Monday, April 28, 2014

Nicknames In The News - 1980s edition

I'm fascinated by nicknames, and love finding out where they came from.  This might be attributed to being a man married to a "Peggy," whose real name is Margaret.  It took years to figure out that "Margaret" became "Meggy," which then became "Peggy." 

Bon Scott (l)
This does not explain why the nickname for "Mark" is not "Park," but I let it go because I wondered how come flamboyant pint-sized AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, born Ronald Belford Scott in Scotland, came to be called "Bon."  I've heard two stories.  In a radio interview, the late singer (alcohol overdose, 1980) said that his mother thought he was such a "wee Bonnie lad" that he came to be called "Bon," but another account holds that after his family moved to Australia in his childhood, there was also another "Ron" in the class, so the kids riffed on "Bonnie Scotland" and called him "Bon" Scott.  I'll provide this 1979 German TV clip so that my friend Ruth will have something to start off her day!

Another interesting nickname is the one carried around by former New York Yankee manager Billy Martin. If you thought he was born William Martin, sorry.  Nothing was ever that easy for the man born Alfred Manuel Pesano Jr. in Berkeley, California in 1928. Pesano Sr. deserted the family and young Alfred(!) was soon adopted by his mother's next husband (she had a few) who was named Martin.  His Italian grandmother, noticing what a darling, adorable little boy she saw running around in the yard bullying the other kids, began calling him "Bello," Italian for "beautiful."  By the time she was fitted for corrective eyeglasses, the name had morphed into "Billy," although the late Alfred (DWI accident in his own driveway, Christmas 1989) did plenty of bellowing during his playing and managing days.

That's it for today!  Next time, let's look at why they call Richard Bruce Cheney "Dick."

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