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My Middle Name is Hans

Stephen Luz

One morning, I was thinking about my father. His first name was Hans, but he went by his middle name, Otto.

Meeting my brother on my way into the office that day made me think of my father even more. I remembered him telling me to take care of my teeth and see a dentist regularly to avoid gum ailments as I waited to see my brother, who then reported this very ailment.

I often remember how my father thanked God every morning for a beautiful day in his prayers. We all knew how tough his work could be as a mason, compounded by harsh weather and different personality types encountered in New Jersey construction. His attitude of gratitude colors my view of life, and I think about him regularly.

While eating lunch that day, I thought to myself, “My middle name is Hans.” Riding the elevator down at the end of that workday, I introduced myself to a new acquaintance. Having returned to that location just a month earlier, I’d never seen him before.

“My name is Hans,” he told me.

“My middle name is Hans!” I replied.

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