Monday, February 27, 2012

What's In a Name?

Officially, I started out (and appear to be ending up) as Virginia Louise Hart.  However, even though most of my world called me Virginia my first 18 years, and Ginnie thereafter, my family did not.  To them, I have been and always will be Boots.

This is how it happened.  I was born on June 13 in the state of Virginia (no connection).  Think hot.  It's strange to comprehend this now but at 5lb. 8oz. back then, in 1945, I was considered a preemie and was kept at the hospital for the first 3 weeks of my life, to get me up to snuff.  By the time I got back home, it was the beginning of July.  Think hotter.

That was when Mom's nurse friend came to see me, naked but for my diaper.  She promptly said to Mom, "Even though it's blazing hot for the rest of us, you really need to keep booties on her feet."  That sent Mom on a search for booties small enough to fit me, which were nowhere to be found.  Lucky for me, she had always kept the last doll of her childhood and discovered the socks fit me beautifully, even if they climbed my legs up to my hips.

When the nurse friend came back a couple days later, she exclaimed, "Why, she's all boots!" 

Don't you love how those stories stick?  Right!  By the time I headed off to college, I must have felt embarrassed about Boots and a bit too official about Virginia because I made the decision I wanted to be neither.  "My name is Ginnie," I told people.  Not Ginny, mind you, but Ginnie.

Interestingly, by then Mom and Dad had 8 of us (I being #3) and Dad took great pleasure in renaming all of us himself, stringing us out like a ditty on his tongue:  "Funny Sunny [Nelson], Floosie Susie [Susan], Skinny Ginny [Virginia], Fancy Nancy [Nancy], On-the-minute Bennett [Bennett], Slim Jim [James], My Son John [John], and Goofie Ruthie [Ruth].  He loved telling this to anyone who would listen, chuckling all the way through.

Why I didn't choose his Ginny, who knows.  I chose my Ginnie.  Years later Mom told me she wished I had collaborated with her first because I was named Virginia Louise after her best friend...who was nicknamed Jenny Lou.  Just think about that.  Do I look like a Jenny Lou to you (think The South)?
Here's what's weird:  if anyone in my family ever calls me Ginnie, it does NOT sound right.  If anyone outside my family calls me Boots, it sounds even weirder.  That includes Astrid. What is THAT about?

Now, angle off into an alley with me for a bit.  Terms of endearment are similar to nicknames but take on other nuances when it comes to what we're called.  I don't mean Honey and Lover and Dear and such.  I mean like calling daughter Amy Snicklefritz [happy face] or Amykins.  Or calling son Mark Marks-n-Sparks or Palooka.

Then-husband Bill called me his Little Chickadee...while now-wife Astrid calls me her Donder-koppie [thunder head].  Did you get that?  How can one person be a Little Chickadee AND a Donder-koppie in one lifetime?

BTW, that's G'ma Olive holding me later that summer of '45 while it was still hot and Mom had obviously found booties to fit.  As they say, the camera never lies.  And some stories never die.

Another BTW:  the image today at my photo blog is of a "Naked Lady," a nickname for you know what?

Who comes up with these names!

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