Reginald P. Watchemacallit. “What kind of a name was that,” he thought to himself, “What were they thinking!” His grandpa had told him that when his great great grand parents immigrated to the USA the people admitting and processing them on Ellis Island couldn’t understand their name because it was extra long and hard to pronounce. Also they were so rushed because there were so many people and so much work to do they just wrote down watchemacallit thinking that others would correct it in time but that never happened.
He grumbled on his way home from school. It had been miserable since he got to school. At home it had just been kind of silly and fun when he was a little kid but now that he was going to school it was completely different.
After people stopped laughing at his name they always asked what the P. stood for. It was just a nice simple name, Phillip but if they were making fun of him he would always say, “Phooey,” and yell it in their faces. That way it gave him some way to sort of strike back.
As he was walking he looked in the window of a sort of junk and antiques store called Bits and Pieces and saw an old electric typewriter with a sign, Doesn’t Work So Only $2.00. He enjoyed fixing things and knew immediately how to repair it. It was just an adjustment and no parts would be needed.
He went in the store to tell them he could fix it easy and then they could charge more for it but when he entered there was no one there. Just as he was about ready to leave he heard people talking loudly near a door he hadn’t noticed before.
Suddenly the door swung open and a woman’s voice rang out, “Jeffrey P. Thingamading! You come right back here!”
A kid about his age stepped partly out and spun back around facing the open doorway. He said, “Mom, I’m not going to wear that sweater with my name on it to school even if Grandma wove it special for me.”
He turned around the other way and noticed Reg for the first time. He said, “Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you. Hey, aren’t you the new kid in school. The other jerks in school said your name was ‘Phooey,’ Course I didn’t believe them.”
Reg smiled and said, “I say that to them because they hassle me all the time because of my last name.” Jeff quickly replied and said, “ Oh, can’t be as bad as mine.” Reg shook his head and said, “It is. It’s Watchemacallit!”
The boys stared at each other for a moment and then just shook their heads almost in disbelief that someone else was in the same situation that they were.
Jeff said, “Ellis Island, you too?” Reg nodded and said, “Finally, someone I can actually relate to.” Jeff smiled and said, “I think we’re going to be friends.”
One day when they were walking home from school together they joked about starting a club for kids with big names and the more they talked about it the more it seemed like a good idea.
They’d call it the Big Names Club and it would only be for kids who had big long names especially kids that were teased because of their names.
And that was just exactly what they did. The Big Names Club was a big success. They made lots of new friends and were happy every day that they had a group they could go to and laugh about things and think about things and feel at home away from home.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Goodlife
Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at