When I was born, my parents had quite a fight over what name to give me. My father, wanted SUSAN. It was a popular name for babies born after WW II. My mother wanted something different! They compromised and named me MERRILYN SUSAN MITCHELL.


   When no one got the spelling of my first name correct (everyone thought it was Marilyn, like Marilyn Monroe,) my Mother agreed with my Dad that Susan was simpler. And certainly easier to spell! Then they made it simpler and called me Sue. When I went to college, I asked everyone to call me Susan. My parents never did!


   Of course, through marriage and divorce my name has changed. It is a privilege given to women that when they divorce, they can choose to keep their married name or not.


   What, you may ask does this have to do with anything?


   It is because some have questioned what is my “real” name. Actually some have even questioned whether I am an American and asked to see my birth certificate, even though I am not running for President! I do have a birth certificate! I was born in Great Britain. I am an American citizen and I do have naturalization papers!


   But back to the story. My business career, that began with my owning and operating first a martial arts studio, then a Wilderness and Native Skills training school, and ultimately a non profit educational organization, were all accomplished under the name, Susan Conniry. Divorced from my husband, I had chosen to keep that name.


   My husband Bear and I did not marry for 23 years after we met. He too had been divorced and neither of us felt the need or necessity to marry each other. One day, that changed. We weren’t getting any younger. We were thinking, as many do, of how we would deal with the ill health of the other and whether or not it made financial sense to marry.


   Ultimately we made the decision but I told Bear after so many years of using the last name of Conniry and that everyone in the business and political world knew me by that name, I wouldn’t change my name when we got married. He was okay with that. But at the last moment, I felt awful. How could I, loving him so intensely not change my name? As we signed the papers, instead of changing it, I quickly added a hyphen and then his last name, BEASLEY! Bear was so thrilled. I was, too.

Oh and by the way, "Bear" is my husband’s nickname! His real name is Tom. Or Thomas. Or Thomas Russell Beasley.


   Officially I am Conniry-Beasley. All my legal papers say so. But as a candidate and politician you aren’t required to add the hyphenated last name. Conniry fits on a yard sign a whole lot better! And on my name plate at council.


   I love my husband. I love my official hyphenated last name. But, I choose to go by Conniry.


   I do hope I haven’t confused you with all this! And, I’m happy to show you my birth certificate the next time you pop over for a cup of tea!