Randazzo…I know what you’re thinking, what is a Randazzo? Well it’s my mom’s maiden name, the name I’d always dreamed of changing Myers to since I was a kid. You see, with a name like Myers, people have always asked me if I was German or Jewish, and I’m neither of those. I’m Italian, from both sides of my family and in this country where we’re all identified by our heritage I always wanted people to know that.
You see the name Myers came about when my dad was brought over here from Italy, where he was born. When the Allies, more specifically the Americans, occupied his city, Trieste, towards the end of WWII, my grandmother met a soldier named Norman Myers. He married my grandmother and brought her and my dad to the United States to live, and sometime after that he adopted my father, giving him his last name.
Not being an Italian name is not the only reason I always wanted to change Myers to Randazzo. Norman eventually abandoned my grandmother and my dad, and I never even met the guy who gave me my last name. Besides, my relationship with my father growing up was never really good, and I never knew his mother’s maiden name anyway (neither did he!). My mom only had one brother and my dad really had no family to speak of, so most of my cousins were Randazzos and I wanted to be like them.
The name Randazzo was taken from a small town in Sicily where my maternal grandfather’s family was from. That was a common thing back then, taking surnames from places of origin. I’ve been to Italy, but have yet to get to Sicily (my next trip, for sure!), and of course when I go I’ll visit Randazzo.
Now I am in my forties and my outlook has changed from what it was back then. I’ve been a Myers too long and that’s how people know me, anyway. Yeah, people still ask me how I can be Italian with a name like Myers, but I just shrug it off and say, “whaddyagonnado?” I look Italian and I guess that’s all I need. Besides, ever since the last few years of my father’s life I looked at him in a different light. He’s the Myers that gave me my name, and I have five siblings, a sister-in-law, two nephews and a mom who share it. So yeah, I think I’ll just stick with Myers!
The town of Randazzo is located on the northern slopes of the famous volcano, Mt. Aetna, in northeastern Sicily.