Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Rogers for 2 at 8pm

My father always makes reservations under the name "ROGERS".

His name actually IS Roger, so that's close. And our last name IS Rodwin. And that's close. But in the end, ROGERS is not our name or his name.

Now, my father almost never makes reservations. I really only remembering him doing so when we would visit my grandparents and there would be 6 of us going to dinner. But when he did make them, it was always ROGERS.

I've never asked him why he doesn't use his real name. I'm probably afraid of his response. I'm not sure why. I know he's cheap, but using a slightly fake name doesn't make you cheap. I know he tries to wriggle his way out of things by strange means (he still does his taxes by hand because he thinks if he used a computer print out it would look more professional so if he's called on any inconsistencies by the IRS he can just say it was a miscalculation by hand, whereas a computer printout wouldn't give him an out). So it's not penny-pinching, But there's something strangely embarrassing about using 'Rogers'. It's as though he doesn't want to be accountable. We've never not shown up for a reservation though, but it's as if he doesn't want them calling him on it if we were a no-show.

Or maybe he just doesn't want to have to spell "R-o-d-w-i-n" because if he doesn't they always think it's "Robin" or "Robins" unless you spell it out. That's because my last name is a simple fabrication. His father was born Sidney Rotkawitz. It's even what's written on his Harvard Law diploma, but the story goes that he changed the family name to Rodwin immediately after graduating so he could get work as a lawyer in New York City. I don't begrudge him that. I'm sure anti-semitism was rife in the legal annals back in the 20s.

Oddly, I've never thought of this before, but his brothers who were also lawyers who also went by Rodwin. I wonder if the three of them got together and had a group meeting about re-naming themselves. I'd have loved to have heard that conversation. I wish I'd thought to ask him while he was still alive.

Perhaps I'll ask my father to see if he knows anything about it.

And maybe I'll have the nerve to ask why he uses the name Rogers when making a reservation.


  1. You are missing a very important "N" -- guess where!

    At least, I think you are. Is there such a thing as "legal anals?"


  2. Yes, quite. Thanks for finding that missing n. I'll replace it now!