How I came to be named "Gruntwilligar T. Honkenoffski"
I know that oftentimes folk'll ask me about my name -- since it's so unusual I'd be guessing that it'll confugle most folk. Well so I guess I'll relay the story of how I got my name.
My mother and father were originally from western Lithuania, in a smallish town where they mined gypsum salts. My father was originally called Lazlo Herfonskí, and his success as a shrewd but extremely successful mine manager led him (somewhat suspiciously) to move to the United States in search of a new dream in the early 1950's. I have some reason to believe that he was running away from something in Lithuania, but he was always silent on the subject.
Lazlo always told me about the story -- usually after a glass or two of vodka, almost invariably on Friday night -- about his experience in moving to the United States. His arrival at Ellis Island saw him scoffing at the Statue of Liberty, at the softness of his new American countrymen. The naturalization officer assigned to my mother and father was, my father told me oftentimes, a dreadful man by the name of Herbert Peter Knutt. Lester (as my father's new name would be) spoke of him with contempt, for it was he that dubbed my family with the name "Honkenoffski", something Mr. Knutt found was an amusing way to relieve himself of his professional duties.
Lester Honkenoffski said that Herbert Knutt didn't get fired for that offence, however, or for the long string of similar replacement names he doled out to those coming off the boat. Generations of Americans are now living with names that had made a clerk snicker, once.
It must have been my father's penchant for doing to others what had been done to him, or his unique ability to so completely work his way into a pattern of narrowing downward spirals, that led to my given name: Gruntwilligar Taft Honkenoffski. My mother had died giving birth to me, so it was his decision alone to dub me thus.