Weird things about names and connections

This is not the Copper Penny but has a similar feel except maybe it had a gravel parking lot. It was the 60’s!

I was talking to my neighbor this week. She was telling me about one of the properties in my development which she identified by the former owner. Neither of us know the current owner so it will forever be known by the name of someone who moved out two years ago. There is another house in the neighborhood that’s known by the name of the family who built it maybe 25 or more years ago. They’ve been gone the entire 17 years I’ve lived here. Several other families have lived there in the meantime yet the old name sticks.

Along the same concept, there was a popular drive-in ice cream place when I was a kid. It was located at a landmark intersection. It burned down in the early 1970’s. To this day when people give directions they say “turn left where the Copper Penny used to be.” Many people today weren’t alive when it was operating.

When I was a kid, people got weird nicknames. I remember “Legs” Weber. Yep, he was a great basketball player. There was Buppa (have no idea where that came from), Boogers (not related to Buppa and I’m not going to think about where that came from) and a slew of others. These are nicknames you wouldn’t give your pet. These folks were not famous rappers! Some were full grown adults (or at least full grown).

Women didn’t get weird nicknames as often. Most were a shortened variation of their given name. They were more likely to be given names behind their backs like Chubs or Hootchie Mama. What’s the fun in that?

Maybe it was a guy thing. Today children often have unique names. I wonder if they end up with nicknames or if their given name is weird enough to satisfy.

What stupid stuff do you wonder about?

59 thoughts on “Weird things about names and connections

  1. Agree – Hubby is the giver of nicknames, both boys have multiple nicknames. And so do his friends. All his phone contacts are saved by their nicknames, “Junk, Mid, Woe, Chips, Book,” etc. So funny!

    And where I grew up, if a girl had a nickname, it wasn’t flattering … it went with a reputation! HA

    MJ

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  2. I think we all have that one place where something used to be and we still refer to it as if it were there. I think it makes us feel better as long as the memories were good ones. I don’t remember crazy nicknames when I was younger though there was a guy whose first name was Jack and his middle initial was S. so you can imagine what we called him..:)

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  3. My Dad ALWAYS gave directions via the Copper Penny! It was a family joke to the point that my brother had a hilarious routine about the guys in the tower at ABE telling incoming flights to “go to where the Copper Penny use to be and proceed on a heading of one zero niner”

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  4. I’m not good with directions at all and don’t have a smartphone nor a GPS gizmo. I finally bought a paper map (which maps used to be a quarter, if not free, and are now $9.00). The fork in the rural road that was not in my Google Maps directions did me in last Fall. I never made it to the Sunflower Festival, but found another Metropark in the very same zipcode – go figure! I never had a nickname growing up I don’t believe, but the last year in high school, there were six of us that hung around together – three of us were named Linda. So when we referred to one another, we used our second name, so I was “Linda Sue”. When we moved here, my father hated driving because all the expressways go by numbered names as well as regular names (usually named after someone). Then we have a lot of “mile roads” so they go by the mile road name as well as another street name and people use them interchangeably – pretty crazy!

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    • I haven’t used a paper map in years. It’s hard to keep them current with all the road changes around here but that’s true of Google too. I went to school with a couple of Linda’s. It was a very popular name back then. Only one had a nickname. We called her Linny. Everyone else was Linda. Most of the popular names — Carol, Joan, Jane, Sue, etc. were so short they didn’t need a nickname.

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      • Someone suggested I get a Garmin. I looked at them and they were $400.00. And that was to use just in North America. You could buy an add-on to use it in other countries. I have not looked at the map yet. I was planning on going somewhere different this weekend, but the heat had me just staying closer to home. No fun trekking around when it was 78 degrees with high humidity and dew points at 7:00 a.m. this morning – ugh. Now that you mention the name “Linny” I remember I had a boss that called me that – I totally forgot. Back in the late 80s and Tom was an attorney and a former priest. He never talked about the priesthood and I would not have known, except he gave me his C.V. to type up and it mentioned theology school and there was a gap in years between school and law school graduation. So he/wife had three kids that he spoke about all the time – all the names ended with “y” – he called me “Linny” and the other secretaries thought it was funny. I didn’t like it especially but Tom was the politest person I’ve ever known and I hated to correct him – after all, I knew who I was. 🙂

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  5. I love the thing where only local people know what you are talking about. We have an entire highway, that cuts across the mid section of the region to connect two major highways. Its locally known as the Norwood Lateral. The traffic reports all reference it that way. Not one official sign any where calls it that. I doubt if 50 percent of the residents could name its route number. It has to be explained to people who move here. “Here’s the secret name. Now you belong.”

