, as we very shortly did, that the primary connotation of the word Bashert in the Jewish community is one’s soul-mate or meant-to-be. In this sense of the word, Bashert is very well known among Jews! Klepficz’s usage is by far the more rare sense of the word. Beth managed the cafe at Zingerman’s at the time and dozens of times per year people would say to her, “Your name is Bashert!? Hey, did you know that means….” We didn’t intend to take such a schmaltzy last name, but really, in the end, it fits more perfectly than any other name could.
A bunch of fun things about having the same last name:
Now 27 years have passed since we first got together and this year, the Supreme Court has told us, finally, that our marriage counts!