As I was listening to Blur’s classic “Beetlebum” today I was suddenly reminded of a kid with that name when I was a youngster. I can’t remember his “real” name to save my life, nor can I remember what his surname was. All I remember was that everyone called him “Beetlebum” or “Beetle” for short.
Beetlebum was a couple of years ahead of me, and my memories of him are foggy at best. Mostly I remember that he looked a lot like Alfalfa from Our Gang, or rather what Alfalfa would look like as a twelve year old wearing a green army jacket.
Beetlebum got me thinking about other kid’s nicknames I knew as a child. There was this girl we all called Peanut, and like Beetle, I couldn’t tell you her real name if my life depended on it. Peanut was a lot of fun though, and I was sad when she moved away.
Another girl I was great mates with as a youngster was called Cricket. All her family called her Cricket, and until she passed away a few months ago of Crone’s Disease I never even knew her real name was Carol Ann. Cricket and I got into loads of mischief when we were kids, and almost every memory I have of her is of the two of us laughing--except when her family announced they were moving to Arizona. We cried and begged for her to be able to live with me and my family. Her mom and my mom were best friends, and we hoped they’d see reason and let her stay. But they didn’t, and we sobbed and wailed and carried on, and she tried to smuggle me into the car with her when they left.
I was also friends with a girl nicknamed Tater, but we were not allowed to call her that in front of her mother, who was very strict. Tater’s real name was Dawn, a name she hated. She called herself Tater, so we did too.
Then there was my cousin Chuckie. She was called Chuckie the moment she popped out of the womb and is still referred to by that name, although she likes to remind everyone that she DOES have a "proper" name.
I wish I’d had a nickname.