In the 2001 Disney classic, “The Princess Diaries”, the protagonist receives “princess lessons” from her queen grandmother as the fictional kingdom of Genovia prepares to announce her as the heir to the throne. Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, is a sixteen-year-old learning how to be a royal. Her grandmother makes her memorize classic quotes and phrases, such as the famous line from Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
That line resonated for Mia since it reflects the changing of her own name and identity throughout the film.
I wanted to write a column exploring how a name relates to identity on a smaller scale. In fact, I wanted to declare my right to call GHeav, GHeav.
Sure, the store is now technically called something else, but it’s still the same rose: virtually the same menu, still the same plastic-looking, overpriced buffet at the center, still the same wooden floor, still the same shelves of chips and teas and still the same 24/7 hours and fluorescent, yellowish lighting. It’s still the GHeav that I met in the fall of 2012 as a drunken frosh, scooping orange noodles into a Styrofoam bowl. I wanted to write that column: a nostalgic indulgence of why I wanted GHeav, at least in name, to remain the same.
The truth is that it isn’t. It’s now Good Nature Market and it’s under new ownership — for good reason. The new name didn’t fundamentally change the role of the store as the go-to provider of late-night food for Yale college students. The name was changed after the previous management committed wage theft and abused its power as an employer of immigrants.
I told some friends about how I want to still call GHeav, GHeav, and they squealed, “YES!” It’s ours -— and to us, it was GHeav for so long. My affection for the store that sits at 15 Broadway in New Haven, Connecticut is a deep one. To me, its legacy extends beyond 24-hour service. It’s a late-night mecca, a pilgrimage for food on the weeks when the dining hall is serving infinite trays of acorn squash and vegan burritos. It saves and sustains me. So, I figured, I should be able to call it whatever I want — right?
Calling Good Nature Market (on Whitney or Broadway) “GHeav” isn’t a crime, and I don’t want to admonish people for doing so. It’s often nothing more than an innocent habit. But the question of names and their legacies is one that has cast a harsh light on this campus. When we think about the histories of a place, we must think about how names relate to identities and values.
A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, except when one of those roses is tainted with a troubled scent. Good Nature Market isn’t robbing its workers of a livable wage. GHeav did.
In “The Princess Diaries”, Mia Thermopolis learns that she’s actually Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, the royal name she would now inherit. A culminating moment in the film comes at the end when she announces herself, not as Mia, but with her noble moniker. This young woman undergoes a transition in identity, but that change is only possible when she accepts the responsibility associated with her new title.
Though I may be talking about a film adaptation of a young-adult book series, and I understand that this is a pretty frivolous connection, it does carry resonance in the way we, as Yalies, identify the places and ourselves in our community.
The more I considered what I would call my beloved convenience store, the more I considered the ramifications of my own beliefs. I realized that I couldn’t turn a blind eye to this issue, no matter how small it seemed. How we refer to Good Nature Market doesn’t wield the same impact on students that a residential college’s name does. But we should not neglect the histories of all the places we inhabit. I think we should question our smaller actions as well — we need to do more than just critique this institution’s decisions without critiquing our own.
Our castles matter, but so do our breakfast sandwiches.
Adriana Miele is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College. Her column runs on Thursdays. Contact her at email@example.com .