By Jonny Hersh
Don’t get me wrong, my parents are very smart people. However, I always wondered how wise it was to pair two incredibly common names, Jonathan and Miller, with a fairly common Mennonite last name – Hershberger.
I imagine my mom yelling at my dad in the midst of childbirth, “For goodness sake, just give him the first two names that pop into your head!” Thus, Jonathan Miller Hershberger was born. Two years ago when I arrived at Goshen College, I discovered I was not the only Jonathan M. Hershberger on campus.
About once a week I would mentally prepare myself to make the tedious bike ride across campus to the Union. “Listen, Jonny,” I would say to myself, “there may not be any mail awaiting you. It’s most likely going to be for the other Jonathan.” Unfortunately, no matter how much I willed myself not to get too excited about what lie dormant in that little box, by the time I got to the Union I would be shaking in anticipation.
Usually after several attempts, the door to my mailbox, such a cute door, like a door for a mouse house, would swing open revealing the marvelous contents within. Occasionally it would simply refuse to open, in which case I would stalk off fuming, scowling at anyone and everyone in my path. If I were able to outwit the lock, I would hastily slide the mail out, my eyes searching for a name. Without fail they would be addressed to Jonathan M. Hershberger.
After putting back the letters that were obviously not mine, I would begin to open the letters to determine whose they were. Since the other Jonathan was a Hesston alumnus, I could automatically put any wedding invitations back in the box. Birthday letters were difficult. I was never sure if a random person was bribing me to simply accept the fact that it was my birthday, or if someone was wishing the other Jonathan a happy birthday, usually I decided the latter.
Although checking my mailbox was a weekly task that often left me heartbroken, I always took great satisfaction in the fact that I, not he, was most often invited to open a checking account at Interra.