Annette J. Wick
What’s in a Name?
My mother was careful about the names she chose for her children,
never wanting to bestow one that others might
abbreviate, mutilate or annihilate altogether.
“Annette Marie”, my mother called,
when I ran afoul of normal.
“Peanut”, my father endowed me with,
despite Mom’s pleas for no pet names.
I was tinier than my siblings at that same age,
or perhaps it was the time gap, when I remained the youngest
for over three years.
Then came “Shorty”, because I never grew.
Followed by “Red”,
as in crimson, my face flushed with
embarrassment in seventh grade Spanish class or algebra.
When my older sister and brother were nicknamed “Shoes” and “Big Shoes”
after my father’s shoe store, I became “Little Shoes.”
And Jeff Thomas took to calling me “Slippers.”
So I had visions of my pink fuzzy ones at home,
that always accumulated dirt, though I wore them inside only.
Jacuzzi replaced my real last name of Januzzi
Followed by “Shoesies from Januzzi’s”
which really had nothing to do with me
only the jingle on the local AM station.
Soon, after creating a superhero story in Mrs. Garfield’s ninth grade,
I did it to myself. I sealed my own fate by penning a story about“Netti Spaghetti and the Meatball Kid.”
Thankfully, only the “Netti” and “Spaghetti” parts lived on.
Having survived those barrages of nonsense,
I answer to Mom, “Hello, Beautiful”, and a friend who
puts the emphasis on the first syllable and calls me “Ann – ette.”
But I no longer answer to Netti,
unless Aunt Lynne berates me for not writing
or Uncle Dennis calls.
To my father, I am now ‘Net Marie, as in “Yeah, ‘Net Marie, what’s going on?”
And my mother, she too shortened my name,
and says, when answering the phone,
“Oh hi, ‘Net. I was just going to call.”