THE FRATERNITY REUNION
November is approaching, and with it is the Lafayette College DTD annual class of ‘67/’68 fraternity reunion. This group of knuckleheads has been meeting for 15 years now and it just keeps getting bigger and better. I am particularly looking forward to this year’s reunion as it is being hosted by Stu (Wally) “Last time they served steamed lobster” Robinson and his lovely wife Donna.Earlier reunions have been rife with stories of our college days (daze). Oh what a bunch of “crazy” kids! Lately they have been rife with stories about what a good time last year’s reunion was. Early reunion sponsors were prepared with cases and cases of beer. I suspect there are still some unopened cans from these parties. Hosts now stock up on wine, and as we get older the wine gets better and the consumption decreases.
Few of my fraternity brothers read this blog. As I have little else to talk about, I need a post that will catch their attention. I submit, from my soon to be published book (maybe) “I Used To Be Stupid” a section titled “Nick Names.” Virtually every fraternity brother is mentioned in this dissertation.
Why do parents stress so much about what to name their children? They always end up being called something else anyway. My Grandmother Hagy knew how to solve this problem. She wanted to name her first born daughter Nancy. Her mother demanded she be named Eleanor, my Grandmother’s name, as that was the custom of the time. After many hours of arguing, Grandma gave in. “I will name her Eleanor”, she announced calmly, “but I am going to call her NANCY!” I never knew Aunt Nancy by any other name until her funeral where the program announced the departed as Eleanor “Nancy” Hagy.
I loved that name.
Yes Grandma and she was a terrific Aunt also!
Most nick names are not complimentary. I used to be called “Genius” and thought that was a cool nick name, until I met a six foot, three hundred pound dude called “Tiny”.I’ve had many nick names over the years, most derivatives of Hagy (Hagy as HAYgee). Sometimes the final result is unrecognizable from the original. My name went from “Hegs”, “Haggy” (short A), to “Hag”, “Hags”, “Hinky”, “Hinkus”, “Hoggy”, and “Hogs”. After an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” it became “Hog Jowls”, and finally “Jowls”.
In the summer I was “Turtle”. Apparently I looked like a Turtle, or maybe it was my speed. My brother Jim, the oldest in the summer crowd, was “Pops”. Chris was “Zero” named after the Beatle Bailey character that was not too smart. Chris hated this name; until he met a six foot, three hundred pound guy named “Tiny”.
Chris kinda earned that name. Sometimes Zero means Zero.
I know Jim. I’m trying to be nice, plus I think the “Tiny” thing is funny.
OK……But you know, sometimes even Chris used to be stupid!
In High school, after a failed baseball pitching tryout, I was “Bullet”, named after “Bullet” Bob Turley the Yankee fastball specialist (once again the “Tiny” syndrome applied). This name was courtesy of my best friend Charlie “Chuck”, “Wids”, “Winky”, “Wink”, “Ditmer”, “Ditmus”, “Dinkenstein”, “Asshead” (Charlie had a double cowlick on the back of his head which looked like….well….an ass), Widmer.
Some nick names are just a given: Stan is always “Stan the man” (except Craig “Stanley” Blouin. He just looked like a “Stan”), Roy equals “Roy my boy”, and anyone named Rhodes is “Dusty”.
In college almost everyone had a nick name. In our fraternity we had a “Catfish” a “Spanky” a “Mantan”, an “Undermumble”, a “Buddy”, a “Sterno”, a “Toad”, a “Mouse”, a "Pieman" and a “Jungle”. I was “Jowls”; Doug Gardener who had a head like a coconut was…“Coconut”. Doug who had an endearing (to the ladies) yet obnoxious manner was ultimately called “Obner” then just “Ob”. Bill Douwes wore glasses that made him look like “Froggy” in the “Our Gang Comedies”. He became “Frog”. Because we hung out together, he was sometimes “Frog Jowls”. Some called him “Atlas” as it seemed as if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Carl Anderson was known to be a bit clumsy; he became “Gawk”. Don “Squeak” Harjes had a high voice when he got excited, and Stu “Wally” Robinson looked just like Wally Cox in the TV show Mr. Peepers (Giyp). Ed Basile was just called “Im”, and Dave Doughty was the original “Dude”. If someone was a bit off, not normal, or perhaps nuts he was said to be “hurting.” Marty Kurtika became Marty “Hurtika”. Last name Moffat became Mo-fat. We had “Vinnie D”, “Joe B”, and “Fast Freddy”.
People’s heads tended to define them. Along with “Coconut” we had a “Pineapple”, a “Palm tree”, and a “Globe head”.
Al Balla was responsible for most of the nick names in our fraternity house, yet he was always just called “Balla”.
The king of all nick names was Ronald Angevine. A big slumping gentle guy, (when off the soccer field), Ronald took the brunt of much of the frat house ribbing (called getting a bag, as in a bag of shit). Ronald took this ribbing well, though he did have a tendency to whine a bit.
Ronald was, “Ange”, “Hulk”, “Bulk”, “Bulkavine”, “Hulkavine”, “Whineavine”, “Angeahulk”, “Angeabulk”, “Vineabulk”,” Vineahulk”, “Vineawhine”, “Angehulkavine”, “Angebulkavine”, “Angewhineavine”, Angehulkawhine”, “Angebulkawhine”, “Angehulkabulkavine”, “Angebulkahulkavine”, “Angehulkabulkawhine”, “Angehulkabulkavinawhine”, “Angebulkahulkavinawhine”, “Vineawhineahulkabulk”, “Angevineawhineabulkahulkavine”,…..WAIT! I’ve just been reminded there was also a “Horrendovine”, and a “Sulkavine”. No way am I going thru all the iterations. You get the point.
Some people just called him “Ron”…. or “Ronnie”……or “Ronavine”… or “Ronahulkabulkawhine”, or………..
When it came to nick names, most of us used to be stupid.