Sunday, April 09, 2006

A.K.A. Boots

True to the promise from my last post's comments, here's the story about why my family does NOT call me Ginnie. And this photo from almost 61 years ago is living proof.

Held by my maternal grandmother in late summer, 1945.

Mom says my due date was July 7, 1945. Her doctor, however, was going to be on vacation then and told Mom he wanted to induce me beforehand. Mom had only 2 children at that point and had no clue back then that she should/could have objected. She just went along with the story.

Of course, I knew all along that I was a Gemini (NOT a Cancer), so as far as I was concerned, I was supposed to be born on June 13th. So I was. However, at 5.5 lbs. I was considered "premature" and had to be left in the hospital for 3 weeks before they'd let me go home. I laugh about that now because today a 5.5 lb. baby would hardly be considered a premie!

By the time I got home, which was Lynchburg, VA, it was already July and hot (the South!). But Mom says she couldn't keep my feet warm. Any booties she put on my feet were too big and kept falling off. She eventually took the socks from the last doll she had kept from age 12 and put them on me. They went all the way up to my hips but stayed on.

When a nurse friend came by to see me for the first time and saw me in the doll socks, she starting laughing and exclaimed, "Why, she's all boots!"

From that point on, my family called me Bootsie (or my preference, Boots). My teachers, classmates and church family all called me Virginia (and still do if ever I see them). But from college on, I had everyone new call me Ginnie.

To this day, if anyone in my family calls me Ginnie (like my sister Ruth in her comments), it feels totally weird. If Donica calls me Boots around my family, THAT feels weird. But if YOU called me Boots just for the halibut, I'd probably walk around with a big grin on my face!

Ahh. The stories we know and the stories we tell :)


  1. Good to know for when I'm back up there! :)

  2. That's a neat story. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Definitely a Gemini! And how cute is that picture? You're adorable!

    Our first son was premature as well so I know how tiny those little feet can be. :-)

  4. Hi there Boots :)
    Just thought i try it to see what sort of a grin you have, Difficult to say from here. Dear Ginnie, i'm always amazed at the information you pack into this blog! and all the old photos you have. Bravo. These little pieces of history should be protected.
    Many thanks also to the support you have been giving me. How's it going with the B&W :)

    Best wishes

  5. Mr. Fab: HaHa. You can call me Boots any time you're here in Atlanta!

    Tim: You're welcome! We should all tell our nickname stories :)

    Christina: It amazes me to think about how different I'd be if I HAD been born on July 7th--not a Gemini at all! What a weird thought.

    Neil: Yes, you brought a smile to my face! And yes, the old photos amaze me as well. That they even had cameras back then--HA!

    My B&W practice thus far has been in the old photos I'm reworking, already in B&W. This one was a real doosie but believe it or not, is better now than the original, so that tells you a lot! When I start converting color to B&W, you'll be the first to know :)

    Thanks for YOUR support as well.

  6. I know you say it feels wierd if I call you Boots, and it feels wierd to me too! However, if we are with your family and I call you "Ginnie" they all look at me like they don't know who I am talking, just to make things easier I adapt to their name of you (just for a little while).

  7. What a wonderful story... I'm all about reading memoirs these days, and reading yours is certainly one of the nicest parts of my day.

  8. ah how cute! Such a story, but see what happens when I'm in class all day and miss out on the stories. hehe. I was born at about the same weight by the way, but I was right on time...

  9. Donica: I know, What to do, What to do!

    TO: Awww. How sweet. Thanks.

    ET: Oh yes, your photo class! You'll tell us about it soon, I'm sure. About the same weight? Wow--another thing in common :)

  10. I always take notice when Donica calls you "Boots" and I appreciate the effort. Of course we know who you're talking about if you say "Ginnie." :) So it's your choice, D!

    The other WEIRD story is "Jenny Lou"! I'll never forget finding a report card for Jenny Lou in Dad's file drawer and completely freaking out, believing I had a dead sister that no one ever told me about! I must have been white when I went to Mom and asked about it. She just smiled and said one of your teachers made her own nickname of you from Virginia Louise (or Lousie, as Dad would say -- good thing he didn't mean it!).

    What this all tells me about you is that you nudge your special way into people's hearts, and they want to call you by any loving name they can that seems appropriate.

