Frank Charney's Sunday Postcard
May 18, 2008
Nicknames past and present
In my May 11 Sunday Post I listed the nicknames of three recently deceased Nanty Glo males that I remembered from my days growing up in Nanty Glo. Their nicknames of Bunzo, Muck, and Pee-Wee always stuck with me better than their baptismal names of Calvin, Jack, and John respectively.
A nickname may be a familiar or truncated form of the proper name, such as Bob or Bobby for Robert or Kate or Cass for Catherine. On the Nanty Glo email list, names like General Nuisance and Super Democrat have originated as a result of that person's political beliefs or preferences.
On the national scale there are the names of Dubya for President George W. Bush, Pootie-Poot for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and oldsters can easily recall "Ike" for General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sports figures are good at acquiring nicknames like Shaq for Shaquill O'Neill and Babe for George Herman Ruth. Most of us remember irascible people that we perhaps once encountered, for which we reserve our own name for them.
My generation of the '40's and the '50's excelled at originating nicknames, whether flattering or demeaning. My 1950 yearbook lists Bo, Bull, Fid, Freckles, Gook, Gump, Half Pint, Hobe, Hoot, Hot-Shot, Jetty Bean, Moosey, Peck, Pepe, Rainbow, Salty, Scuppy, Slick, Smiles, Speed, Web and Zootsie. Additional names like Stush and Yunko added a Slavic flavor. Not in the Yearbook were names used in private circles like Bueben Hocker (a real original), Bohunk, Hob-Nob, and Slime. One particular male's name of "Bird Eggs" I always thought was a classic.
In a revelation outside of the church confessional to Nanty Glo web site members, I was called "Sonny" as a youngster, because I once had light yellow hair. My evidence of this fact is an early picture I provided to the Nanty Glo web site in its early days, perhaps not seen by all. See http://www.nantyglo.com/frm37.htm..