Thanks for nothing, Nevada

Note: I really do like Nevada...or at least I like being married to Brad, and so it's okay to live in Nevada? 

I’m losing pieces of myself. They are torn from me one chunk at a time. An arm here, a leg there. I blame it all on the state of Nevada.

When I was born, my parents didn’t give me a middle name because they hoped eventually I would take Poteet as my middle name. I love Poteet. It’s who I am. It’s who I will always be.

In Rupert, people know me as a Poteet. When I get a flat tire and pull into Les Schwab, the men see me, know I’m a Poteet, and take good care of me. I never see the bill. Sometimes they don’t even send it because of my dad’s good name.

One time, my sister and I were in the grocery store, and her debit card wouldn’t work. We didn’t know it at the time, but it expired a week prior. Neither of us had cash on us, but the cashier knew we were Poteet girls. Since she already rang up all of the items, she told us to take them home and bring the money later.

Because my parents have a good name, I have a good name. And it was meant to be my middle name. When I got married, I went down to the Social Security office to get a card with my new name: Emily Poteet Goodsell. However, in the state of Nevada, people can’t take on their maiden name as their middle name. I fought with the man. I pleaded with him, and then I almost started crying to him. My name is Emily Poteet Goodsell. Print it on the card. Is it really all that difficult? He offered to make me a hyphenated woman, but that’s not my name. It’s not who I am. The most he could do was put a middle initial on my card. Now, according to the United States, I am Emily P Goodsell. They took my name from me.

Then this week, they took my license plates from me. I’ve put off getting Nevada plates since I got here, but my deadline was up, so I went to the DMV with my smog test and Vin test and car title. When I got to the front of the line, the lady told me to turn in my Idaho plates. Once again, I almost started crying. You want my plates? What are you going to do with them? You don’t need them. I know I can’t keep them on my car forever, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep them. They tell everyone who I am. Anyone who drives on the road can see that I am a 2M girl. They know I’m from Rupert. But now I’m just another Nevada driver.

There’s a teacher at my school who goes around asking people if they are from New York. He never asks them where they are from. He only asks them if they are from New York. I think his identity has been taken away, too. He’s a New Yorker, hidden behind Nevada plates, just like I’m a farm girl from Rupert, a place where my name mattered. And here, neither of those things matters.


Julie M said...

You have such a relatable writing style. I think everyone who reads your stuff thinks to themselves, "I know how she feels" because you describe in such a realistic way.
With that said, I think I know how you feel. I still have the Idaho plates on my car, and I drive around with a knowledge that I am from Idaho. Not from PA or NJ, but from I-da-ho. Plus, it helps me find my car in the parking lot when all the other cars have a PA license plate.
David also gives a little sigh for you. Maybe you should go to the courthouse and just change your name. I don't know. You'll always be Emily Poteet to us, though.
Did Brad apply to Penn State Med-center????

Britt said...

We don't know each other and I usually don't comment on the posts that are by people I have never met. I guess it is just an etiquette thing. But I wanted to tell you that I loved reading this. I'm not sure why exactly seeing as I can't exactly relate to the experience but I can relate to the feelings that you portrayed and maybe that is why I liked it so much. I just wanted to say thanks.

Sarachel said...

Thanks, EmPo. It was good hearing your voice; I miss talking to you.
My hometown was the same way: everyone knew my family. When my siblings went to Jr. High, the teachers just knew they had to be good kids because they were Shawcrofts. Every new place I move, I miss that. I miss being known as someone good because of my name. I have to prove myself over and over again, and lately it doesn't seem as important as it used to. Maybe I'm just tired. I don't know, but I want to go places and have it mean something that I'm Sara Shawcroft, Sara Lee, Sarachel or Sara Rachel, because those names meant something once.

Emily Goodsell said...


Brad didn't apply for Penn State this year, though he dreams of attending school there. I think more than anything, he just wishes he could get an acceptance letter to Penn State. Then he wouldn't have to even go there. He'd just know he was Penn State worthy.

He's interviewed with Reno, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. In-state tuition would be nice. That's the only MD school he applied for this year. All the rest are DO. There's a DO school here called Touro, and he's been promised a seat here, so at least we know we're in somewhere. At the end of January, he has an interview in Missouri, which is where his dad went to med school. Brad remembers all the great adventures of the place: the fireflies and the snow storms and the little friends he made. Somehow, he doesn't remember what it did to his skin. It was far worse than Rexburg could ever be. He had gashes all over his legs and hands. I think he just wants to relive the adventures with me, and he's willing to pay any price for that to happen. I just keep praying that we'll be wise.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated on the happenings. I'll let you know if he gets anymore interviews. Does David like school there? Will you two be eventually relocated for residencies?

Sky said...

Ahhh, good question from EmPo, Julie.

Julie, are you coming home for Christmas at all? I'm going to SLC between Christmas and NewYears, when EmPo is home, but I'll stay over if we could all meet in Pocatello for lunch or something? That is if EmPo can remember how to drive in snow again; haha.

Julie M said...

Yes I fly out tomorrow!
I can't wait. I really want to see everyone. Tell me when and where and I'll see what I can do. Can you also fill out some recommendation forms for me for this next round of grad schools?
Yes, Em, we will relocate for residency (at least I think) but who knows where. Let me know where you end up (I'll keep my fingers crossed for instate tuition!)

Julie M said...

PS Did you get my text, Sis. Morgan? I texted you a week or so ago.

Sky said...

Are you kidding. I always lose my phone. Last time I lost it, I found it in the laundry basket, an it usually says "Full messages--please delete. So I just delete.

EmPo, Julie, where and when can we meet between Mon. 29th and 30th. Ha Help

iBo said...

Master Empo(Go) I always love your writing style. Like Julie said, it's so easy to relate to. Of course I'm not married, and I don't have to change my name, but every year when theres a new semester, or new ward or new people to meet, I run into the hazard of getting my name butchered.

While that doesn't really compare to having your name cut from you like that, I understand some of that pride. I'm proud of having a complicated first name. No one had better take it away from me.

My last name on the other hand...I went back to my old high school the other day and counted how many Lees I graduated with: 14. The next year? 10. The year after? 4. It goes on and on. Too many of us to establish a name.

Emily Goodsell said...

Sister Morgan,

I would love to meet up with you two. Either day works for me. I can meet you anywhere. Idaho Falls, Rexburg...you tell me, and I will be there.

Sky said...

Julie, could you meet me and EmPo for lunch or something on Monday or Tuesday? I Would wait to go to SLC if I could see both of you? My family will leave Sunday, so anytime after that. Any chance? (Seriously, EmPo, can you remember how to drive in snow. I drove around my driveway for an hour trying to pack down snow, so the USP truck can get in here tomorrow--not for gifts for me, but I'm worried my gifts for family won't get here. I has SNOWED.)

Emily Goodsell said...

I'll give myself plenty of travel time, and I'll just take it easy on the roads. I've only been gone five months. The memories of driving in the snow are still alive. :)

Julie M said...

I think I can meet for lunch on either of those days. Let me check for sure, but I would love to see you both.