ThreeGraces

My multiple personalities are all named Grace. I aspire to be like Grace Kelly the Princess of Monaco, regal and respected. But most days I am more like Gracie Allen, the comedienne wife of George Burns. Her greatest strength was playing the ditz, a role I relish. And days that I pull on my black leather chaps and wrap my arms 'round my husband to cruise on the Harley, I feel like Grace Slick, female rocker and all around bad-mamma-jamma.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Names...

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I've had a great week! I love my job! More than that, I love the relationships that have developed because of it. Wednesday I spent nearly 4 hours laughing and chatting with Audrey. This week I had a phone message from Bemis; blogged with Nate; talked with Kristy, Kat, Keegie, Kristin, Erin, Jen, Marie, Duenke, and Adam; went out to eat with Trena; worked with Ryan; made lunch plans for next week with Jeremy; got a surprise knock at my door from Josiah; laughed and cried (and danced in my heart) with Lonette. My life continues to be blessed by the students of Malone College. Thank you!

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In one tangent of the conversation with Audrey, we discussed nicknames. I was never really aware that I had so many until I got married and Tom became confused at family gatherings. "Who's Biz? Your dad was looking at you when he said it." Yes, I'm Biz. (see a previous blog) Have you ever read the children's magazine Highlights in the doctor's office? When I was a child it contained a cartoon about a family of bears. The children were named Poozy and Woozy. Yup, that one stuck, too. My mother would call me Pooz and Tom would look over with a silent, inquisitive expression and tilt his head, much like a dog who's heard a high-pitched screech. Yes, I'm Biz, Gypsy, and Pooz.

My nephew Aaron started calling me EE when he was just learning to talk. Our best guess is that it comes from the "sack of potatoes" game I played with him when I would carry him around the house singing The Wizard of Oz flying monkey song, "E, Oh. Oh, E, Oh." When his sister Lauren was born, she simply continued it. Yes, EE is one of my favorite nicknames.

I had an aunt named Anastasia. No one ever called her that. She was always Aunt Ann. So, to keep it straight on that side of the family, my mother began referring to me as Little Ann... which is better, I suppose, than my aunt getting the moniker "Big Ann." But mother would say it so fast that it sort of sounded like Li'l Ann ... or Lillian. Lucky for me, that one didn't stick. If only I was as lucky with Pooz.

My complete name at birth was Ann Jenifer O'Data. All the relatives on my dad's side, for some reason I have yet to discover, insist on calling me "Annjenifer" as if it was a single name. Go ahead, say it out loud. It doesn't flow off the tongue particularly well, does it? But every reunion I am bombarded all day with "Annjenifer, Annjenifer." They must all think that I want to be called by the whole name... because surely in nearly 40 years someone would have shortened it.

Tom doesn't have a nickname for me. No real pet name. Nor do I have one for him. I don't call him Honey or Sweety, and I'm not Cupcake or Darlin' or any such thing. I wonder why that is?

You can't force a nickname on to someone else. I can't say, "Tom, I'm now going to start calling you Stretch cuz you're tall." And you can't really make up your own nickname. If I could, I wonder what I'd want it to be? Some stick and some don't, and you don't have much say in why.

What do our nicknames say about us? What do they say about the people who gave them to us? About a month ago, my nephew called me Aunt Ann for what I think was the first time. Since he turns 15 next month, he figures he's too old to still call me EE and he wants to use a more grown-up name. I got all choked up. I didn't choose the name, I'm still not sure of the derivation, but I want him to call me EE forever! What does the loss of that name mean? Does our self-concept change because of what we are called? How much do our names contribute to who we are and how we see ourselves?

4 Comments:

  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger natesee said…

    Man...I feel left out...what was that deadbeat josiah guy doing at your door anyway?

     
  • At 11:58 AM, Blogger natesee said…

    thank you...I feel part of the community once again

     
  • At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is Scott Bell

    I found it. I've bookmarked it. I will read it.

     
  • At 4:24 PM, Blogger Kitsch said…

    AnnLawson! That's a "nickname" that I like!!
    I think that celebrities choose their own nicknames, call themselves by it, and then pay people to call them it, and it works (P.Diddy or J.Lo, anyone?). I also think that nicknames are important because to me, they show a person that you care enough about them to think up something new. I have nicknames for most of my friends...I've enjoyed reading your blog - I finally caught up! I'll talk to you soon!!
    PS Thanks again for the lunch!
    Trena...a.k.a. Kitsch

     

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