Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 22, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 22, 2004 – My mother’s name was Mary Margaret. When I was born my father wanted to call me Mary, but my mother would have none of it. She imagined big Mary and little Mary, old Mary and young Mary. Instead they settled on Rosemary. If that wasn’t bad enough, my middle name is Frances. They did not think that one day I would grow up and be struck with these two (as I saw it) little old lady names. I so wanted to be Stephanie!
So that’s the way I saw it when I was a kid. I’ve never felt like a ‘Rosemary’. I still don’t. I think I should have a blue rinse in my hair and a perm at the salon every second month. To really fit that name I should be a doting aunt with a friend named Pearl. In public school I had a short go as Rosie, but luckily that didn’t stick. Then when I was fourteen the fates intervened and I was christened with my first serious nickname.
I was walking down a hill with a friend of mine. She noticed that I slapped my feet down very heavily when I walked and said I sounded like Thumper the Rabbit – of Bambi fame. That stuck, I was Thumper all through high school and university. Another high school friend – Donna – became Twitch. Leanne Farmer was known simply as Farm. I still run into people from time to time who know me as Thumper.
In my mid-twenties I was working in the fashion business as a Buyer and a supplier of mine started to call me Roe – which is a familiar short form for Rosemary. I didn’t mind a bit. In fact I think of myself as Roe. When I’m leaving a message for friends and family I automatically say, “Hi, it’s Roe calling”. I have yet another nickname that started about nine years ago when a friend of mine and I were laughing about my ‘pin head’ and her ‘big face’. You can see where that ended up. She’s Big and I’m Pin. I’ve sort of adjusted to my name these days. In business, I answer to Rosemary and perhaps when I’m seventy, I’ll feel that I’ve finally grown into my name. But in the meantime, I’m used to either Pin or Roe – it feels more like me.
My father’s name was Robert Clifford Wright – but he was known for years as Charlie, thus named by my brother for the Pogo comic strip about the Cheerful Charlies. I named my friend Margaret – Miggs soon after I met her and her daughter Paige became Roo, a name I still call her. Miggs actually has an extended name that we laugh about whenever we talk – Miggs – Marina (because she once had a blue and white cotton sweater with the word marina stitched across the front) Tina Turner (because she had a big hair perm one year) Tacoma (afer the street where she bought her first house) Shaftesbury (after the street where she bought here second house) Sunshine (I can’t remember why) Lightfoot (because she once met Gordon Lightfoot at a party and had no idea who he was) and Garrow after a man she dated a few times.
So she became Miggs Marina Tina Turner Tacoma Shaftesbury Sunshine Lightfoot Garrow. Now that’s a name worthy of my friend Marg. Marg’s mother became Roy after her cataract surgery because she wore dark glasses reminiscent of Roy Orbison. For some reason Roy thought I looked like a Hildegarde and called me that all the years I knew her. Marg’s husband Tony is The Bowtie.
I’ve called my sister-in-law Dorothy – Dee, since I met her. She’s not fond of the name but it’s how I think of her. Audrey became Dweenie and her boyfriend Andrew is The Cap. My broker – Larry is His Larriness. One of our receptionists Tracy is Rabbit and Gaby our administrator is Gabaroontoon or Gabinski.
My Precious Rescue Boy – Augie
Pets are not immune either. Augie is (Augie-Bogie – The Auginator or Augie Boglatoose) , Ziggy is Diggy-Piggy, my brothers cats Hilda and Annie have become Hilda-Pilda and Annie-Banani (head of cat crime in the city of Toronto). My friend Jackie has managed to remain just that, but I refer to her husband Fred as Big Handy Current Fred. That started years ago because he was a big guy, could do things around the house and she was currently dating him.
My long time friend Sima is Seamsterelli. I once had a French car I called Vimy – but that soon deteriorated into Vim the Bim. In highschool, twelve of us hung around together, and we became The Dirty Dozen.
What is at the root of this naming frenzy and where oh where will it end? This re-naming of people, places and things? My answer is – probably no time soon, maybe never. So much is taken way too seriously in life. It’s necessary to find comic relief and laughter at every turn, so why not in a name? It’s a perfect chance for fun. A chance to be silly and childlike – something most of us should do more often.
But rest assured, should our paths ever cross, I am an equal opportunity name changer.
No one is immune. What fun!