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Nicknames can hang on for years

July 22, 2012
By LESLIE LETUSICK - Copy editor ( , The Herald-Star

Many people have nicknames. It is not uncommon to go by their nicknames as opposed to their real names, especially for famous people.

We have Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Michael "Air" Jordan from the world of sports. Then we have Sean "Diddy" Combs or Marshall Mathers aka "Eminem" from the music industry. Everywhere we look someone has a nickname of some kind.

I have one myself. I have been called several things over the years, some good, some not-so nice. But only one has withstood the test of time.

Do you remember the movie "Uncle Buck" starring the late John Candy? Well, that's where my nickname comes from.

When I was in high school, and I will admit a little on the testy side, my family started calling me Tia. For those who don't know, Tia was the witchy, teenaged niece of Buck's. The name has stuck. It has stuck to the point that family members whom I haven't really even had much contact with since that time, still call me that.

It has stuck to the point that my aunt has me listed in her e-mail address book as Tia, not Leslie. My grandmother and mother even call me T. I guess if the shoe fits at any time, you have to wear it - for life.

My husband Mark is better known at the coke plant as Spark. The coke plant is good for giving nicknames. Mark will come home and tell me a story about something someone said, and he has to use the nickname in place of the real name or I have no idea who he's talking about.

A few others shared their nicknames with me as well.

Gary Gross, Mason, Ohio: My nickname is Geeg, and it was created by a very good friend of mine extracted from the first letters in each of my first and last names and then by sounding it out it was stretched to Geeg! Simple enough but extremely memorable.

Nancy Gross, Mason, Ohio: Nan (obvious reason).

Paulette Coss, Rayland: Pinky, "a nickname of my dad's twin sister and my dad just started calling me that, too," she says.

Mryl Letusick, Rayland: "Doc, because I was a medic in the Vietnam War."

Joe Biondi, Adena: "When I started dating my wife, her mother thought it would be confusing with two Joes (she had a son named Joe, too) so she nicknamed me Ralph Rotten. Every niece and nephew on that side of the family call me Ralph. Some of them didn't even realize my name is really Joe."

Joanne Modreck, Bridgeport: "The nurses I used to work with at the hospital did, and still do, call me Moe."

Gordon Koegler, Wheeling: (As told by friend Mike Link) "Way back in 1970 when Captain and I got out of the service there was a song called 'Ride Captain Ride' by the Blues Image. Giving Gordon the title of Captain was a tribute to his military service and nod toward his adventurous spirit. My best times then and still today are when we get together. He was the leader in our group of friends. His parties were legendary those first few summers out of the service. Gordon liked to direct things, plan ways to get revenge, find ways to prank his friends. He had a lot of leadership qualities you would find in a military captain. In the final analysis, he's my best friend, he's the captain."

Leslie Powell, Harrisville: LP (obvious explanation).

(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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