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What’s in a Nickname?

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Do you have any nicknames that you go by? Where did they come from? Any fun stories behind the nicknames?

I have several from friends, family, and acquaintances – most of them are pretty straightforward and derive from my full name. Others take a little explaining since they don’t seem to derive as easily.

One of my nicknames I’ve earned is Gumby, like the rubbery, bendable figure. The nickname came from my clarinet instructor back in my first year of high school. I was terrified of performing in front of my band director for private testing days during the holidays, which was done to assess our skills for concert season. The thought of my director shaking his head to the music made me tense up – elbows would be tucked against my sides, shoulders would be up high, and my head sinking into my shoulders. My instructor would try to get me to relax as he had me run through the pieces that I needed to perform in front my conductor. Sometimes he would say, “Gumby…Gumby…Gumby you need to bend – you can’t play like this.” The nickname stuck even after I started to become more comfortable with performing in front of my conductor.

Nowadays, I hear Gretch more often, especially around the workplace. I think that’s probably the default nickname that I continue to hear from most people. From time to time, I might hear one of my more unique nicknames from friends or family.

Yet my first and main nickname that I go by came from a waiter at T.G.I. Fridays when I was 4 years old. He liked kids and my parents recalled the moment where he knelt by my chair and said, “Well Gretty, what would you like?”


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