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?

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

19 thoughts on “Nicknames

  1. I had/have too many nicknames to count.

    I’ll give you my version of nicknames I had for my Dad’s wives 🙂

    To my knowledge, my Dad was married SEVEN times. Mother being his first wife, then #’s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7.

    Most of the time, I refer to them as numbers as it is/was easier to remember;
    1 Mom, just younger than him.
    2 Gladys, a couple years older than him.
    3 Leona, 4 years older than me.
    4 Carol, 34 years younger than him
    5 Betty, 10 years younger than him
    6 Wanda 15 years younger than him.
    7 Erna 10 years younger than him
    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

    • Holy cats, Larry!
      Your dad had more wives than my dad had kids. (He calls us by number sometimes, too.)
      I have just one question: Did he have those wives one at a time or all at once?
      Inquiring minds. 🙂

      • He was ethical, I think, and didn’t have more than ONE at a time. 🙂
        When Judy and I were first married, Dad was on #6. I’m thinkin Judy may have been concerned about me for a while.

        But she did ask him how he kept the names straight?

        He said they all answered to “Honey, Sweetheart and Darling”

        None of his wives ever remarried and Judy said “Mr Lawrence, you were either awfully good or awfully bad?”

        It’s a full time job keeping that woman in line. 🙂

        • Oh, how funny. Judy can read them, can’t she?
          It’s hard to believe none of the seven ever remarried. What a guy! I wonder if they parted on good terms each time?
          BTW: If you can keep Judy in line, you’re even better than I thought. 😉

  2. You’re too kind. 🙂
    In case cousin Judy Campbell reads this string of conversation, I owe it all to her.
    I want to be like her when I grow up.

  3. LL…being acquainted forever with your main squeeze, Judy, what’s the story about her nickname, Sheena Queen of the Jungle?
    Fortunately or unfortunately, my family didn’t do nicknames but the guys in school did a number on me…dracula for a while; Pappy forever.

    • Dad and Judy are cousins, but I’ve never heard about Sheena, Steve. Thanks for sharing. Larry Lawrence, it’s your turn!
      Steve–Great Nicknames! Was that high school or college?

      • Sheena the Jungle Girl was name Steve gave to Judy when she played basketball, running wild with long hair and HOT looking legs. Guess who has the keyboard? 🙂

        • Ah, “Hot Legs” is another good name for “Dude-y Kay” ~ Daddy’s nickname for Judy! Think she should rename her consignment clothing shop now??? Edrus & Hot Legs’ Consignment Clothing Store????

  4. Both nicknames were in high school. Not sure about dracula; pappy was after Pappy Beaver who lived on the corner across from the Shoemaker’s and Mitchel’s. Pappy Beaver walked with a sort of hitch and supposedly I did also, hence the nickname.
    LL…the wild hair yes, hot legs could get me hurt though.

    • You guys are a hoot! LOL. I remember where Beavers lived. Right next door to us. (The only memory I have of living in The Ford was with Grandmother and Granddad there on Highway 51.) I don’t remember ever seeing Pappy though.

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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