Happy Thursday, hive! It’s been a wonderful week of reflection and love for me…lots of exciting things happening, and lots of time to get back to what really matters in life: family.
The Geefay family—my family—is small and mighty. My grandpa came over here from China, his full Chinese name was Gee Ying Fay. Fresh off the boat (Oh my god. Did I just say that?) he changed his name to Frank Geefay, and eventually met and married my grandmother and that’s where our little family began.
(Ed. note: My uncle commented on this post to let me know that my grandfather changed his name in the 1920s after facing discrimination, and not right when he arrived in this country, as I’d mentioned. Thanks Uncle Frank, for the correction!)
There are only 7 Geefays in the world: my dad and mom, my uncle and aunt, and their combined 3 children, all girls, which means that the Geefay family name could quite possibly die with us. 3 generations.
When I married I didn’t actually legally take my husband’s name, but use it “professionally.” I haven’t quite decided what to do there yet (5 years into marriage)…the thought of no longer being a Geefay is so frightening and feels like I’m 1/3rd responsible for killing off the Geefay name. I can’t bear that responsibility, so I don’t. And so Geefay, legally, I remain, indefinitely.
There are 2 girls left to make the decision, one being my cousin Frances, who took the leap to move from California to Texas a few years ago to start a life with her boyfriend, Nic.
Avid outdoorspeople (in the spirit of our upbringing, when as a family we’d camp…EVERYWHERE. All the time.), Nic and Frances headed to Amarillo one weekend to hike and mountain bike in Palo Duro Canyon. They happened upon Cadillac Ranch, an art installation of junk Cadillacs, and learned that spray painting the cars is encouraged. Nic challenged Fran to a graffiti competition, one she knew she’d easily win because Nic’s “the opposite of artistic” (and I like to think us Geefay girls have a bit of artistic flair, eh?). So with cans of paint in tow, Nic and Fran set out to leave their mark on Cadillac Ranch. Nic’s challenge was a ruse for something bigger he wanted to accomplish that day.
When they got there, fate stepped in:
Mike and Matt of One Tree Weddings were filiming their own road trip from Kansas City to LA along Route 66 for a non-profit project. Unbeknownst to Fran, Nic told Mike and Matt that he was proposing and asked if they’d shoot a few pictures. Complete strangers at the time, they ended up making an amazing short video that I’m so excited to share with the hive!
Frances told me, “I don’t know how I pictured his proposal, but I never imagined to be wearing my hoodie cinched to my chin while breaking a few trespassing and property defacement laws.”
Congratulations Frances…I hope you take the time during your engagement to reflect on our family and our name, and make a decision to honor your family history as best as you can. I hope all three of us Geefay grandchildren will find our own ways to honor our family name forever.
What about you, hive? Do you bear a family name that is hard for you to part with? What did/will you do to preserve your family name?
Special thanks to One Tree Weddings for letting us share this moment.