Thursday, November 20, 2008


Last Sunday I took Chesapeake Bay Son and Daughter to Bethel Beach, and I didn't get lost once. Another treat? The weather is now so cold, the fiddler crabs have all migrated south, or gone into hibernation, or gone on hiatus or a European cruise or whatever it is fiddler crabs do in the winter. Plus, there was not one horsefly in sight.

I did take a blajillion pictures, so get ready because you're going to be seeing a lot of white sand, blue water, gray wood and brownish-green grasses. Speaking of blajillion, or words you don't hear everyday, let's talk about unusual names

Reading through the various books I have on Mathews and Gwynn’s Island, I have come upon many names that are unique and some are just plain odd. (By the way, when I say "reading" I mean quickly scanning and flipping pages, stopping to look at a picture or two along the way. It is the ADD thing that I swear I have.)

Besides their given names, many people around here have nicknames. We have a Cougar, Pookie, Mumps, Cotton, Mooch, Meat, Poochie, Bubby and many, many, many others. The list of nicknames would wrap around this planet several times. I'm reasonably sure that Gwynn's Island alone has more folks with nicknames than the states of Virginia and North Carolina combined.

Below is a list of some of the names—these were all first names-- that jumped out at me from the books I’m reading (aka skimming through). Most are from the early 1900's.

Genius (Yes, Genius.)

The unusual names below were from slaves who lived on Gwynn’s Island in the mid- 1800’s:


Personally, I like the name Larken. Larken Cassana has a nice ring to it. In fact, I'm in love with it. That would be a great pen name. I love Risen too. Genius and Rufus? Not so much.

Any Mathews readers (or rather, reader) know of any other local names or nicknames that stand out? How about non-Mathews folks, what's the most unusual name or nickname you've heard?

Larken Cassana
The Blogger Formerly Known as Chesapeake Bay Woman


nativedevil said...

Let's see, there's a man nicknamed "Pepsi", and a guy that everyone calls "Howdy" even now that he is in his late 50's. There was an old man that everybody called "Watergate". I knew a man at Robert Slaughter's service station years ago that everyone called "Mouse". Our good friend "Shorty" Garnett, may he rest in peace, died way too young. And some guy that got the nickname "Bush" because an intoxicated shop teacher at the Intermediate School couldn't pronounce his last name (guess that's why the shop teacher was missing a few fingers, OUCH!)

Grandma J said...

I have a really weird first name so I'm used to nicknames...mostly the ones you listed....Pookie, Mumps, Mooch etc.

Can't wait for more beach pictures.

And tell Baby Sis not to be mad, I never really thought that was her hairy lip...nope, not for one minute.

Bear Naked said...

Love the new nom-de-plume Larken.

I went to school with a Marnie, so don't find that one too unusual.
And Alma was the name of a Great Aunt of mine.
One of my roomates (from way back in my youth in the stone age) named her son Levi.

Ola is how I pronounce Hello in Spanish when I go to Mexico.

Bear((( )))

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

ND - I see Pepsi on a regular basis during soccer season..his granddaughter plays in the same league as CB Daughter.

GJ - You and I have the same first name. I like to think of it as not one you hear every day rather than weird, although that term certainly applies. Don't worry about Baby Sis...she's loaded to the gills with feistiness. (Is that a word?)

BN - I knew an Alma too, she was a neighbor of mine who lived to be about 100, but you don't see many babies being named Alma anymore. My Alma made the best peanut butter cookies this side of the Mississippi. Actually either side of the Mississippi. Nobody could beat her cookies.

Kagey said...

so, I had an aunt named Eulalia. Does that count? And my grandparents and parents grew up in a very very small place in VA called Republican Grove. Rumor is they hung a bunch of republicans in a grove of trees. Not sure why...maybe they voted democrat? Anyway, when my daughter was born almost ten years ago, you sent me a card that her name was "ballsy". That's my best name story ever.

When I read your website, a myriad of emotions came over me. Some, because your pictures and words (supper!, snaps!) were oh, so familiar from my Republican Grove days. And others, because it's been a really, really long time since I've read anything by you. I've missed that connection and didn't know it.

I'm not sure this "toolie" can keep up with the musings on this page, but I'll certainly enjoy reading them.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Kagey - I'm so glad you're reading. I've missed talking to you. Eulalia most certainly does count. Republican Grove is an interesting name as well.....I'm having a really hard time believing your daughter is now 10, I can't understand how time has gone by so quickly. Please keep reading...would love to see y'all sometime.

Mental P Mama said...

Hey Larken--Congrats on winning my little contest yesterday! My great-great grandmother's name was Morning. Does that count?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM - Morning is GREAT. Maybe I'll go with Larken Morning for the pen name. (I can't wait to see what I won.)

big hair envy said...

OK, here goes (Nicknames First)....Butterbean, Cornbread, Tater (are you noticing a pattern there?), Pookie, Spread, Goodwrench, Goat, Bubba (that's so common that it probably doesn't even count), Squeal, Bluefish, Tricky Dicky, Beanie Weenie, Hard Rock, Prime Time, Hollywood, Bunny Rabbit, Coon A$$, Snooty.

