8 03 2013

Do you have a favorite nickname for your kids-something you call them when no one other than family is around? My wife gave each of our three sons a nickname before they even left the hospital. I won’t tell you what they are because if I post their alternate monikers in a public forum, they may stop helping me with my phone and my computer and all the other electronic gadgets around the house. I will tell you that, unlike my wife, I used the same nickname for each one- Bud. Didn’t matter which one I was addressing, he was, and still is Bud. It always worked out and they never seemed to mind. To me, Bud bespeaks of closeness without lace or sap. Call it mannish endearment. I mean, how would one of my sons feel if I referred to him as Pug or Pogo?Well recently, I was just sittin’ and thinkin’ and for some reason, I thought of one of my favorite uncles. I had a favorite uncle on my mother’s side of the family. That would be my uncle Clarence. And then my favorite on my daddy’s side was Uncle Doot. I know that’s a peculiar name but just hold on.

As it turns out, my grandparents on Daddy’s side also gave their kids, at least the boys, nicknames. My Uncle Bernice was Doot. Daddy was Doodle. And then there was one more son whom we called, oddly enough, Uncle Bud. To this day I can’t tell you if Bud was his real name or a nickname. That, dear reader, is the heart of this story.

My sisters, Alice (L) and Kay (R) with Uncle Doot around 1947

My sisters, Alice (L) and Kay (R) with Uncle Doot around 1947

I was about 13 years old and had a friend who happened to live next door to Uncle Doot. I was visiting her one day when my uncle pulled into his driveway. I saw him through the window and commented to my friend, something like, “My Uncle Doot is home.”

She said, “Your uncle who?”

I repeated, “Uncle Doot.” Well, I don’t think she has stopped laughing yet. She and everyone else outside the family knew him by his real name but all I had ever heard, at least until that day, was Doot. How humiliating to be the last person in the free world to know the name of his own uncle!

So when you decide to give your kids some endearing nickname like Snooky or Bo-Bo or even Bud, be sure to throw their real name in once in a while so your kids won’t grow up and one day embarrass themselves in front of their friends or the world.





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