Stevens Point…The Name Is The Game
By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Don’t know why, but I’ve always been fascinated with names.
First names and especially last names. Some people collect coins. Some collect stamps. Not me. I collect names.
Recently a 2017 Stevens Point and surrounding areas phone book was delivered to my front door. That was a nice surprise. Whenever I’m bored, I’ll sit down and thumb through the phone book just for the hell of it. Pretty sure only elderly people still do that.
The younger generation can find all the phone numbers they need online. They probably use the phone book for a doorstop. But hey, I’ll tell you something. They’re missing out on a good time. Every city has its own phone book, but I’ll put ours up against anybody’s.
I’m talking about good old Stevens Point with a little help from Plover and Wisconsin Rapids. For instance, did you know that we have a Fish, Bass, Gill and Pike? We don’t have a Trout like Mike in baseball, but we do have a Rick Koehler who goes by “Bullhead”.
Our area also has a Bird, Crow, Robin, Finch, Jay, Swan, Crane, Chick and Parrott. Too bad we don’t have a Sparrow like Rory who played in the NBA. Our area is also blessed with a Link, Fink and Bink. There’s no Colonel Klink, but we do claim a Klinke.
Does anyone else have a Saltz and Peper? We do. We also have a Bacon and a Hamm. How about our Fix and our Fox? We can rattle off with pride our names of Black, Blue, White, Gray, Grey and Green. For that matter, we also have a Pride!
We can claim an Elliot and an Eliot and a Ness but not Eliot Ness. Our area can boast the names of Marie, Marty, John, Lu, Marvin, Frank, Dick, Rich, Paul, Kim, Simon, Patrick, Rose, Roy and Thomas.
Those are all LAST names in our phone book!
We have a Lee and a Marvin but no Lee Marvin. There’s also a John, Fitzgerald and Kennedy but not a John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Then there’s Robert Jack. I played against Jack Roberts in Little League. Our book also lists a Thomas and a Jefferson but not a Thomas Jefferson. And you will also find Benn and Franklin but not where they go together.
Are you looking for Jensen or Jenson? Hansen or Hanson? Olsen, Olson, or Oleson? We got them all. A UPS is listed but I didn’t find a number for Stanley Downs.
Our phone book begins with Olaf Aanrud and ends with Sylvester Zywicki. Close to Olaf is Kareem Abdul but I didn’t find a Jabbar. In between Aanrud and Zywicki are Abraham and Lincoln but no Abe Lincoln. There’s also a George and a Washington.
Almost every directory will have a Smith, Jones, Johnson and Miller, but Stevens Point has those names beat. We can trot out Pope, Bishop, Priest, Monk, Elder, and even Christ! Now you’re talking about the big guys.
The Detroit Lions had Milt Plum, and the Mets had Darryl Strawberry, but Point had Jim Cherry. We got a Burger, too. We can also toss into the mix our Little, Small, Long and Short. There’s no Big but we do have a Biga. You won’t find a Rickie Weeks but we can show you a Week and a Meeks.
While reading through the phonebook, I came upon Sharon and Tony Kempen. The very next name was Ken Pallen. Now, I don’t want to get picky here, but I know Ken Pallen and his last name is PALLEN…not KEN!
And if you look close enough, you’ll come across a Prince, Crown and King. My neighbors Ian and Lisa Grasshoff have a little dog named “Fern”. Someone should tell them that there’s a Fern Hotel listed in Rapids. Other names that piqued my interest were Haight and Love.
If you’re not from this area, I wish you good luck in pronouncing some of the names in our phone book.
Did you know that “Treu” is pronounced “Troy”? I’m half-Polish so I knew that Hojnacki sounds like High-nots-ski. If you want to find Shibilski, look under the “S”. But it’s also spelled Przybelski or Przybylski. How you get “Shibilski” from “Przybylski” is beyond me.
Jazdzewski’s pronunciation is Yay-yes-ski. I don’t have a clue about how to pronounce Dziedzic, and if I was trying to find Skrzeczkoski, I’d first look under Eye Chart. And why is Przekurat pronounced “She-kur-at”?
Good luck with Grys. Is it Grease, Greeze or Gris? Beats me. Why is there an Omernik and an Omernick? Did they add the “c” just to fool us? Add an “e” to Ott and you get Otte.
To add to the confusion, Pfiffner, Pflager and Pflugardt are real doozies. That extra “f” in Pfiffner is not needed, and the “P” in Pflager and Pflugardt might as well not even be there.
When I see the name Mlsna, I’m thinking some letter must be missing.
And we finally come to my favorite name. Smrz. Let that one sink in. S…M…R…Z.
Someone must’ve taken his vowel.