My last name is Hyrkas – it rhymes with ‘circus’

Hyrkas is a

English: Michigan's Upper Peninsula

English: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

fine, respectable last name. The Hyrkas family is well-known in many parts of
the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as hardworking and entrepreneurial. It never occurred to me when I got married that chosing to change my last name from King to Hyrkas was going to lead to interesting encounters.  My first name, Teresa,
is considered old-fashioned, but it is common enough to be harmless, right?I had been
married two years when I had a chance to spend a couple of weeks in my
hometown, Seattle. One morning Mom offered to watch my infant son for a few hours
so my sister Pat and I could go shopping. While we were sorting through the
bargain tables at J.C. Penney’s, I noticed I didn’t have my purse. We
immediately went back to look for it in children’s clothing where we had been
previously. Pat and I searched high and low but didn’t find my purse, which
pushed me into panic mode. “I’ll bet Penney’s has a lost and found in Customer
Service,” I said. “Let’s check.”

Pat and I
rushed to Customer Service and I asked the woman working there whether anyone
had turned in a purse in the last half hour. The Customer Service person was a
petite, well dressed woman with firmly coiffed hair and a piercing voice that
sounded like someone hitting steel pipe with a hammer. “Will you describe your
handbag, please,” she clinked at me. I did as she asked. She smiled, and then
reached under the counter for my purse. “You must be Mrs. Turkey! We checked
your wallet for identification, you know,” she clattered at me proudly. I
stared at her. She stared at me. “WHO?
I asked. “Why, Mrs. Turkey. Mrs. Teresa Turkey!” she clanked.

I could hear Pat,
who was behind me, trying to stifle a laugh. The woman at the counter put
her hands protectively around my purse, moving it slightly back toward her and
away from me. She then raised her voice to high volume and clanged indignantly,
“You ARE Mrs. Turkey, aren’t you?”

What could I say? My purse was being held
hostage by a woman who was certain my last name was Turkey. She had even
checked my government issued identification to be sure. How could I argue? I looked around for Pat. She was no help – she had buried her face in a stack of towels to muffle her laughter.

“Uh, yes.
Yes, I’m Teresa Turkey,” I said, trying to sound confident. The
woman behind the counter smiled, relaxed her grip on my purse, and slid it
toward me. “Here it is, then, Mrs. Turkey,” she rattled happily, “and thank you
for shopping at Penney’s.”

I took my
purse and walked out of the store. Pat walked out after me, laughing and gasping for
air. “I suppose you are going to tell the whole King family about this,” I said,
morosely. I could picture it being told over and over again to all eight of our
siblings, their spouses, their children, the cousins. “Oh, don’t worry,” Pat
said,  catching her breath as she came up beside me.  She put her arm around
my shoulders to comfort me


My hopes rose! Maybe Pat would choose to banish the entire incident from her memory, and show mercy to her name-challenged younger sister.

“You know, Mrs. Turkey, I am much older than
you,” Pat said, “and am likely to forget the whole thing … until Thanksgiving!”Then she launched into another round of uncontrollable laughter. I sighed, and resigned myself to my fate.

4 thoughts on “My last name is Hyrkas – it rhymes with ‘circus’

    • Yes, my maiden name is King. Glad the post made you smile, Tracey. BTW, did your dash board receive the update from WordPress that mine did? I am not sure if they changed things for everyone, or just us ‘no charge, run of the mill’ bloggers.

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