Now for the real names (these are (were) actual family members): Primo, Uncle Boy, Hettie Eudora, Edith Geraldine, Edith Willadean, Raleigh Wheat, Wilmer, Malachai.

Must be a "country" thing.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - Outstanding! I know a Tater too. Not to be confused with a Tater Tot. We have numerous Bubbas, as well. It definitely must be a country thing.

Raleigh Wheat? Poor guy.

Big Hair Envy said...

Your Tater & my Tater may be one and the same. Does his wife have a flower name?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - I'm not sure...I'll ask a local expert and let you know later today.

Anonymous said...

yes our tater's wife is a rose!!!

Anonymous said...

BHE, my cousin Tater's wife does have a flower name. :) I think there's only one in Mathews. I have some relatives up in your part of the world, too!

nicknames: Te-Te, Ho-Ho, Diddy, Piggy, Ducky, Boogie, Puss

real names (from my family tree): Keezee, Omega (pronounced AH-maga), Absalom, Onias, Christiana Wisconsin

Oh, I could go on and on!

Y'all have a good Thanksgiving!

anonymous Mathews native...

belladella said...

I am happy to report that as a good Southern girl I have heard of quite a few of these. I even have an Aunt Ola :)

big hair envy said...

ANON: That is TOO funny!! Tater and Flower Name wife are good friends with my sister (CBW - It's the sister you met last Saturday) and her husband. They live in Gloucester, and his CB name is "Candy Man"!!! They all recently went on a big trip to Mississippi together. I can't believe it!! We are practically related!!

Do "your people" in my neck of the woods hang out at Central Garage?? I'm sure I would know them if I saw them!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I'm just reading yesterday's post....the letter that Mamma wrote. I cringed when I read that I was recovering from all the boys and the fun....Probably a good thing you omitted the next paragraph. And, please, Lord, tell me she's not referring to me as the one who said no man would ever want her! No, you would have written Middle Sis if that was me. I don't remember anyone shooting baskets from a skateboard......

-Middle Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Before I forget, some more nicknames from around here: Boufant, Buckwheat, Dopie, Baby Sis (not the one I'm always talking about), Lefty, and Sunshine (CB Baby Sister's nickname). All of these are girls from MHS sports "back in the day".

Anon - Thank you for clearing up that mystery. Come to find out there are TWO Taters around here.

AMNRITSOR - I can always count on you for excellent contributions...I love the names. They're incredible.

Belladella - I'd never heard of Ola before reading this book and now learning of your aunt. (Other than Hola, which as Bear pointed out is hello in Spanish.)

BHE - Before you know it, you'll be coming to family reunions over here. The world is getting smaller and smaller the deeper we delve....

Middle Sis - Baby Sis made the remark, no worries. If it makes you feel any better, the parts of the letter I omitted didn't have to do with you...she was opining on some topics that are better left to a blog that is Rated R..I try to keep this thing PG13, but sometimes I can't help myself...I don't remember any skateboard shooting events myself, but I had alreayd left home when this was written. Thank goodness.....

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Native Devil - I meant to say earlier, that I remember Watergate well, very well, but can't remember if he was Eastview or Westiew Inn ...of course now that so much time has passed, I don't remember which one of those was Eastview and which was Westview, and I'm not ordinarily geographically challenged. I'm thinking Eastview was his hangout and it was the one closest to Emory's, but I could be wrong.

big hair envy said...

I'm getting misty-eyed just THINKING about the good times we will have as a family...

We went to school with a girl named Ola Jane. They just called her "Dolly".

In my county, it seems that most people were called by their first AND middle names. It was important that they go well together.

soupisnotafingerfood said...

My aunt is named Olive but everyone has always called her Doll. Aunt Doll. My other aunt Kathryn was Kalo. My mom was nicknamed Butch for a while - not sure why except she was a stocky child and the youngest (by many years) of 5. And then there was Aunt Peep, who would really get mad if you called her by her real name, Mildred. And my great-grandfather was known as Palmy, though I'm not sure why.

We had a Howdy, too! Not an aunt though.

nativedevil said...

I actually used to see Watergate hanging out at both places. In later years, I recall him more at the one closest to Payne's. For those unfamiliar with Eastview or Westview Inn, both were "nip joints" Everybody in town knew what they sold there, but I never recall once seeing the police at either one.
Like a lot of things in small towns, if you are quiet about what you do, most folks, even the police, will leave you alone.

Anonymous said...

Yep I've got one for ya, and how could you overlook this one: PRUNES. He lives right across the way from you!!!

Here are a few more: MOONPIE ( and if you ever come across this fellow, don't actually call him that, he does NOT like it!)WATERGATE - which I see someone else has already commented on. Watergate was a landmark for those of us who took the drinking route every weekend. I may or may not have stopped in to see him on occasion, that occasion being it was after midnight and we were out of beer...or not.
Also, how could anybody forget BOZO? Don't know if many people knew him, but he was my bff's yard man and he was so much fun. I'm pretty sure he helped us drink vodka from the bar and fill the bottles back up with water. He was a fine man.
And, last but not least YABBIE. I don't think I need to embellish on that one.


Baby sis