Friday Follies: Speaking of Names

My web muse hit me and a bunch of other folks with a new question recently: “If you had to change your name, what would your new name be?”

I don’t know about the other folks, but I had no problem finding an answer. There is a reason for my feelings.

The biggest reason for my nonchalance about my name is my upbringing. As a baby, I was the focus of a weird battle between my mother and one of my grandfathers. Mom wanted to call me by my first name, Stephen.

My grandfather did not like Stephen and decided to call me Stevie, which Mom hated. So, she changed my name from Stephen Eric Jackson to Eric Stephen Jackson, but my grandad did not like the name Eric because it was of Germanic origin.

Grandpa Jackson served in World War I, and my dad was severely injured in World War II. Charley did not want anything remotely German sounding in his house, where we lived. So, Mom produced a plan. She started using nicknames. I have no idea which was the first nickname she used, but Butch or Butchie was one of the earlier ones. Then there was everything you can imagine. I remember being called Jack, Sam, Buddy, Bud, and George.

Of course, these names were used in highly informal settings. If I played in the backyard or the back of the house, I might hear, “Hey, Buddy, get up here, ” or “Sam, I need you for something.” On the other hand, my brother was always David because he was named after our great-grandfather, and he did not approve of nicknames.

So, what name would I choose if forced to do so? I would go with George because that is the last nickname or pseudonym my mother ever used for me. There’s a funny story behind that choice, but I’ll save it for another Friday Follies post.

© – 2023

About S. Eric Jackson

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