Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was contacted again by my old friend Mickey Jones Monday. He sent me two separate pieces his brother, Larry Jones, had written and compiled. One was a poem he called “Harriman Nicknames”, and the other was a compilation of the nicknames he could remember from Harriman, Tennessee, and the surrounding Roane County area, that were not used in the poem. Had Larry not been a few years older than Mickey and me, I’m sure ol’ Mushy would be among those listed. After all, Jerry Lou (a.k.a. Cleo) did not hang that moniker on me until 1963!

I found the poem and list to be very entertaining, often breaking out in ear-to-ear grins, and I’m sure if you had lived in the area it would mean a lot to you as well. However, chances are you had friends that got saddled with some of the same nicknames!

The piece has been published once before in a little local tabloid, but I’ve decided to give it some wider distribution. It is my hope that you will comment and/or post about the nicknames you remember from school and your home town. That should give a lot of readers something to chuckle over!

So, ol’ Mushy offers for your pure enjoyment, Larry Jones’…


The Sanitary Barbershop was a place of renown

If you wanted the scoop on anyone in town.

Tom and Claude were the first to know

The nicknames of those folks so long ago.

There was Blackie and Whitey, Brownie and Red

And some were names we all would dread.

Like Skinny and Puny and Slim and Fat

Or Big Sis and Little Sis, now how about that.

Kitty and Squirrel, or Chicken and Goat.

None of these names would cause me to gloat.

Biggun and Littleun, Shorty and Runt

And Pop-up Wright who couldn’t bunt.

A Cowboy, a Sailor, a Monkey and a Snake

Any of these you like, you’re free to take.

Curly and Salty, and a guy named Chug

Remember Sandy and Rusty, or how about Shug?

There was Booger and Junior we remember well

Gimme Nichel was a name that should ring a bell.

Walking Tom often perched on the bridge day by day

And then walk down the road as he went on his way.

Speedy and Sticky and Stogie and Hy

Betsy and Wimpy and a guy called Ty

Peanut and Buddy and Bum and Bo.

Are more of the names from long ago.

Cake Eater and Crit and Gas and Butch

Happy and Dub and Jug and Dutch.

There was Mule and Toad and someone called Hog

Poss and Shep but no one named Dog.

There was Foot and Sox and also Boots

BadEye and HogEye and also Toots.

Bullhead and Humpy, Jabo and Doc

Were more of the folks in this nickname flock.

Derail and Limber I don’t know at all

But Duggan and Floppy I do recall.

Pikey and Tut and Hop and Churn

Are folks whose names I have come to learn.

Sparky and Squirt and Betsy and Sal

Could be names for either a guy or a gal.

Shag and Moon and Turk and Goof

No exactly a name I’d shout from the roof.

These names bring back memories of folks I once knew

Some were just strangers, but only a few.

If you think of others to add over time

Include another verse to this “nickname” rhyme.

Larry D. Jones - 11-12-2005

Okay, so you knew I would have to try a verse myself…

Remember Cleo and Castro and Cay-Woody

Shaky-babe and Henry and just a plain ol’ Woody?

There was Harry Melon and Porky and even Musky

And who could ever forget ol’ Mushy!

Thanks so much Larry for the use of your poem!

I know many of you are sitting there thinking, “How thankful I am I was never tagged with a horrible nickname!

However, down deep inside, you secretly wish someone had thought enough of you to leave you branded for life with the legacy of a “cool nickname”.


Les Becker said...

I had a crappy nickname: "Kermit". Gawd.

In fact, I once "went out" with a guy for a whole month, before I realized he didn't even know my real name. I was NOT impressed.

Byron Chesney said...

I've often wondered if getting a nickname somehow changes the course of your life in some way. My cousin gave me the nickname of Tug, back when I was a kid. I didn't realize it was an insult back then, I was just honored that he had anything to do with me. I think it's a pretty cool name now.

Mushy said...

There all cool Les...people forget your real name over time, but nicknames stick to the very end!

I like Tug, Byron, it's a name with power!

My son's nickname was Chunk, and he works hard even today to not be one!

Suldog said...

I didn't get "Suldog" until my late 20's. Before then I was Pel. No explanations will be forthcoming.

