I was born as Leigh James Riza, in Long Beach,CA. in 1946. My father, Eugene Thomas Riza was a Navy vet who survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, on board one of those many ships that sank.
At the end of the war, he met my mom Janice King, they married and created my brother and I.
Gene bailed when I was just a baby and moved back to his family in Texas.
My mom remarried, to Paul Hamilton, a guy she met in a bar, hoping he could be a good provider. I have to give it to the guy, he did provide.
A couple of years ago, I went before the local court, and legally changed my name to Jim Hamilton, because that has been the name I have been living with since I got my first social security card when I was a kid. The last name Riza just didn't work anymore.
Sometimes, when I mess up, I refer to myself mentally as Hamilton. As in, WTF Hamilton, did you just miss the toilet bowl again!
I guess this is who I am. Paul raised me, and Gene did not.
I had a conversation with my grand-daughter Shelby a while back, who goes by the name Shelby Hamilton. I explained the history of her last name, and she said WTF, she is a Hamilton, and proud of it!
Actually, I was called Jamie as I grew up, never knew why, but I dropped that as soon as I could.
Names matter, they define us. I guess it's time to get off my fucking high horse, and accept my last name. I am Jim Hamilton, and proud of it.
All of the people above me are no more. I have no relatives older than me. They are all gone.
So, I am a Hamilton. Thanks Paul, I love you and forgive you.