Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.



I know people who insist that everyone use their children’s proper names. Can’t be substituted or shortened, and I’ve never understood that. I’ve always had the feeling that if someone really likes me, they’ll have a nickname for me.

And I nickname those I love.

Maybe that’s because my dad nicknamed me Trudy Fair almost as soon as I was born. That wasn’t the first nickname in our family.

When Dad was a boy, Uncle Jim’s girls called him Joey. He had another acquaintance who called him Hossfly. He never seemed to mind nicknames (can’t blame a man named Carol for adopting other names, can you?)  so his kids never minded either.

Mama was Sue. (Shortened from Mary Sue.) I never heard of another true nickname, but a lot of people called her Liz. (As in Taylor.)

Trudy was about it for me, but Sister Debbie is called Bug. That’s short for Deedlebug, which was derived (I think) from her initials–DD.

As Sister Cindy said in her comment once, she’s Tinny-WooWoo. Sometimes, Speedy Gonzolas.

Sister Lisa is called #4 and Leeka Beth. (Phonetic spelling, guys!) Sometimes, like on the basket ball court or on a track, she was Greased Lightning.

Right away after he was born, #4 named Brother Jeffrey. “Boy!” (After Mama had four girls, even #4 was impressed by the miniature male in our house.) Uncle Frank named Jeffrey Buck, and calls him that to this day.

Amy answers to Amia Pizzaria.

While our family came up with some pretty good names, I think UF (Uncle Frank) has a PHD in nicknaming. He passed out names and never forgets to use them.

To Frank, I’m always Tuthan. (Debbie had trouble with S and he’s mimicking her 2 year old speech.) I always call Frank “Uncle Hank”–the way my oldest son pronounced his name.

My #1 son was dubbed Rooster a long time ago, and Frank’s grandsons are Boston (there’s a story there and I don’t know it) and Snake. (Sorry, there’s another grandson who’s named, but I can’t remember his handle.)

Frank’s son’s fiancee is Chickadee, his granddaughter is Menderella. He calls my #2 son “Matthew P Coletrain.”

In our home, we had a few renames, too. Danny Donkey from my Mom, Mattew (no th sound) Pocket (courtesy of Bradley) and Buggy (The name Matt first called Bradley.)

And even my DILs have been crowned–I call China, Shiny, and Nikki, Nicolette (a character on Big Love.)

And I’m working on the name for our DIL2b.

What do they call you when you’re at home?