23 August 2011

The Real Nicknames of Guernsey County, #2

I wrote that post about Funny Clouse the Christmas Window Painter, and realize now that The Real Nicknames of Guernsey County don't all warrant their own post. So here are some nicknames that I recall, with just short explanations--all I know about them.

Not the real Tick-Tock, but that's
how Tick-Tock looked at us.

Let's start with Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock was in his 20s or 30s when I was in grade school. He had some neurological problem, I realize now, that made him swing his upper body and head side-to-side, like a metronome, in rhythm with his walk. He was like a pendulum in a clock, swinging upside down; hence, Tick-Tock.

We used to taunt Tick-Tock as he tick-tocked his way through town, all of us yelling tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. The faster he walked, the faster he tick-tocked.

Not the real gas station, but pretty close.
 There were two sisters who lived in a defunct gas station that was situated on a hairpin curve on the road leading out of town. I don't know how it is that the gas station was never taken out by some drunk going too fast around that turn. It wasn't for a lack of drunks.

The gas station is still there to this day, all grown over, but no one lives in it anymore. The Guernsey County Sheriff cracked down some on squatting since then. Whole families used to live in abandoned stores and Post Offices--all kinds of places. You still see it there sometimes.

Not the real Minnie Pearl,
but that's how Minnie Pearl
looked at us.
Now, these two sisters sold beer, illegally, out of the gas station. If you were in the know, you stopped there and bought it. My mom was in the know. I forget what one sister's name was (dammit), but the other one was called Hard-Nip. Because you could see her nipples sticking straight out through her shirt. They had a ratty little mutt that I just loved. Its name was Minnie Pearl.

Okay, one more pair of nicknames:  my mom's and dad's. For some god-knows-why reason, my mother, whose real name was Mary Belle, got called Gunk by her 11 siblings. I tried to find out why from a couple older aunts on that side. All they could tell me was that their brother, my Uncle Donald, had given it to her. But he wouldn't tell me why; he always just grinned and laughed when I asked him. Then, Uncle Donald up and disappeared one winter. We think he might have caused a car accident and tried to escape, and had climbed down into Will's Creek in the snow and ice to get away, and maybe froze to death or had a heart attack or something. Never did find his body. My mom was real sad for a long time.

Now my dad, whose name is simply Bob, gets called Tice by nearly everyone in town, including me and my mom. The story goes that he dated a girl named Bernice in high school, and his friends started teasing him by calling him Neecy. Then for a while they called him Deecy, then Dice, and then Tice. For some reason it stopped right there and now at 80, he's still Tice to most. I considered naming Asa that, I like the name so much.

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