Thurman P. Woodfork
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
“La Maja Desnuda” circa 1799 by Francisco Goya
“La Maja Vestida” circa 1801 by Francisco GoyaAh, memories… I’m reminded of the time a Spanish airman cracked up laughing when I translated my last name – Woodfork – into Spanish for him. That is, until I told him how his name, Gil del Poz, sounded to me in English (Gil from the Well). We decided to agree that Shakespeare was right: “What’s in a name?”
I was also interested to learn that the name of famed composer Giuseppe Verdi – which sounds so grand in Italian – is plain old pedestrian Joseph Green in English. And, I was rather disappointed when the truth occurred to me about the impressive El Greco. Artistic accomplishments notwithstanding, he turned out to be, simply, The Greek. Sounds like something out of a spy novel.
In addition, I’ve wondered why Hollywood never translated the title of the motion picture, La Maja Desnuda, completely into English. They called it The Naked Maja, instead of The Naked Beauty, or, The Beautiful Nude. The picture, which wasn’t a very good one, starred Ava Gardner, a true beauty in her own right and Tony Franciosa.
Franciosa always struck me as being slightly devious, like he would whip out his own custom-built pool cue or a well worn deck of cards at a moment’s notice. I’ll bet he probably carried a hidden derringer, too. Anyway, as you can see, I quite often have some pretty weighty thoughts.
Mercy! How could I have forgotten ‘Ape Face’ and ‘Gold Tooth’? These two ladies of the evening often frequented Pig Ally in Figueras, Spain. While Goldie did, indeed, sport some gold teeth, Ape Face didn’t look anything like a simian. She did, however, have a startlingly deep indentation in her jaw, which affected her speech. I don’t know why some unkind soul dubbed her ‘Ape Face’, but the name stuck. Both ladies made up in personality what they lacked in looks, I suppose.
In any case, both managed to eke out a living and neither one ever appeared to be in serious jeopardy of starving at her chosen profession. Of course, the going rate for their services was understandably lower than that of the more comely denizens of the ‘Alley’. I imagine they’re both in Hooker Heaven by now.
Incidentally, Gil invited me to spend a month at his home. Unfortunately, another crew chief became ill, so I had to fill in for him in addition to taking care of my crew, and didn’t go on leave at that time. Gil was discharged and we lost touch, as so often happens with military personnel. I suppose it would be especially common among those serving in the armed forces of different nations.
©Copyright March 19, 2005 by Thurman P. Woodfork