CHICAGO — A sociology professor and a philosophy professor walk into a bar. She’s Julia Wrigley. He’s Hartry Field.
Romance bloomed like ivy in the fall.
Wrigley and Field got married and had a daughter: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field.
“It’s part of my day-in, day-out experience that my name is really cool,” Wrigley-Field said. “But am I a baseball fan? Not really.”
Wrigley-Field, a sociology professor at University of Minnesota, said her life has been a “commitment to the bit.” At first Wrigley and Field didn’t hyphenate their daughter’s name, fearing she may be teased at school. But at 7 years old, Wrigley-Field leaned in, “because it was incredibly fun,” she said. At 20, she legally hyphenated her last name.
The name has been her very own Friendly Confines — an instant icebreaker with strangers, Wrigley-Field said.
“It’s hugely to my benefit. I feel less anonymous interpersonally,” Wrigley-Field said. “And it’s like a regular source of fun, poking people about it. It’s humanizing, the connections people have talking about it.”
Wrigley-Field tells everyone she has never been to Wrigley Field.
But while studying at University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wrigley-Field did have season tickets to Steppenwolf.
“I could have easily gone to Wrigley Field when I wanted, but I’ve built it up to be this big occasion. I want to be on the scoreboard,” Wrigley-Field said. “But now I’ll have to go with my daughter.”
On April 8, Wrigley-Field gave birth to a second Wrigley-Field.
Wrigley-Field said she thought about naming her daughter Ivy. But that “would be a little too on the nose,” Wrigley-Field said.
They settled on Fiona Plum Wrigley-Field, a healthy baby girl who “doesn’t have a Cubs onesie,” Wrigley-Field said.
Wrigley-Field said she remembers getting drinks with her partner on “an early date, the ‘Where is this going?’”
“And I said I wanted to have a kid, and their last name will be Wrigley-Field, too,’” Wrigley-Field said. “He said, ‘That’s reasonable.’”
Passing on the fabled name was Wrigley-Field’s way to “share an extremely positive part of my life with my daughter,” she said.
“When you’re giving a kid their name, you’re giving them a gift,” Wrigley-Field said. “I would love for her to embrace it.”
Wrigley-Field grew up in New York City and was a standout in her own right: a star on the high school debate circuit. The name “made me very memorable with the judges,” she said.
Wrigley-Field said she’ll hear from the Chicago Cubs “about once every 10 years.” As an 8-year-old, Wrigley-Field said she wrote the team a letter, “Just introducing myself, the type of way little kids write letters.”
Wrigley-Field told the Cubs she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up.
“They wrote back, ‘There are many fine law firms in Chicago,’” Wrigley-Field said. “We just imagined the beleaguered, low-level Cubs employee wondering, ‘What I do with this kid?’”
After the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, Wrigley-Field said she “went around bragging to everyone like I had a connection to it.” Wrigley-Field said she’ll never miss a chance to tell someone about her name. She agreed to talk to Block Club about it while her newborn daughter napped.
“Chicago expats” go the most crazy for the name, Wrigley-Field said. But one time in Ikea, Wrigley-Field chased down a couple in Chicago jerseys, showed them her ID and said they were clearly “more interested in facing the limits of their mortality looking at couches.”
“Sometimes people give me these anti-climatic responses, and that’s a part of the fun,” Wrigley-Field said. “In Chicago is where people have the least response. Because there’s so many crazed Cubs fans, they think I just changed it.”
She has a go-to line about it whenever a cashier asks after ringing her card.
“It’s just ‘Mom is Wrigley, Dad is Field,’” Wrigley-Field said. “For my daughter, saying ‘Mom is Wrigley-Field,’ that might be more awkward. She’ll have to find her own relationship with it.”
Wrigley-Field said she’ll be open and accepting if her daughter ultimately decides to change her last name to something more anonymous. The possibility has been on her mind lately.
“There’s a chance that she might not like it. Someone shier might be more uncomfortable with this,” Wrigley-Field said. “A name is like other gifts, you do your best and hope it will be something they love and that is valuable to them. But that’s out of your control.
“I will do my very best to never take that personally.”
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: