A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Italian by any other name.....

When I was a kid, I always wanted a nickname. Felt very deprived because I didn't have one. You know, something cute like Tiny or Blondie or Goofy or Dutch or something other than plain old Sandi.

There were so many people in my family with nicknames that I never understood my parent's slight when it came to me. Joe was Sonny. Mary was Butch. Ann was Babe. Carm was Cookie. Pat was Patty Boy (which was cute when he was a kid - not so much now that he's 68!). My dad's "gang" when he was growing up in Chicago had names for each other. My uncle was Dolly Dimples, my dad was Hot Dog. Until the day my uncle died at 83 he still called my dad "Hot". It was commonly known at the nursing home where they both lived.

Of course, I'm not sure if this was an Italian thing, or based on the fact that all of these people got their nicknames growing up in Chicago. Maybe because I grew up in Tucson, it was just too damn hot to deal with nicknames. Don't know. But I didn't have one nor did my sibs.

My mother and her sister had names for each other that derived from not being able to say their complete names (again, when they were in Chicago). My mother's name was Rosemarie and in Italian that's Rosaned. Aunt Mary couldn't say that as a little girl so she called her "Nawna" . My aunt's name in Italian was Maried which became "Mada". All their lives that was their nicknames - even their parents and husbands often referred to them in that way.

Of course, being Italian my grandmother was Nani Gene and grandfather was Papa Jim. Although his name was John Anthony so no one knew where the "Jim" had come from. It was one of our unsolved family mysteries. By the way, for those of you non-Italians out there, there is a strict rule or code that states all Italian males must have Anthony, Frank, Nick, or John somewhere in their name. And all females must have Marie or Theresa is some form. Thus it is spoken.

I guess now that I'm in my 60's I should be greatful that I don't have some silly little nickname that clings to me like nylons on velcro. Hey, at least I still have Babushka!! And I hope that never changes.


Jenni said...

Perhaps someday Babushka will evolve into "Babs" or "Babu?"

You do have one nickname - Jeff calls you "Sans" (as in Coomic Sans).

Fleur de Lisa said...

I am still laughing about the Anthony, Frank, Theresa, Marie thing!

Babu-- that's cute. :)

I don't really have a true nickname either.

Just Laura said...

I like Babu. Mommy comes from the love of a child and Babushka the love of a grand-child. I'd rather have a badge such as those than a nick name any day.

I do know what you mean though. Laura just couldn't be shortened into anything and string-bean wasn't something I held dear. =)

icanseeclearlynow said...

i love making up pet/nicknames for people, myself included. i call my daughters twinkle and shrimp. if i were you i'd give myself my own nickname.

i LOVE babushka. where'd that come from?




My nickname was "Sparky!"