Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Rachel Balducci had a cute post last week that made me smile probably because... I was a "Sissy". When my brother was little, my Dad would call me Sissy but only if he was talking to my brother about me. Go tell Sissy to come here. It never made it as far as an official nickname (my mother shot down all nicknames with the accuracy of a trained sniper). As I got older, I was talked about as "Sister" and my brother was "Brother" although we were never called those names directly. It still happens today. Have you talked to Brother lately? or Brother came over to borrow my fishing gear. The lack of a possesive adjective seems to be a term of endearment to my father. In fact, "YOUR brother called me today" means I better find a good reason to get off the phone real fast cuz' I'm about to get an earful!

Even though both of my parents are from Texas, my mother's family's ethnicity superseded any Texas traditions. Old country traditions weigh more than new country traditions, I guess. They just had nicknames for the ones nobody could pronounce like "Trdla". (The Czech language is notorious for ignoring the vowels. I think most of the neglected vowels finally left and moved to Hawaii.)

My paternal grandfather's family called him Sonny even though his name was Frank. Being the oldest SON is where that nickname came from, not his warm disposition. So, my question is... is this a southern thing or a Texas thing or what? (Wait... is Texas considered "southern" ?)

I know there is a long standing southern tradition to come up with a nickname for a junior... something like... Junior or Bubba or J.R.. I know several "Juniors", have never actually met a J.R. but saw one played on TV and have heard jokes told where "Bubba" was used as an adjective rather than a noun. Actually, I wonder if Bubba might be a distortion of the whole "Brother" phenomenon. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, I'm just askin'. Is it just us?


  1. From what I've heard, "Bubba" was originally a variant of "brother" as you surmised. The only Bubba I have ever met was from Arkansas and the only Buddy (also a variant) was from Texas. So maybe it is a Southern thing.

    As for whether Texas is considered "Southern", my opinion is yes, in many cases, but sometimes it can be considered "Southwestern." The grits, the barbecued food and the "y'all" are Southern while the cowboy hats and boots, chili and scorpions are Southwestern.

  2. My mother's family grew up in Oklahoma and Sister, Sissy and Brother were BIG in the family. My aunt, Naomi, was never called "Naomi" till she went off to school. Being the oldest it may have been a term of endearment for the older sibling, or respect? It never caught on with us tho and I will spare all the nick names...thank goodness some things don't stick!!

  3. I wonder if the missing posessive adj is a rural thing. I grew up in the south, but in the suburbs and we always used the adj, but then we moved out west, to the country, where they often leave them out. And not as endearing terms for relatives alone, but they'll say We're going to Smiths (not THE Smith's)... Hmmm...

  4. My father's family has some southern roots, although they mostly lived in Wyoming. My father's name is Max, he's called Meecie, apparently when he cried as a baby he sounded like a mouse. His sister, my aunt, is called Sis, or Sissy although her name is Naomi. I even call her Aunt Sis. My husband's family is 3rd generation Wyomingites. His oldest brother is a Jr. They call him J.R. Now, J.R.'s wife is from West Virginia, and calls Dad S.R. So I don't think it's so much a southern thing. Maybe Lisa is right and it's a rural thing.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!