Throwback Thursday #10 – Nicknames

Throwback Thursday Memory Blog Hop is mine this week. Maggie and I take turns posting this challenge every Thursday. Participation is easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how nicknames have affected my life. Sometimes people have silly nicknames and sometimes they become a part of who we are. Nicknames can be given to show friendship, to show affection, to bully, to show belonging, or to evoke fear.

Did you grow up with a nickname? Was the nickname a form of endearment or a shielded criticism? Has your nickname influenced you in any way? Did you ever give a nickname to a family member? Have you tried to get rid of a nickname?  If you could give yourself your own nickname what might it be?

My response follows.
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OK, I am really going out on a limb here. I am divulging a secret I have kept for over fifty years. A silly secret, but mine anyway. 

When I was a kid, all three of us kids had nicknames. My older brother wasn’t called his very often. He could get crazy mad. My younger brother had a silly nickname because at some point as a little kid he got stuck in a sewer backup. His nickname started with “stinky.” Then it morphed into _____pot. I could feel his pain about being reminded of stinking in the very real sense of the word. 

I can’t say I ever knew why I got my nickname, just that I did. Obviously, my name is Lauren. Somehow, it got changed to Lolly. I was Lolly for a long time. I liked the name until I entered first grade. Mrs. Bomb (yes that was her name) gently told me that first graders did not go by nicknames because we were too mature for that. I began to hate being called Lolly because I saw it as a name for a “baby.”  It got so bad, I would have a crying fit if anyone called me Lolly.  Now, of course, that seems so silly. But at the time, it was very serious to me. 

There are many loving nicknames in my family. A favorite story is my mom’s nickname. She did not like her given name. Her family always called her Bunny. (My cousin still refers to her by that name to this day.) At some point in school her teacher refused to call her Bunny. It became a stand-off. The teacher would use her given name, and my mom refused to answer to it. The teacher reused to call her by her nickname. The two ended up in the principal’s office ready to duke it out. The principal asked for each of them to compromise. From the stories I have been told, the teacher offered the name Bonnie instead of Bunny. My mom accepted it, and as they say….. the rest is history.

My uncle’s nickname was Tinker. I don’t know the story behind that either. I do know, that as an adult, if I called to talk to him and used the name Tinker I got a shocked gasp on the line. His wife would laugh and say that most people would be chastised to the nth degree if they used that nickname. He knew it was a loving name from me though.

My older daughter was nicknamed Tree from my nephew. That’s as much of her name that he could say. It stuck, and for years everyone in the family called her Tree. As a teen it morphed to Trini Jeans. She always seemed to like the family calling her that. The funny thing was that I disliked anyone outside the family calling her by anything but her full name.

My last step-dad (the one that took) was not given a name at birth. He was given two initials. I believe, it was when he went into the military, that they made him provide a full name. So, basically, he named himself.  Growing up, his family called him “Dub” for the first initial W.   

I think most of our nicknames are the product of love, not to embarrass. My sweet dog Annie, is known to me as Annie Pants. I honestly don’t know if I heard my daughter call her that, or if I just started calling her that on occasion. Either way, it is given out of love. 


34 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #10 – Nicknames

  1. Great topic, Lauren. My best friend’s name was Susie – or so I thought. It wasn’t until we went to school I learned her name was Darlene. Her dad always called her Susie Q and the Susie just stuck. Everyone still calls her Susie or Sue to this day.

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  2. I had several different nicknames, mostly based on variations of either my first or last name. None caused me grief but one (Garff) was based on my dad’s bad handwriting of my first name on an official form. At work, I accidentally stumbled on a behind-my-back nickname “Spoon” my boss apparently coined because of a perceived impression that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

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      1. I was shocked when I discovered it because we had been on such good terms. It was the 1980’s. I was young, he was older, and I was transferring for a promotional opportunity. I guess I was too proud to let anyone know it bothered me.

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  3. I like that story about your Mom’s teacher refusing to call her by her nickname and then the principal deciding they should each compromise. Mrs. Bomb definitely sounds like a rather blunt teacher to me though.

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