“My last two girlfriends were named Anna, though the second one spelled her name backwards. So instead of Anna, it was spelled Anna, and that’s how I came to tell the two apart.

Today I was going to beg off from Coffee. I woke up with a headache, Gracie is barking at the world and I’m cold. Yup, I am also whining. The house is so cold my furnace would have gone on this morning. I even put on some socks and a sweatshirt. I really do miss my slippers, but they are gone now, gone where slippers go when they are passed their prime.

I got to thinking about names this morning. Who knows why? My brain just takes off on its own sometimes and brings me along for the ride. When I was growing up, there were, counting me, three Kathleen’s in my class and two or three Catherine’s. Mary by itself or combined with Alice or Ann was well represented. Patricia was a big one, and they were all either Pat or Patty, not a Trish among them and not one Patty with an i instead of a y. Susan, Donna and Carol rounded out many of the rest of the names of my classmates. My friend Maria was the only Maria, and there was only one Beatrice. My two best high school friends were Bobby and Jimmy. Add David, John, Michael and Tommy, and those were the names of most of the boys in my class. There was only one Henry, and he was called Henny.

It strikes me funny when nicknames are longer than the full names. Johnny is one of them and Pauly is another. I guess John is just too pedestrian. Nicknames also had to end in y, a rule of thumb back then. Think Billy, Larry, Ronny, Ricky or Joey. I knew them all. They were all in my class.

Now there are no rules for names. Make up one if you want. Name your kid after a city, maybe even the one where he or she was conceived, or after a planet or whatever strikes your fancy. If you’re a celebrity, be cutesy or even a bit strange. Think North West, Bodhi Rain and Cricket. I don’t know about you but I’d hate to be named after a bug. Hello, I’m mosquito!

My grand-nephews are Ryder, son of my nephew Ryan, and Declan, son of my niece Sarah. I have another grandnephew arriving in August and a grandniece in late July. Declan’s brother will be Jackson with the middle name George and will be called Jack a popular name in itself. Ryder’s sister will be Georgina, an uncommon name, and will be called Georgie. I like that. Both are named after my father. I like that part the most.

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34 Comments on ““My last two girlfriends were named Anna, though the second one spelled her name backwards. So instead of Anna, it was spelled Anna, and that’s how I came to tell the two apart.

  1. Hedley Says:

    My Grandfathers were Jack and Geoff. My parents had a strong sense of humour.

  2. splendidone Says:

    Hi Kat! I am always surprised at how people become their names to us and when we hear a name, our thoughts instantly travel to that person. . Whenever I hear the name Kat in conversation, I now immediately think of you. Both my husband and myself have brothers named Brian and they both named their oldest sons Brian as well. Conversations get pretty interesting trying to pinpoint who is who.

    • katry Says:

      Hi splendid,
      I agree with duplicates. My father and brother were both George. We would always ask George or Georgie. I have a cousin named Al after his father. Sadly they became big Al and little Al and sadder still, little Al was short.

  3. olof1 Says:

    Almost all nick names ends with an e over here and has since as long as we can remember. I didn’t know of anyone by my name in school, Christer. But when I started to work at Volvo we suddenly were five at the same department 🙂 🙂 🙂 It turns out that Christer was one of the most popular names during the early sixties 🙂

    It seems all girls back then were called either Maria or Anna and boys in Gothenburg were usually called Glenn. The odd thing is that outside Gothenburg Glenn is almost unknown.

    It’s much the same with names over here too now days but there are limits to what a child can be called, they can’t give the child a too wierd name because the authorities won’t allow it, mostly to protect the child from being bullied when it grows up.

    Cold here today, it didn’t pass 54F and the rain has just stopped to fall, hopefully it will be a bit warmer tomorrow.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      I don’t know Christers but we do have Christian as a boy’s name. I knew a Glenn or maybe two, but it wasn’t ever too popular.

      Names go through trends and appear and disappear. Names from the Bible were popular for a while. Now seldom.

      There is no one here who has any say over a child’s name. I went to college with a guy whose last name was White and he neared his daughter Snow. He did enjoy his drugs I think.

      The day outside is nice and warm. Inside is still chilly.

      Have a great evening!

    • Caryn Says:

      Ah, so that’s where the How Glenn Are You? thing came from! I was very Glenn but I didn’t know why it was Glenn which would seem to contradict the results. 😀 But now I know.

  4. flyboybob Says:

    When I was born my mother made a big deal that I was to be called Robert and not Bob or Bobby. I just found this out last week when I was in New Jersey visiting with my 81 year old cousin. When was in High School, after my mother passed away, I began being called Bob and it has stuck all these years. My sister still calls me Robert. I will answer to anything except late for dinner.

