I find it odd how rare it is that anyone has a nick name these days. Every member of my father’s family had a nick name. In fact I didn’t know what their real names were until I was a teen.
It may have been that families such as my father’s were first generation Americans and they needed an identity above being children of immigrants. It could also be that nick names are just a thing of the past. I wasn’t able to make sociological observations like that until after 1960 when the hay day of nick names had already passed.
I guess we still have nicknames of a sort, but they are self assigned and have little to do in our real lives. No one calls me Rust, especially since I don’t have red hair. Nor do they call me Guy. It is only here where that is done. It’s kind of like C. B. radio handles, self assigned, and descriptive of something, but not as real as a nick name that one has earned.
My favorite earned nickname belonged to an uncle. He was known as Uncle Goose. The story behind the name was that his mother had geese, and these geese would wander across the road to the brook that was a popular swimming hole for the local kids. The geese would shit over everything, so as a point of retaliation all the neighbor kids dubbed him and “Goose Shit.” By the time I born and met him his name was shortened to Goose. He probably lived for thirty or more years being called Goose Shit. Kids can be brutal.