None of Us Liked Our Nicknames by
(25 Stories)

Prompted By What's in a Name

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All the males in my family changed their names. That is, everyone had a nickname and none of us liked the ones we were given. So:  My father, known as Buddy, until he went to college, became John, which matched his birth certificate.. In the next generation, Burr (short for Burgess, his middle name) became Joe which is of course the common nickname for Joseph, his first given name. Jay became John (I don’t know why Jay didn’t suit him). I moved from Teddy (hated being called a Teddy Bear) and became Ed (which you know as “Mr. Ed” on this site. Much better than Teddy, don’t you think – especially since it goes so well with my picture.) Willie (short for William, of course), became Bill. He simply announced one day he wanted all of us to call him Bill.  No one questioned his decision, and from that day on, he was Bill. Years later, he said he had no idea that Bill was a common nickname for William. There was simply another boy down the block named Bill, and Willie thought he was cool, so he would be Bill as well.


I’m not sure what my parents would do if they had it to do all over again. … and my mother said all she wanted was one girl.

Profile photo of Mister Ed Mister Ed

Characterizations: funny, right on!


  1. Suzy says:

    Maybe we could start calling you Mr. Teddy! We did have a Nicknames prompt back in March 2020, but I guess you weren’t on the site then. It would be fun if you also told us why you had the names you did – especially Burgess, where did that come from?

  2. Ah Mr Ed, your poor mother! All she wanted was one girl and she got a talking horse instead!

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    All good, common names., Ed. Easier than Burr, I think. Though with the resurgence of historic names, that one might have been more interesting now. It is interesting how names run in cycles.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Maybe I missed something, but were you named Teddy, or was it short for Theodore? My grandfather was a Theodore—called “Ted “. He didn’t get the boy he wanted and named his second daughter “Theodora” —and she went by “Teddy” all her life. It’s always something.

    • Mister Ed says:

      I worked for a woman in the AG’s office named Theodora and we call called her Teddi. (I think with an “i” at the end, but I’m not sure.) Ted is most often a nickname for Theodore as you point out, but it’s also used for Edward, or Edwin, in my case.

  5. Nicknames were rarely used in our family, probably because the given names were Yiddish and were generally discarded. Everyone ultimately chose the English name they wanted. My mother was named Mirka, and chose the name “Mary”. I always thought nicknames are pretty cool and that’s why I chose one for myself. Your family, in my mind, would be the height of “cool”, with so many nicknames.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Enjoyable story about nicknames and how popular they were at one time. Ed is definitely an improvement from Teddy!

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