    Men’s names are fairly standard. Michael is the most popular boy’s name followed by names like Tom, Jeffery and William or Bill. Harry and George named boys were in the minority.

    The girls names go through cycles. Think of all the Tiffany, Sky and Savannah grandmother’s taking care of all their Mabel and Beatrice granddaughters. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Mostly the guys were Bob, but I knew a couple of Robs as well. I don’t think I knew a Robert. I get called Kathleen by a few people, even a couple of friends, but they do alternate between that and Kat.

      I don’t know any Harry or George either. On the street we have a Brandon, Nick, Riley, Joey, Ben, Will and one more I don’t remember. My street is small but we have 7 kids all 8 and under.

      My grandmothers were Katherine and Cecilia. I do know both a Tiffany and a Savannah. In Ghana, the names were mostly old-fashioned like Grace, Agatha, Francisca and Rose.

      • flyboybob Says:

        A very southern thing was using a nickname for a first name. I worked for a Jimmy and worked with a Sammy. They were not named James or Samuel but their legal names were Jimmy and Sammy.

        My mother in law was a substitute elementary school teacher on the South side of Chicago years ago. She had a couple of little girls in her class named Vagina and a Placenta.

      • katry Says:

        I don’t even have a thing to say about those girls’ names. How could parents do that?

        I guess the South is a bit more casual with names though Jack, not Jackson, as a first name has become common here.

  5. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Only knew one other Coleen growing up…Colleen Norkus and I met in HS and yes, she spelled it with two “L’s”…I do not know why Mom gave me only the one…

    This also reminds me of my dear friend Helena, (who was born Helen and changed it up)…her son’s name is Colin. When Colin and I are together and she suddenly yells “HEY COL!” we both reply “WHAT!?”

    We all get a laugh out of that…

    Waving on a lovely day…

    Coleen (with one L)

    • katry Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      The one L gives you singularity as most I know have two. A Helen I knew but never a Helena.

      Kat was always the first name my niece and nephews could say and the same with their kids. My sister Sheila has to wait a while.

      Waving back on a really lovely day here too!!

  6. Birgit Says:

    The curse of a popular name, far to many Birgits at my age over here. We sometimes add the first letter of our last name to make a distinction.
    I hope your headache is gone and you feel better now.

    • katry Says:

      No Birgit’s here. Bridget is as close as we get.

      Thanks, headache is gone. I got energized by two o’clock and made my bed, watered plants then took a shower. I felt accomplished.

  7. im6 Says:

    Maybe someone knows (especially someone from Massachusetts) why Jack is a nickname for John (as in Kennedy). Never understood that. And you haven’t lived unless you’ve grown up in the South where it seems every small boy is called Bubba at one time or another.

    • katry Says:

      I have no explanation. My uncle John is my uncle Jack. I did find some ideas.

    • flyboybob Says:

      Bubba is a colloquialism for brother. Usually it’s the younger boy who gets the nickname from his older brother who is too young to say brother.

      I know a Jack who is really named John and he is from New Jersey which is not exactly in New England.

      A lot of older Jewish men named Jacob called themselves Jack to hide their Jewishness. Jacob was not a popular American male name in those days. Also Isreal became Irving and Hyman became Harold in an attempt to Americanize their names.

      • katry Says:

        Jacob is an all purpose name now and carries no religious affiliation. Irving and Harold have faded away as names here. I don’t know any and don’t remember any.

        I didn’t know the background of Bubba. Thanks!

      • im6 Says:

        Well, I was an only child, so I guess my mother had other reasons for calling me Bubba. That was when I was good. When I was bad, I got the “both first and middle name” treatment. When I heard both name being called, I knew I was in trouble and my rear end would soon be saying hello to a belt or switch. It wasn’t child abuse either and I really lament the fact that kids don’t get a good swat now and again. It sure worked for me!

        Thanks for the info about John/Jack, Kat. It may be a regional thing. In Texas, Johns were know as Johnnys and sometimes Jacks became Jackies. But I never knew anyone go from John to Jack.

      • katry Says:

        John to Jack is fairly common here. I never gave it a second thought. As for Bubba, not a one was ever around here. I have always thought it a Southern name.

        I am one of four children and when my mother got really angry she’d mix up our names and once in a while even called us by her sister’s name. That was when she was most riled. I was Kat and my mother sometimes called me Katie. Sheila was Sheila and Maureen has always been Moe. George was Georgie.

