Friday, November 19, 2010

But you doesn't hasta call me Johnson!

Remember that old commercial? The kids and I got to talking about names and nicknames today, and I remembered it. (Ray J. Johnson)

When Andrew was born we named him Thomas Andrew Helms II, and I announced that he would be called Andrew or Drew, but not Andy. When he was a baby he called "candy" "nan-dandy", so my sister Barbara called him "NanDandrew" as a joke. I don't think I'd dare call him that now. He called himself Baby, though, until he was about three years old. And instead of saying "my" or "mine" he would say "Baby's". When he was two years old he is on a video getting off a boat in Florida and walking toward the bank of Matanzas Bay with his hand held out toward us, saying, "Where's Baby's fishing pole?"

When we knew I was going to have a daughter we decided to name her Eler Elizabeth and call her Eler Beth. When she was a baby she couldn't pronounce her own name correctly, but said it as "Air-Bets," and she referred to herself as Air-Bets. One time Thomas called her "punkin" and she said, "I not punkin! I Air-Bets!" So once in a while I will still call her Air-Bets.

Thomas has always preferred to be called Thomas and not Tom or Tommy. But some older people who have known him since he was a teenager call him Tommy because that's what they called him then. As a teen he would never have corrected them, so he doesn't correct them now, of course. But if anyone who should know better calls him Tom or Tommy I will pointedly call him Thomas. I prefer Thomas, and besides, I think it's proper to call someone by what they prefer. As a matter of fact, when we first met I asked him what he preferred to be called.

When I was a very little girl I was called Franki. My middle name is Frances, after my mother's middle name. My mother was named after both her grandmothers, Eler and Frances. Her grandmother Frances went by Franki. My father's mother knew my great-grandmother Frances and knew that she was called Franki, so she's the one who started calling me Franki. Mom and Dad never called me that, but my sisters did. I didn't know that Mamaw Dowell was the one who started it, and I never liked it when I was little. I thought it was my sisters making fun of me. When I was older I thought it was rather cute, and then when I found out that my grandmother was the one who had given me the name, I liked it. But at the time I liked my name, Lori, and that is what I wanted to be called. It was, I think, one of the very few things that I, as a young child and the youngest of seven, felt that was my very own. (I think little kids think that way at times. I mean, really, when you think of it, what do they really own besides their own names?)

Names were and are important to me. So, how do you feel about nicknames? Do people ever get your name wrong or pronounce it wrong? I hate when people call me Laura or Laurie (lar-ee). "It is Lor-ee, with an 'I'," I will say.


Paula said...

My last name is the one that gets murdered. When someone asks how to pronounce my name I say Lieck like a leak in the roof. Then they laugh and sometime remember next time.

Gerry said...

I was named Geraldine but nobody called me that. Another family had a Geraldine they proudly called that like she was royalty, but my parents were more comfortable with Gerry. Only school teachers called me Geraldine so I didn't like it. I finally got up the nerve when I was past 70 to drop Geraldine and go by Gerry King Hitt. So I find your discussion about names very interesting. All rings true. Eler Beth is an unusual name. I am glad to know where the Eler comes from. I think Lori is a beautiful name and is pronounced how it is spelled. A mystery why people mispronounce a name like that.

Lori said...

Gerry, Eler Beth is named after both of her grandmothers, just as my mother was named after both of her grandmothers.

Paula, I'm glad to know the proper way to pronounce your last name!

Lisa said...

Speaking of names, I wish my parents had given me a name with a little more flounce to it than just Lisa. When I was born Elvis was popular and of course everyone named their daughters after his daughter. I wanted to be a Jennifer or a Melissa or something with some flash to it. LOL! In general I have always liked my name but now I like it even better because I am not in a classroom with two other Lisa's. We would all look up when called upon... seldom did I have a class without another Lisa in it.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I answer to Rich because people only remember part of my name (Ken Riches).

lisaschaos said...

My son, Mikal, only goes by Mikal, never ever in his life by Mike, although sometimes I teasingly call him Mikey, lol. I was especially interested in you Eler Beth because I had wondered about her name before. :0)

My mom calls me many names, so many in fact that a guy once asked (when I was little) what my name was since she had just called me so many things - Lisa, Lee, Ree, Reese - that's all I can think of right now though. lol