Saturday, July 20, 2002

I've acquired a system in my blogging ventures, a list of sorts, of various topics to blog about. It seems to work for me when I appear to be brain dead suffering from writer's block or my daily visits to my close circle of blogsite pals websites comes up dry for ideas to blog about.

I've visited all my friends sites and the pool is empty. Nothing strikes me. Writer's block is setting in as I speak, so it's to my list I go.....

My aunts nicknames.

Well, it seemed a good subject when I wrote it down, perhaps this will be a challenge to make such a bland subject appear colorful and funny. My four aunts all had nicknames. These nicknames were so common in our family that I could not tell you what their real names actually are, to this day.

First, there was the oldest of my father's sisters, known only as, "Aunt Sis."

Next in line came, "Aunt Max."

Next was, "Aunt Boots."

and last was, "Aunt Bobbi."

I'll start from the bottom and work up to Aunt Sis, who deserves a totally separate blog all of her own.

Aunt Bobbi is the one I remember least about. She, like my father, was the only other sibling to contract the terrible disease of alcoholism, handed down by an evil grandfather who drank, killed deer, drank some more and beat the hell out of his family. Nice guy.

My last memory of Bobbi was seeing her walking up the sidewalk to our house in El Paso, Texas. She lived in Arizona and decided to stop in El Paso to see her brother, my dad, on her way to Dallas to visit the rest of the family. I think I was about nine years old. My dad and I were peering through the small rectangular window of our front door at Bobbi and my first recollection was asking my dad why she was so dark (tanned). My dad told me it was because she drank so much coffee and I believed him.

Aunt Bobbi died a short time later, having gotten drunk and drowning on her own vomit.

Aunt Boots was the coolest aunt I knew. She was pretty well off financially, always had a smile on her face, wore the B-I-G beehive hairdo and loved me to pieces. When my dad died from booze, she was at the funeral and later, at the reception following the funeral, asked my mother to let me come live with her and she would put me through school and see to it that I had a proper upbringing.

My mother never spoke to aunt Boots after that and forbid me to visit her in San Angelo, Texas.

Aunt Max, aka aunt Maxine, was gorgeous and very well kept for her age. She was a model for one of the most eccentric department stores known to man, Neiman Marcus, and at last notice, was married to the Vice President of the John Deere company at the time. My aunt Max was rather detached from the family, no doubt from living a life most people can't even imagine. She had expensive taste in material items as well as men. Although I wasn't close to Max, I admired her for what she had accomplished in life.

Aunt Sis was the oldest. She was a nurse and had achieved a doctorate in the health trades and was a teacher at a local nursing college. She was working at Parkland Medical Center in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated and told that story repeatedly as if it was the only influencing event in her life. Aunt Sis was one of the kindest people you would ever know, soft-spoken, yet extremely cultured and prideful. She was also an obsessive / compulsive neat freak. Her home had plastic walkways on the rug and God help you if you didn't walk on them. The majority of her furniture was covered in some sort of plastic.....plastic lampshade covers, plastic couch covers, etcetera. The startling contrast to this picture was her dog Bullet.

"Bullet" was everything but.

This poor excuse for a dog, let alone a bullet, was blind, crippled, mangy and had perpetual gas. This four legged animal would tap, tap, tap around the house, farting and running into walls and furniture. Bullet was a howl.

When I visited my aunt Sis in Dallas I stayed with her for about three or four days, taking it upon myself to laugh at Bullet and terrorize this poor creature to no end. Nothing I'm proud of naturally but all the same true. I was all of sixteen or seventeen years old, hair down to my butt, and a hippy, party freak. I was bored out of my skull at my aunts house so I turned to the Bullet dog for mild entertainment. For Bullet's sake, I hope that dog finally died. My aunt actually put that damn dog through dialysis once a week as it kidney's were failing. Un-freakin' real.

Aunt Sis is dead now, as is Bobbi and the only other brother in the family, Uncle Wayland. God only knows what Max and Boots are up to. I lost contact with the family well over twenty years ago. I was reminded of the nickname situation after writing a piece on the Philippines, having spent two weeks in a country where everybody has a nickname.

Resulting from a Googlesearch:

"Nicknames are bynames that refer to some personal characteristic of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, a person acquired this from friends and acquaintances. An appellation of this sort can be complimentary, uncomplimentary or simply descriptive. Nicknames can take various forms: descriptive of physical characteristics of some kind like Blakloc, the Small, Armstrong or Grenehod, or descriptive of character or mental or moral characteristics, such as Wastepenny, Slyman, Careless, Bonfaith. Sometimes a nickname can be metaphoric (i.e. 'John is like a') yielding names like 'Peppercorn' for a small person and 'Fairweather' for a cheerful, sunny person."

"Identifying the children in a family may be somewhat easier if the parents had a naming tradition. It is often an Irish practice and may not always be strictly followed. Some communities reflect a practice of having multiple names for family members.

  • Oldest son named after the Father's father
  • 2nd son named after the Mother's father
  • 3rd son named after the Father
  • 4th son named after the Father's oldest brother

  • Oldest daughter named after the Mother's mother
  • 2nd daughter named after the Father's mother
  • 3rd daughter named after the Mother
  • 4th daughter named after the Mother's oldest sister

  • 2nd wife's oldest daughter named after the first wife, using her full name



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