What’s in a Name?

me and Harry Morton

I LOVE my name. I love Fredrica. I love Fredde Duke. I just love my name. A lot of people call me by my first AND last name, so they must love it too. Sometimes friends call me Duke or Dukie. I love that. My dad was Duke and sometimes Dukie.

But here is what I hate. Frankie. Hate it. Because clearly you were not listening. And the other reason is that there was this wicked little girl who was walking with her posse in my alley when I was also little — I was OLDER than her — and she looked at me and called me Frankie in this nasty voice that was unforgettable.

I shouldn’t take it personally because no one is saying Frankie instead of Fredde to be wicked. However, it still gets me edgy.

There is a girl that works at the market in town that has taken to calling me Frankie. At first I corrected her but it didn’t work, so now I have given up and respond to Frankie. She says, “Hi, Frankie,” and I say Hi back, usually whispering to myself as I walk away, “Oy, Frankie.”

I have a lot of old people that I like to call to check in on. I love almost all old people. But when I call — and sometimes months can go by — I say “Hi, it’s Fredde.” And they often respond, Hi, Betty.” Here is an actual conversation that took place with a friend of my dad’s named Harry Morton. It was months after my father died. I dial the number in Florida. Phone rings and Harry picks up. “Hi Harry, it’s Fredde.”

“Hi, Betty.”
I say louder this time, “No Harry, it’s FREDDE.”
He says, “Hi, BETTY.”
Again I go, “It’s FREDDE!” now screaming it.
He says, “Oh, hi, Fredde, how are you?”
I say, “Sad, Harry.”
He says, “Why are you fat?”
I say, “Harry, I’m SAD”.
Again, Harry says, “Why are you fat, Fredde?”
This time I yell, “I’m not FAT, Harry, I’m SAD!!!!!”

We try it one more time and then he says to me, “Talk to my wife Billie about being fat,” and he hands the phone to his wife.
I then went into great detail about how fat I was. Kidding. I said, “Billie, I’m not FAT, I’m sad because I miss my father.” And Billie says, “I’m sorry you’re sad, Frankie.”

Today, I had a whole different name given to me. I called a mother of a friend of mine. We talked for twenty minutes and at one point she called me Patty. I corrected her only once. But she continued calling me Patty for the rest of our conversation. So, now I guess I’m Patty Duke!”

My friend Ben has taken to only calling me Granny now. Never Fredde. It’s because he and all my other friends make endless fun of me because I like to eat dinner at 6:00. I am going to make a suggestion that is not at all an “early bird special” kind of a place and I don’t eat at those places, whatever they are. I will however suggest that you do also go early because this place only has around ten tables and it does book up fast. You can’t make a reservation at Santa Monica Seafood on Wilshire and 10’th street in Santa Monica, Ca. They have some of the best seafood in town. They deliver fresh seafood in trucks to most of the restaurants and you can also buy seafood and other great food to take home. If you are buying to take home to cook yourself, I am in love with their garlic bread, so pick that up. If you are eating lunch or dinner there, some of my suggestions are to start with fried calamari. They serve it with an amazing lemon aioli. All of their seafood soups are wonderful, especially the cioppino. I like to get grilled salmon that comes with a salad but I switch the salad out for their french fries, some of the best in town. I dip those fries in the lemon aioli. (fat Fredde/Frankie/Betty/Patty- that I am!) My son Barnaby loves the tuna sandwich. My friend’s love the fresh oysters.
P.S. My friends are also going to be mad at me for giving this great secret in L.A. away

my friend Janet eating an oyster at Santa Monica Seafood

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17 Responses to “What’s in a Name?”

  1. Tory says:

    Since you are so good at names, maybe we can get your help with brainstorming!!

  2. I love you Freddy Duke. I love your name and the head attached to that name. Great writing Tex.

  3. I think you have the corner on great stories! I personally don’t care what people call me as long as they call…L.O.L.

  4. Madeline says:

    Hey Fredde, I’ve recently discovered that restauarant … it’s delicioso!