  11. That was really fun, Ginnie, thanks. It's interesting to hear how nicknames are "born". In this case, you were really "born" with it. ;-)

  12. Ruth: I cracked up over the Jenny Lou story. I think Mom also had a friend named Virginia Louise that they called Jenny Lou. She told me once that after finding out people were calling me Ginnie, she wished she had told me about her friend, so that I would have chosen Jenny Lou. But for me, Jenny comes from Jennifer, not from Virginia. So I'm glad I didn't know :)

    That was sweet what you said about "any loving name." I do feel loved by all the names I have :)

    CS: Yes, I really was born with it. Do YOU have a nickname, I wonder :)

  13. I love this story! I just love little happy peeks into the lives of others.

  14. I love how I can look into your "baby" face and see the adult you're going to become. You haven't changed a bit. :)

  15. You are without doubt a Gemini!! It was definitely meant to be :)

    I just love reading your 'family posts'. I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of all eight children!

  16. Dixie: Yes, nothing like happy peeks :)

    Lisa: Awww. Now isn't that the sweetest thing to say! It's definitely true that I'm all there :)

    DW: It boggles my mind to think of how many of us are Geminis in this blogging neighborhood. Clearly a Gemini thing to do! I'm still looking for that 8-kids' photo. I have one but it's not the stair-step one. I might have to find it this summer in Michigan. Rats!

  17. Really love that story!
    It's funny but in our family, there is no nickname, I think my mother hated that. My real name is Claudine, so some people tried to call me Cloclo, but I hate that nickname because it was the name of a clown. There is only my best friend from highschool that gave me one: Coco, and I accepted it because it sounds funny, and she was my best and she didn't do that to make fun of me.

    But the Clo I decided to use is kind of a signature. You know the small message you put on the fridge for your lover? I always sign them with that name, though nobody ever called me like that. So now, I have a blogger nickname...

  18. I'm so glad you are CLO, Clo :) I love your story and think that name is perfect for you. I will always call you Clo!

  19. Love reading your memoirs!
    My newest little nephew is a mere 4.13 pounds, 6 weeks premie. Healthy though, but still in nicu since he's small and early.

  20. PS: in one of your posts on my blog you asked what my name is since I have Willow Grace as my site but my moniker is madretz. Madeline is my first, Retzlaff my second so I just shortened part of both and smooshed 'em. Everyone calls me Madeline, a few call me Mad, fewer actually call me Madretz, and I can't stand Maddy. :-p

  21. Wow, Madeline, that's so tiny. I know they can survive and do well even smaller, which amazes me.

    And now I know YOUR name! Thanks for the explanation. I love it :)

  22. I have the same name issues with Swede. I had been friends with Swede for almost a year before I realized he was in love with me- boy was I dense!

    We'd been living together for about a month, when one evening he asked me if I'd call him Brandon. My mental jaw dropped! How could I start calling the man that I love someone else's name? Every now and then I would say Brandon, and I felt like I was cheating on him and accidentally calling him the wrong name!

    Now I am used to calling him Brandon (That's what his parents, siblings, childhood friends, and I call him). And I have even gotten used to calling him Swede when we're not alone.

    By the way, his real name is Harland. Brandon is his middle name! But he is a part of a long lineage of Harland Something Larsons; they all go by their middle names, so as not to confuse anyone.

  23. Rachel, so where does Swede come from? I think he's Swedish (esp. with that name!), so is that the nickname his friends call him? Well, at least you know the predicament :)

  24. Swede is Swedish. His grandfather was nicknamed "The Swede." One day, my Swede, who was then Brandon, went into a restaurant or store of some sort, and an old man looked at him and said, "Swede?" Brandon said, "No, but he was my grandfather." Apparently, my Swede is the spittin' image of the original Swede, and this little old man thought he was seeing a ghost!

    My Swede grew up in a Mormon family, and has been trying to escape it since he was 8 years old. So, when he moved down here from Utah, he told everyone his name was Swede to help him shed the old and bring in the new- plus, as a classical guitarist, the name really sticks, and someday, when he's famous, it will be a perfect name- like Madonna, Sting, the Beattles!

  25. By the way, I have always known you as Aunt Bootsie, do you prefer I call you something else?

  26. Rachel, I am so eager to meet Brandon/Swede! And YOU--like meeting you again for the first time! You can always call me Aunt Boots(ie). That was kinda my point: if YOU called me Aunt Ginnie, it would sound weird :)