Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musings

Don't you just wonder how some people's nicknames came about?  I used to know a boy in grade school called "Pinky".  He was neither pink, nor any shade of red.  He had blue eyes and black hair.  I was flummoxed and he wouldn't tell - no matter how many times I pinched him.  (I was an awful child.)

We grew up in a grid-development with two styles of houses.  When we moved in, it was brand-spanking new.  The roads hadn't even been paved yet and there was mud galore.  (It was heavenly to a 5 y/o.)  My first memory of this new house was being outside playing with the kids on the street.  When it became time to go in, one by one, they all disappeared into their houses. I didn't know which house was mine.   My father wasn't home from work, yet, so there was no car for reference.  Easily solved - I just stood in the middle of the street and bawled my head off.  An adult (someones mother - they were all SAH in those days) stuck her head out of the door and assessed the problem.  She finally got my attention and pointed.  It was the yellow one right in front of me!  Saved!

There were three girls in my family and the house next door housed three boys - we were all about the same age.  Mr. F. would line his boys up on kitchen stools every month and give them all the same haircut.  My mother, being the frugal German that she was, sent me over on haircut day and I got a stool and a bowl cut as well.  Mr. F. was a big one for nicknames. (I bet you thought I had lost my train of thought!)  and, while my sisters were easy - Con, Cynth - he seemed to have a problem with shortening my name to something he liked.  I ended up as "Sweeze".  That has stuck with me for years.  I am either Sue, Susan, Susie (my parents' call me Susie), Sweeze, or Sweezie.  A person could get confused!

Where did the name, Bubba, come from?  Or Boo?  Boo Who? (Sorry.)  I can see "Chip", as in "Chip off the old block".  But, Bubba?   Pinky?  My father's father detested nicknames.  That's why he named my father "George".  Can't do much with that.  He also refused to give him a middle name.  I don't remember my paternal grandfather, although he was living when I was born.  I bet he was a stinker.  Stinky?  My mother's name is easily given over to many different nicknames: Kathryn.  Kat, Kathy, Kath.  She goes by Kit.  Then there's Charles.  Or Charlie, Chas, Chuck.  That reminds me of the song, "The Name Game".  (Fogy-ism)  I used to love that song and tried it out on everyone and everything I came across, until I drove everyone crazy.  It still pops into my head every now and then.  If I had been allowed to choose my own name, I would have chosen "Imogene".  The clouds part, birds sing and I can hear guitars strumming in the distance when I say that name.


  1. I always hated my name growing up...but I see that it was very common in my age bracket.
    My nickname from my dad was "Futtum" (not sure if that is the correct spelling). How on earth THAT came about I'll never know.
    My ex called me something else(not nice), and husband #2 calls me Sexy, even though I certainly AM NOT. But, I'll take it. Could be why Husband #1 was NOT a keeper, and Husband #2 IS!

  2. Loved the story of you getting confused and not knowing what house was yours! :)

    I don't understand nicknames either. They just come about. Mine growing up was Fred, and my real name is Amy, so go figure. My kids nicknames are Simee-Dimers (Simon) and Deetah29 (Colton). The Simee-Dimers is easy to get from Simon...but Deetah29? Colton told us when he was about two or three that his name was Deetah29 and he was from the planet "Love". And the nickname stuck, mostly because we couldn't stop laughing! :)

  3. Love it, Susan (aka Imogene...:o)!) All of my children have nicknames that aren't based on their real names--usually involving something silly.

    Hey MamaTea, I've wondered what your "real" name is.... nice to meet ya! :)

  4. Sylvia, Sylvie, Twa-twa (brother couldn't pronounce Sylvie), Sia (college name), Clog (what my grandkids call me -- don't ask!)

  5. I never let anyone shorten my name when I was a child - just refused to respond. My BIL is a big one for bestowing nicknames on people - he must have given my husband 2 or 3! - but he's given up on giving me one. They just don't stick :)

  6. My Father was a great giver of nicknames and never called anyone by their proper name. No one. And he had a hardware store, so even all of his customers received a nickname. Talk about not knowing who he was talking about. All my friends, boyfriends, all nicknamed. Some were nicknames you were never to say to their faces and trust me, we have many family stories where someone always slipped and called that person by the less than flattering name. Memories.

  7. Sue - Yes, I never thought my name was "exciting" enough. I would agree - #2 is a keeper!

    MamaTea - So, Amy, is it? You will always be Mama Tea to me! I love it when kids come up with their own names. I wonder what my name would be if I came from the Planet Love?

    MF - My mother used to run through our names until she hit the right one - sort of like "ConstanceCynthiaSusan"! Come in this minute!

    Sylvie - Of course, now I have to ask - why Clog?

    Jenyfer - A woman I work with named her daughter Victoria and didn't want anyone to shorten it. As soon as she got into middle school, her daughter (and all her friends) started using "Vicky".

    Jane - Oh, I bet that caused some awkward moments - heehee.

  8. Imogene? Seriously?!? I have an aunt named Ivagene.... Personally I love the name Willa, as in Willa Cather. And Olivia, and Angelina (before Jolie). My name was common when I was in grade school (and I can still sing "my" song!); I went by my name, but the other Michelles went by Shelly and Mish. Didn't like either of them much, so NEVER let anyone get away with calling me Shelly - ha! Really, the only nickname I've ever had was given me by a college friend and fellow art student. He called me Mitch, and being the tomboy that I am, I loved it!

  9. You know, I can understand how a kid could get lost in one of those types of new developments! Poor little Susan!

    I never cared for nicknames for myself, and try to call everyone by their given name. A few people are trying to re-name Rhiannon to Rhi or Anna or something, but I'm fighting it.

    My Dad's given name is Harold, but his nickname growing up was Butch. I asked if it was for a hairstyle or something, but he said no, and not sure how he got it. Weird.

  10. I love the story of you being lost in the 'burbs too!
    My given name is Candace so Candy *is* my nickname! My ex used to call me CJ and I always kinda liked that.

  11. You'll never guess the name I would have picked out for myself if given the chance. Susan. Yes, that's the truth! I have a very common first name; matter of fact, in grade school there were five (5!) of us with the same first name in my class. Geesh. Talk about not standing out. Curiously, I never got a nickname.

    Imogene? The only Imogene I ever knew of was the comedienne Imogene Coca. The family name that was traditionally passed down to the first female of each generation . . . that was me . . . was Euphemia. I'm so happy my mom put her foot down and refused. Okay, so I would have been the only Euphemia in my class but still . . .

  12. Ha! I call my boys "Bubba" and "Boo" sometimes, funny stuff!