  5. Ellen Bloom says:

    Oh Fredde! You just crack me up. Looking at the comments above, even some of your best friends can’t SPELL your name correctly!

    Patty Duke! that’s a good one! I get Helen, Elaine or Mary-Ellen all the time, especially at Starbucks. So, I told the barrista my name was Joan. How could they mess up Joan? A bit later I heard him call out JUAN, your Chai Tea is ready!

    Oy, is right!

  6. Alan Duke says:

    LOL Fred The Head. Good story. When I go into El Pollo Loco for lunch I tell them my name is Ricardo or Jorge. I just stopped telling them my name was Duke because when I get the receipt back it always says Juke and then when they call my order, I have no idea they are calling me. Ricardo is just easier. So now at El Pollo Loco, just call me Ricardo. What’s in a name?

  7. WENDY MORTON says:

    You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Harry’s daughter. You and your brother came to my little girl’s 1st bday party in LA. I remember your Dad very well. He came to visit us in NY and brought Hola Hoops!
    I know he and my Dad were BFFs.

  8. Pauli says:

    Fredde, what you don’t know is that I’ve taken to calling Facebook Freddebook. You are the glue that holds so many ‘friends’ together.
    Your voice is singular, complex and compelling. And Fredde, by any other name, your soul would always shine through! Keep ’em coming!

  9. Laura Plotkin says:

    Thanks for another good one, Fredde! I love the Florida phone conversation, like so many I’ve had with friends of my mom’s–just had one last week with Gertrude, one of the few friends left from her group. She told me that she lost Ralph, her dear husband of 72 years, in November, and we shed a few tears together. I love old people too (and it’s a good thing, since I am fast becoming one)! XOX

  10. janet graham says:

    It’s a good thing you didn’t tell them about happy hour mon-thurs 2-5 pm. oysters $2! did we have oysters together? do you eat oysters fredde?

  11. Joy Aroff says:

    Oh freddie this was so-o-o Fun. People have to get big giggles out of this delightful story. Everyone must have some sort of conversation like these if they think long enough. My first name is never pronounced right except it was by the old gentleman who you used to check us in at the airport when arriving back in the states. Reason being, he always remembered the name of the movie actress I was named after and it is unusual.
    Think all of us who live in Santa Monica are hep to your seafood find. Keep that pen or typewriter moving. Don’t know you favorite manner of writing. We wait with baited breath for the next chapter. Love always.

  12. Ben Weiss says:

    First off you are granny for more than your need to eat at 5! But since I love you i can make that happen. I too have trouble with people getting my name right. Ben… Seems easy enough. Every time I go to Starbucks I say my name and they always say back Dan??? So know I have a Strarbucks name. I call my self Sammy and they get it right every time. I choice mine after the great Sammy D!!

  13. My personal fave; Kumamotos and a small bowl of their Cioppino or Manhattan Chowder.

    I do believe we have failed at making our lunch date happen. Maybe next week?

  14. Jc Morton says:

    I’m laughing so hard at this post!!!!! Sounds just like my Dad would keep saying exactly the WRONG thing!!!!!!! He was always making up names for people, and getting their real names wrong!!!!! Once he thought he got your name right, he could never change it…. even if it wasn’t your right name!!! You know, Dad’s original last name was Mintz….. they named me Candy… yup.. Candy Mintz! Guess they had my future all picked out for me as a stripper!!!!!!! ha! I got razzed in school plenty… Mintz Meat, Pepper Mintz, it wasn’t fun. My parents both adored you no matter what your name was…. but you already knew that! xo

  15. Linda says:

    Oh, Frieda, you are so funny … XO. .. love from Lindina.

  16. Linda says:

    Love each and every one of you …

  17. PK Fields says:

    I so get the name thing! Every day I am asked why I am call PK .
    Today at a meeting when I explained to a woman it stood for Pamela Kerry, that I have always been called PK, she actually wrote down Pamela on my business card. WTF?

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