My mother’s remaining cousin on her mother’s side, Fran, always refers to my mother as Gertie. Mom was named after HER mother, which I find endlessly fascinating.
Mom didn’t become Trudy until some point after marrying my father, Les. She pretty much hated the moniker Gertie, though long-time relatives were forgiven when they slipped into the old nickname.
Well, that guy with my mother in this undated photo, though clearly from the 1940s, isn’t Les. His name is Sonny. I don’t know a thing about him, including what his last name is. I don’t even know if Sonny is his given name or HIS nickname.
There were, in the day, a lot of nicknames for boys who formally bore their father’s names. Rather than being a diminutive of the name – Richard and Richie or William and Billy – they were sometimes dubbed Chip (as in a “chip off the old block“) or Bud (the next generation) or the initial of the father followed by J – Arthur Jr would be AJ.
Sonny, though, I always thought of as a generic nickname for any lad: “Hey, sonny, could I buy a newspaper from you?” But there are some Sonnys out there.
Gertie’s boyfriend Sonny, my mom told her kids many more times than once, would have been our father if Les Green weren’t so darn charming. This usually happened when she was irritated with our father, though she never said this in his presence.
This statement, even then, I thought was a really odd construction. If we had been Sonny’s kids, we wouldn’t have been…us. We’d have different DNA. We’d look different and sound different, and if we had been raised by Sonny, think differently.
I guess the fact that Les Green was “never a bore” is to the benefit of my sisters and me. No offense to you, Sonny, though. You look like a decent guy, even with that peculiar name.
Oh, today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday,