April 1, 2005

Things that remind me of Pop.

Originally uploaded by anna banana.
My grandfather -- Pop -- used to call me Anna Banana. I was struck by this photograph I found on Flickr -- just following some links.

Family nicknames are nice. Did I ever tell you that my mother, for many years, called me Susie (not all of the time, but a lot of the time). She called my sister Pat (and her name wasn't Pat). And she called my brother Sam (and his name wasn't Sam). Strangely, she often called him Sam the Cake Man.

This calls to mind a very old TV commercial that had the sweet tag line "Mothers are strange... yeah, they are."

UPDATE: The ad copy should read "Mothers are like that ... yeah, they are." Don't know why I dredged that up from the past.

ANOTHER UPDATE: An emailer writes:
[My family nickname] was Suze (Sooze). For some reason I rebelled against it in about 4th grade. In junior high I began to hate (still do at age 58) my name, Myrna, and wanted Suze back -- but it was too late -- they couldn't get back into the swing of it.

I've always liked this old proverb: "A child that is loved has many names."
I love the name Myrna! If the vowels switched places, it would be Marny, which would be quite dull. Putting a "y" in the first syllable of a name is distinctive, because there are so many names with a "y" on the end, and "y" is so often excluded from the early part of words and relegated to the tail end. This is why "Cynthia" is such a great name, and if you're lucky enough to have it, you shouldn't use the nickname "Cindy." And don't think you can fix the nickname by writing in "Cyndi," because that just looks wrong -- it makes me feel cynical ... cyndical ... cylindrical. It makes me think of cyanide. But "Myrna," I like.

Let me add that my mother not only called my sister Pat, but frequently Princess Pat. My "Susie" did not have an extra part, like Princess Pat and Sam the Cake Man. Somehow, my siblings were named as if they were characters that had wandered out of a storybook I didn't know. Just now, I Googled "Sam the Cake Man" to see if maybe there was a fictional character of some kind, but the search came up empty. How about "Princess Pat"? Hmmm... there's this campfire song, which introduces new mysteries: "The Rickabamboo/Now what is that?"

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