More Than A Name
Her given name, Evelyn, encompasses her very essence, and reflects the very essence of our existence as human beings at the same time. Evelyn means "Life," "giver of life," or "wished for." The essence of life is about making connections---to others, to our environment, to ourselves, and, most importantly, to God. Connection is life-giving, and because of this, it's absolutely "wished for"---a core desire we all share.
In Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again, Evelyn's primary function is creating these life-giving connections. Through Evelyn, we get a live illustration of this concept through her actions and dialogue, the nature and manifestation of which are embedded in, and revealed through, the next name she chose for herself, Mystic Harmony.
Evelyn may have only embraced the name for a short time between '67 and '69, but "Mystic Harmony" is actually a very precise commentary on both her consciousness, and how it was made manifest in her life.
"Mystic" as a noun is defined as "a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining, insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge," or, as an adjective, is something "having magical properties." While Evelyn doesn't claim to possess such a consciousness, she lives out of a place that implies "insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge" with seemingly "magical" results.
The word "Harmony" includes in its definition, "an interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative." Suddenly her declaration, "I weave---I'm a weaver," takes on an entirely new significance. Evelyn proceeded to demonstrate this undeniable gift for weaving in several contexts.
Beyond plants and animals, perhaps the first and earliest instance occurred when she told Norman he "remind[ed] [her] of a small woodland creature." She correlated humanity and nature as sharing similarities, which, interestingly, found further expression later on when Norman used owls to create a new narrative in his proposal---but we'll save that for another discussion. Twice more in Home Again, Evelyn applied her gift to weave human narratives together specifically.
In perhaps her most important narrative merger, Evelyn constructed a powerful thread to tie Bill and Norman together. Priming Norman with a discussion about how they met, and the challenges she and Bill encountered over the course of their relationship, Evelyn created a bond between herself and Norman. In doing so, she allowed Norman to not only get to know her a little better, but Bill, too. It allowed her next comment to really sink in:
"He's a good man, Norman...he's just a sad dad right now...He used to be her hero---now she has two."
Nearly a blip in the evolution of her identity, Mystic Harmony encompassed Evelyn's beliefs, as well as the manner in which she chose to live them out. Her expanded consciousness embraced plants, animals and people alike as "all God's Children," which she practiced in Home Again by creating narratives which tied them all together to tell one story, whether in a cocktail or to blend a family. And it's this philosophy, perhaps, which allowed Evelyn to fully embody her most current name.
Evelyn's most current name, Sunny, is just as dynamic as the other names with which she is associated.
Sunny is actually the only name for which we have an origin story. A rather sweet provenance, it comes from Bill's comment that "The only sun we're going to see today is the sun in your eyes," uttered after days of rain in the summer of '69 at Woodstock. It was a moment apparently so transformative for Evelyn that she "became Sunrise."
Interestingly, a sunrise signals a new day and a new beginning. In the context of Home Again, it's a symbolic representation of the new horizon upon which her family was about to embark with the addition of Norman and the marriage of her only daughter. In this way, it makes sense Sunny was the name with which Evelyn was primarily associated in the film.
Sunny also perfectly described Evelyn's generally cheery, positive disposition, regardless of circumstances. Despite blended glasses, Evelyn still had joy as she tried to get to know Norman and acted as the "muse" for Bill and Joe as they cleaned out the annex.
On the surface, Evelyn Haywith appears a sweet, quirky future mother-in-law. While that's true, it only describes a small fraction of her true overall depth and function in Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again. Known as Evelyn, Mystic Harmony and Sunny throughout the course of her life, each name contained a thread of her essence, which, when tied together, created a single narrative of life and inclusion not only for herself, but for those with whom she came in contact. Among those beneficiaries, of course, were Norman, Bill and Rita, whose converging story lines were the key to weaving the four of them into a new family.