Here's a complete list of the guys who I used to hang with in Dorchester, during high school years, and slightly beyond, including me.

Duck, Stublet, Munch, Tooch, Pel, Murph, Soupy, Killer, Lardy, Weasel, and Looney. We also had Ricky, John, Craig, David, and a few others without any colorful handles.

FHB said...

I can't remember anyone ever getting or giving a nickname when I was a kid. I mean, we must have, but I can't remember it.

Once in about 1972, some kids tried to tag me with one. I guess we were goin' around, findin' ryming nicknames to go with peoples real names, tryin' to piss one another off. Thing was, nothin' really rymes with Jeff. So all they were able to come up with was "Jeff the Peff". Didn't get me upset, so it didn't last more than about ten minutes.

Later on in high school, a good friend tried to tag me with "Baby Huey". You remember that cartoon character? Pretty good representation of who I was then. But that didn't last ether. I guess we just didn't tag one another like that.

Now, my dad's family did that a lot. One cousin of his was named "Whimpy", and his younger brother has always been called "Punk". It may be a small town, everyone has grown up together and knows everyone, kind'a thing.

I guess I tagged myself with FHB, or the longer, formal version. That's the only one that's really resonated with me and lasted. Wasn't till recently that some folks tagged me with "Fat". Proud as punch too.

Mushy said...

That's a good list Sul...they could probably have fit right in here!

You'll always be Fat to the matter how much of a skinny bastard you become!

Buck said...

I've carried my nickname all my life. NO one, other than my Mom ("Norman Ellis Pennington! You get in this house RIGHT NOW!) and folks who don't know me ("The doctor will see you now, Norman." Hunh? Who?) ever calls me anything but "Buck."

And yeah... everyone in the AF had a nickname. Well, everyone I knew, anyway. They're way too numerous to list. Not to mention the fact that most of the nicks were unmentionable in polite company. ;-)

Mushy said...

I went through Mashed Taters and Assburn in grammar school, before landing and sticking with Mushy!

In the AF, I was just called by my last name.

At work I was known as J. Paul.

Actually, there are three guys living that call me "Boots", but I rarely see them anymore.

Pat Houseworth said...

Brother was "Snake" I was 'Snake Jr'...good or bad, what the Hell?, I was stuck with it through HS....

Mushy said...

From an email my buddy Benny Lowery sent me:

Hog Lions, Pikey the guy with the growth on his upper lip, Walking John walked from Emory Gap to downtown every day, Jeepy Lions, Moose the sign painter, Jucy Bill I do not know who he was but heard his name a lot, then there was Watasi, my older brother Chuck who worked with your dad at the Furnace.

Chuck also called Harold Wester that name too as they went into the Korean War together.

Thanks Benny!

Shrinky said...

I was well-endowed, and some lads invented something horrible, and I'm not telling ya', so there - except to say thank God we moved town so's I could finally lose it!

Mushy said...

You should have stuck out your chest and walked on proudly...think of the ones that couldn't do that!

ShakinShorty said...

Thank You for visiting my new blog. My Dad reads your all the time, and says you reallyknow how to cook. My nickname in school is shorty.. I don't know why, I am 5'6". It dosen't bother me though.

BRUNO said...

BRUNO got hung on me somewhere around forty years ago, due to a story that's MUCH too long to go into here. But, that name stuck like Gorilla-Glue!

And, to this day, I have the same "problem" as BUCK---if someone calls me by my REAL name, I look at 'em for a few seconds, like, "You talkin' to ME?"(I have a helluva problem with "new" doctors!)

Of course, with the wife, it's simple: "You", "Hey You", and of course the occasional "Honey". Which is sometimes followed by "Asshole!!!", as needed....!!!

Becky said...

I had various take-offs of Becky or my last name, but the closest thing that stuck was a B.J. (for Becky Jane). Needless to say, the guys got quite a kick out of it :) My family unfortunately calls me Rooney or Roon Dog. My brother used to use the word "rooney" to mean "gross" when he was 10 or so...not sure how the "dog" part was added. Even my sister's kids call me Aunt Roon Dog (which I hate).

Sandi McBride said...

Enjoy your vacation...loved the nickname poem...and am also mighty thankful that I never had anything worse than Sandi tacked on! At least as far as I know!!!