I remember in upper elementary school and junior high before the teacher took roll on the first day of school, they would say “If there’s something else you’d like to be called, please let me know.” Students like Johnathan preferred John, or Michael’s to Mike, Nicole’s went to Nicki, and the like. I recall one girl who said she went by B.J., but the teacher adamantly refused to call her that! Now in my classroom there are Madison’s that prefer Maddie, and Abigail’s that shorten it to Abby. I was always just Angel. I secretly wanted to make one up for myself, but I’ve never been good at naming anything. People would ask me if it was short for Angela, and no, it’s just Angel.
The story behind my name as reported by my mother, goes something like this. My parents hadn’t picked out a name yet, my mom went into labor in the early morning, the hateful nurse on duty didn’t believe my mom when she warned her she was about to spit out a kid, so she hum-hawed around and didn’t call the doctor, therefore the doctor didn’t arrive in time and I was born with only my mom and the hateful nurse. My mother states that she said the following beautiful words, “She’s such an angel. All she needs is wings.”
They left the hospital a couple days later, only to have the hospital call the house informing my mom that a birth certificate needed to be assigned and I hadn’t been given a name yet. So my mom places the phone on her shoulder and hollers to my dad in the other room that they need to decide on a name. From there, the story is foggy. I do know my dad didn’t want me to be called Angel because it wouldn’t look good if I turned out to be a bar maid. But nonetheless I ended up as Angel, which might reveal something about my parents’ marriage.
The story behind my name as told by me, goes something like this. I was the fourth child so by this time no one gave a crap, as evidenced by my baby book which only has the first page filled in, minus the hateful nurse’s name.
I’ve always liked nicknames and I’ve always felt a little bit left out that I’ve never had one. I like an original nickname. We know of one fellow called Punk and another Button. I also like nicknames that just don’t fit with given names.
My grandfather on my mother’s side had a nickname for almost everybody. And not just the kind that you shorten or make cute like Bill to Billy.
Here’s a run-down of some of my family members and their nicknames that Pop christened them with, I think. There may be a mistake or two or an extra explanation and hopefully someone will pipe in and correct me.
(cousin) David Russell—a.k.a. Rusty
(cousin) Jay Scott—a.k.a. Charlie
(cousin) Curtis—a.k.a. Theophilis shortened to sophilis
(brother) Stan—a.k.a. Johnny
(brother) Steve— a.k.a. Stoop supposedly for stupendous, but I know Steve-O and it makes me wonder.
Aunt Frances—-a.k.a. Speedy
Aunt Bert—a.k.a. Shorty
(mom) Anne— a.k.a. Annabelle
(great aunt) Mary— a.k.a. Bummer
He died soon after I was born and he never nicknamed me. I wonder what he might’ve called me. His nicknaming reminds me of a friend of Jason’s. His name is Will but friends know him by Wild West Willy.
He has an art for naming. He’s got a ranch called the Rocking Sombrero and gets ribbed a little by friends that his brand looks a little too much like the Arby’s hat. He is the one who dubbed Jason J-Dub, his horse is called Pidinker, his dog Itty-Bitty, and his grandson Leroy, although not his given name of course.
The closest I’ve ever gotten to a nickname is auntie. My niece Ashlynn calls me that, and like mothers and fathers who call each other mom and dad, Jason picked it up, now some friends call me that from time to time.
What about you? Are you nicknamed? Do you love it or hate it?