  8. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Currently on my street there is a plethora of Bobbys. There is Bob, the father at one end of the street, Bob or Bobby the son across the street and Bobby the totally unrelated at the other end of the street.
    For some odd reason, I am friends with a lot of Helens and Jims of all ages.
    When you turn John into Johnny or Paul into Pauly, it’s not a nickname so much as it is a diminutive of a proper name. As such, it doesn’t have to be shorter. It just has to convey that the bearer is a younger, smaller or, in some cases, female version of the older, bigger or male version.
    I was always Caryn. My brothers sometimes shortened it to Care (pronounced very nasally and without the “r” in true Bostonian fashion). They also spelled it Crayon which became my nickname in high school after I told one of my friends this factoid. Another friend morphed that into Kraken. I was a moody teenager so both were appropriate. 🙂

    It was cool this morning but at 6AM when I took the dogs for a walk the sun was already very warm on my skin. It’s still lovely out but it’s getting much warmer.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      The problem with the diminutives is they often don’t go away. I have a cousin Billy in his 40’s as is his brother Joey. You have your Bobby, the son of Bob.

      My aunt Kathy (who is 5 months younger than I) decided she wanted to be called Katherine and decided this only last year. Everyone ignored her as we have a cousin who has always been Katherine. She, however, calls herself Katherine. Good luck with that one, Kathy.

      Caryn doesn’t really seem to lend itself easily to a nickname though I think Care works a bit. No on the Kracken!

      How is the new dog doing?

      Have a lovely Sunday.

      • Caryn Says:

        I kind of liked Kraken. It spoke to my inner bitch, I guess. 🙂

        Piki Dog pretty much owns the couch unless Rocky wants up and then I have to move Piki Dog out of Rocky’s spot otherwise Rocky will sit on the floor and give me the look that means I must Do Something. They’re like cats.

        How Glenn Are You? was one of those Facebook quizzes on how well you knew Gotenburg Sweden. I came up Very Glenn though I have never been to Sweden never mind Gotenburg. I blamed Christer. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        At least you would’t have to share Kraken with anyone else.

        I’m glad they’re getting along so well and Rocky has assumed his rightful position as alpha dog. In this house Fern rules the roost and even Gracie is wary.

        I think I am not very Glenn.

  9. Jay Bird Says:

    Naming evolution is interesting. I found some rosters of my 5-6th grade soccer teams from two decades ago, and we had the Sarah era (3 on one team!), then the Brandons, some Josh’s and a few Dustins. Popularity changed over the ten years I coached. I’m sure now there would be plenty of Tanner’s and Zoe’s.

    I’m a John, nicknamed Jay. Third such in my extended family. The previous generation had some John’s, nicknamed Jack. I never considered John/Jack as regional.

    I’m named for my maternal grandfather John, who was named for his grandfather John Howe of Boston who fought and died with the Irish Brigade in the Civil War. I’m honored.

    Back in the late-40’s when I was born, Catholic kids had to have a saint’s first name. How did my friend Brian sneak through? I swear half the girls in my grade school class were “Mary —- ” (Elizabeth, Ellen, Patricia, etc.) Most went by their middle names. The Mary Ellen’s used both given names.

    Nicknames are important to kids. They separate friends from authority figures (nuns, cops, doctors). Brian didn’t have a nickname, poor kid!

    Or they identify generations of “heritage names”. My buddy is the third in a line of four “Alfred’s” in his family… His grandfather was Al, his father was Fred, he goes by Skip, and his son (Alfred IV) is Duke. If there’s a fifth Alfred, will he be Bubba? Nah.

    • katry Says:

      Jay Bird,
      I suspect Brian had the middle name of a saint which is how his parents probably sneaked Brian through. My sisters are Sheila and Maureen-no saints there but they are Sheila Ann and Maureen Claire so they squeaked through. I had a friend named Brian and he was Bri most of the time.

      I chuckled at your last paragraph. Alfred became a variety of nicknames.

      In my brother-in-law’s family, the first born son has the initials RLS with the L standing for Lincoln and the S for Smith, and that goes back to the 1870’s. His family has pioneer status in Colorado. My brother-in-law is Rodney Lincoln, his father is Robert Lincoln, my nephew is Ryan Lincoln and his son is Ryder Lincoln. Ryan was told he could name his son anything he wanted but he chose to continue the tradition. I like that about him.

      Most Kathleen’s are Kathy so I like Kat.

      • Jay Bird Says:

        My Kathleen got her nickname pre-birth – Casey. The wife said she didn’t want the poor girl to be stuck with “Kathy” at age 60. Casey fits a foine Irish lass very well! She’s also a folk music fan and “Coffee” subscriber.

        I had forgotten the saint’s middle name trick! Sneaky lot, we Catholics!

      • katry Says:

        I like her nickname. Casey is a fine Irish name as is Kathleen. I have always liked my name. I’m glad to have another Kathleen as a Coffee subscriber.

        We are a sneaky lot indeed!

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