Confession – if you have some dopey nickname that embarrasses the heck out of you, I’m jealous. I’ve never had one. That may not be my fault. When I was a kid, my parents moved around a lot. I’d be someplace for a couple of years and then move on. People barely had time to learn my real name, much less figure out a nickname for me.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t picked on from time to time. The very first question kids usually asked me was, “Where’s Tarzan?” More than a few adults did, too. Another favorite was a reference to the Dick, Jane and Sally reader. Something like, “See Spot. See Spot run from Jane’s ugly face.” The one I hated most was “Plain Jane,” because I really, honestly, was about as plain as you could get and I hated it. I guess with so many easy pickings, I didn’t need a nickname.
After I became an adult, a couple of people tried calling me Janie, but by then it was way too late. I didn’t feel like Janie and I didn’t mind telling you so. Of course, Janie wouldn’t really be a nickname, just a diminutive – and I’m no Janie.
Jane Ann isn’t a nickname either. It’s my actual given name. It’s rarely used – with one exception. If you’re a Cave or related to me through my dad, then you call me Jane Ann. I’m not sure how that came about, because with the exception of one other cousin, everyone else does just fine with a single name. Somehow Gene Alton and I needed both of our names.
In this busy world of facebook and email, I don’t see my cousins very often. Moving around so much as a kid, I didn’t get in the habit of visiting them frequently and now we’re spread out all over creation. Granted, some of them do live in the Metroplex, but we haven’t woven one another into our lives. Maybe that’s something I should fix, but I did see them this weekend. We said farewell to Uncle Malcolm.
I didn’t notice the Jane Anns so much at the family visitation. There were many tears shed and hugs shared, but in the busy bustle of greetings, the Jane Anns were lost. Sunday night was different.
My Uncle Malcolm was a well-loved preacher that devoted much of his life to folks in this part of Texas, so as you can imagine, the funeral chapel was jam packed. Mr. Last Minute, my sweet husband, had even gotten us there early, but seats were at a premium. That’s when I heard, “PSSSST Jane Ann.” My cousins were inviting me to the family section. Of course, I was family, but there was something very dear about hearing the old moniker, the one they alone use.
I’m proud of my family and I’m glad they have a special name for me. They call me Jane Ann.