I was thinking about nicknames and how some people have them and some people don't, and how some people are more prone than others to give nicknames to their friends and family. My dad has always been a 'nicknamer'. I think that must go back to the days right after WWII when he and all his fraternity brothers had nicknames for each other. He was "Fish", of course, (with a last name like "Fischer" that was an easy one) and they had an assortment of strange and colorful names that he referred to them by.
Both my brothers and I had nicknames our dad gave us when we were kids, and in fact, I had several. I hated them all. I was "Wee-cee" or "Sissy" or, worst, and most enigmatic, "Mabel Bollinger Krause". Wee-cee was for my middle name, Louise. Louise is a family name in my dad's family, and there is at least one in every generation. My dad's eldest sister was Louise, although her nickname was "Weezy". Sissy was what my younger brothers were encouraged to call me. I don't really know why my dad started calling me "Mabel Bollinger Krause", but I am sure he only continued it because I hated it so much. It always sounded like teasing when he called us by the nicknames he gave us, and, boy, I hated to be teased.
Our son Tom was called "Tommy", of course, until he was in the 6th grade, and he asked us to please call him "Tom" from then on, and we always have. We sometimes called him "T.J." when he was little, but that never really stuck. We sometimes address him as "Mr. T" or just plain "T", and for a while we all called him "Big Brother", which we picked up from Julie. I am pretty sure she got that from the way Sally addresses Charlie Brown in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Julie, who is mostly just called "Jules" now or sometimes "Sister", had a plethora of nicknames as a child. She had so many that at one point when she was nine or ten, we sat down and made a list of them all, and I am sure there were more than twenty. Zowels was among the first, and I think perhaps came from Tom's inability to say "Jules" when he was very young. Fazouls and Fazouli sprang from that root, I believe. I will have to ask her; I am sure she remembers most of them.
Our newest dog, Rufus, has not yet had time to collect many nicknames. He is called Sir Rufus or Mr. Rufus or Roof-a-lator or sometimes Muffin, since he is a little black dog just like Muffin in the Country. When we are feeling Irish, he is Boy-o. Lucie is sometimes Lucie Lou or Lucie Luebner, or we call her Girlie or Girlie-pie or Girlie-pop because she is just such a little girlie, and both dogs answer to a host of miscellaneous terms of endearment sort of interchangeably.
Now, Dominic was a dog who collected nicknames. The most frequently used and best beloved was Bobo, and that is how we all really think of him. We gave him that nickname maybe the first summer after he came to live with us. Ben and I had gone to a large antique show at a fairground in central Ohio. There were lots of dogs there, but the one that caught our eye was an old bichon frise one of the dealers had brought to the show with her. We stopped to chat with her about her dog, and she told us his name was "Bobo". "How nice," we said, but "How silly!" we thought. But, don't you know, we came home and started calling Dominic that, and Bobo he was until his dying day. He was also Sir Bobo, though, and Mr. Bobo and Bobo-san and Bobo-sani. Sometimes he was Bobo-lator or Bo-bin-ator. Tom always insisted that it was inappropriate to call a dog by a term of such respect as "Bobo-san", but I always thought it suited him. He was also known as "St. Bobo the Long-suffering", which I felt was particularly apt when the kids dressed him up or carried him around in their backpacks.
When we hired a new receptionist recently, although she was younger than both my kids, she had the unpleasant habit of nicknaming people in the office, then persistently calling them by the nicknames she had created for them. I will not miss being called "Miss Mancine" all day long.
Oh, and I don't answer to "Annie" either.
Note: I know that I have not been at all consistent with the use of quotation marks in this post, and I do apologize for that. It is just too exhausting.