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.