09 March 2007

How Pretty lost his beauty

My grandmother and I just had a conversation about nicknames. It began when she asked what "Nolan" was doing and how she thinks she might take to calling him "Baby" because she can't ever get his name right, always wanting to add a "g" or "r" (note that "Nolan" has neither a "g" or an "r" in it). But she figured she couldn't call him that forever because "Baby" is hardly a good nickname for anyone past baby-hood.

Of course, this reminded her of their neighbors back in the day whose son she always called Baby, because that's what his mother called him. One day, his father heard her say this and asked her not to call him Baby, so she asked what she should call him and he suggested "Son" since that's what he called the boy. Grandma has no idea what his real name was. (Apparently his father didn't either.)

This made her remember how her brother C. H. (by all accounts, those aren't initials but his given name . . . or letters) was always called "Abe" by their other brothers. She believes this began because he often asked his father why their neighbor Abe did thus and such with his cattle. I guess preoccupation with a neighbor named Abe justifies taking said neighbor's name for your own nickname.

The story goes that "Abe" stuck, though it's worth noting that I've never heard anyone refer to C. H. as "Abe" in my life. But she didn't think her other brothers ever had nicknames.

"Well, there is Pretty," she mused. Her brother Dennis was known as "Pretty" for a while at school when the other kids made fun of the primping required to care for the ringworm he had on his nose. The teacher didn't like the name, and neither did their parents, but somehow the other brothers heard of it and called him "Pretty" for a while.

"But when the ringworm went away he lost his beauty," Grandma concluded. And that was the end of the conversation about nicknames.

4 comments:

rachel hood said...

so funny...all my kids have nicknames and i think they are fun...
twodad always gave great nicknames....growing up Lamar was little lammy lou, bekah was little bekah bullfrog and i was known as little ray magilicutty....so my favorite thing was the next generation....he called bekah's oldest little emilou tadpole....what a memory!

My Breathments Off said...

no, no, no.

It's not to hold my business cards, I have no such things. It's to hold other people's cards. Not that I'm important or anything, it's just that I find myself going, where is so and so's card, I need to contact them. Now I'll know where I put so and so's card. It's really quite nerdy, but at least I'll know.

Lin said...

your g-ma cracks me up! it's funny how older people ALMOST get names right. my great-aunt called max "mac." i stopped correcting her after 2 years or so. and my g-ma sometimes calls max "adam"....it's a long story.

Jen Strange said...

Adam! That's hysterical. My grandmother will surely call Noel "Nolan" often--it's her favorite mispronunciation. We all wish she'd call Micah "Malcolm" more often, as that's our favorite of her attempts. But it's usually "Mike" or "Michael," of course. For me, it used to be "Jenny Lou" (a la Rachel's Twodad appellations), but she hasn't really called me that in a while. Just "Jenny" now.