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    • We had a road like that. We called it the thruway because it was the “through way” from one side of town to the other. They have resorted in the past 20 years to calling it by it’s route number so it doesn’t confuse truckers who use it a lot.

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  6. I’m a landmark person too when it comes to directions – street names I don’t remember but if you tell me turn right at the MCDonalds – THAT I can do. I remember nicknames in the old days…my Mom loved to tell the story of me on first day of kindergarten when it was my turn to stand up and tell my name and my nickname. I said my nickname which was what my parents called me and the whole room burst into giggles including the teacher. Mom and Dad called me “Pookie” or “Pookie June”……I guess you can tell what I was called the rest of the year in class. Side note: My parents who are now gone kept calling me “Pookie” until the end.

    Hugs, Pam

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  7. Good Morning, Kate. I am not a street person when it comes to directions. Even in the town where I grew up I hardly cared about the name of the streets. I guess I am a landmark person. When Jerry starts to rattle off directions I tell him to STOP! Just tell me the name of something I know that’s close. I don’t enjoy driving like I once did. Kind of surprises me.

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    • I hate driving but I never enjoyed it. It was a way to get from place to place. Before I had cataract surgery many years ago, I had trouble reading street signs especially at night. Even today, in a neighborhood there could be a tree branch obliterating a sign so I always like a landmark or two.

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  8. Hi, Kate – I’m totally with you on the strangeness of going by former names.
    When I first moved to a small town on Vancouver Island, I joined the Newcomer’s Group. We were frequently told to meet in the parking lot where the White Spot used to be.
    Duh!! We were all newcomers. How were we supposed to know where the old White Spot was??!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that is really weird. I was a member of a Newcomers Club in New Jersey and I loved it. I got to meet a lot of nice people. Some of them I am still connected to after 30 years.

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  9. I’m with Jill about using buildings when giving directions. That works for me when I can see where something is [or was?], I suppose. We all get to where we’re going one way or another.

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  10. Loved this post! The town I grew up in had one of those magnets for teens drive-in that was THE place to go hang out in your 1960’s vintage car. The burgers, onion rings and Vanilla Dr. Pepper weren’t too bad either. This of course was back when kids actually left the house to interact with one another. Egad…I’m old!

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  11. New England is exactly like that with names. “Old Bates Place” (even though the Bates haven’t lived there in 50 years), “Wentworth House,” even though Wentworth died in the 1700s and the original house burned down, etc.

    If you’re new (i.e., have only lived their 20 years), it can be tough to follow local directions.

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  12. There are two gentlemen who bought the house across the road about a year ago. We’ve never met them so when we see them outside working, it’s always the skinny guy or the bigger guy. They’re about the same height, but one is very very slender and the other is kind of regular sized. I’m sure someone could write a paper on why 50 years ago, we knew the names of our neighbors and today it is like ships passing in the night.

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    • You are so right. When we first moved here 17 years ago, it’s was a lot more friendly. The age group was similar. As people aged and young families moved in, the connection ceased. There used to be parties and cookouts but no more. I only know the people who have been here for at least 15 years. That’s about when it started to change. The younger folks have kids with activities and are rarely home or outside.

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  13. I still say the name of the former owners of houses in my neighborhood. I don’t know the new people. Even if we say a few words when passing we don’t exchange names. It’s the same with people with dogs…I see the Akita lady walk by each day and the Poodle guy.

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  14. In Lincolnshire, if someone refers to an event that happened a little while ago, that little while ago can be anything over 30 years! Hard to follow when you’ve only been in the neighbourhood a year at best, but we’ve cottoned on now.

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  15. Love that the Copper Penny is an invisible landmark.

    A few houses in my childhood neighborhood got new names to match new owners ~ but only if we actually spent time in them with the new owners. Otherwise, they remained “as is.” 😀

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  16. Yes, back in ‘the good old days’, men had nicknames like Lefty or Buzz or Skip that weren’t anything akin to their given names, while women had occasional nicknames (my mother, Margaret, was known by Peg to everyone except her mother, who called her Maggie Mae). Short names for women had no nicknames. As for landmarks, I still prefer to rely on them for travel markings in unfamiliar places. My GPS is a wonderful tool, but I trust a human being to tell me to look for the McDonald’s on the left and it’s the next street on the right. \

    Ah, the good old days…..

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  17. Loved the directions based on a building no longer there! Reminds of directions I received when touring the N. of England many years ago. “Turn left up the road there, and then stay on it until about a mile before the Frog & Nightgown (a pub) where you should turn right”

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  18. names… well… we always walk around the house of the woman with the green sweater whose husband has this nose… or we turn around after the man with the car who often wears that pants hahahahaha for dog owners it is easier, it is the woman with the poodle or the man with the retriever LOL

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