How I Got My Name

My father’s name was Robert Saunders Jordan.  His maternal grandfather was Saunders Slate, and he was nicknamed Sandy.  My father was also called Sandy.  That nickname was used so exclusively that eventually he turned his formal name to Saunders Robert Jordan.  When I came along, I was named Edwin Saunders Jordan (the Edwin after my maternal grandfather) and also was nicknamed Sandy.   My father’s mother and sisters always called my father Sandy, so when both of us were around they would distinguish between the two of us as Big Sandy and Little Sandy.  That was confusing enough, but to make things worse our next-door neighbors in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, the Cheek family, had a dog named Sandy.  The comic strip character Little Orphan Annie also had a dog named Sandy, but that was no problem.

I liked Mrs. Cheek.  She was a sweet lady, and I was always welcome in her kitchen.  I would sometimes sit there and watch her coffee pot perk (it doesn’t take much to fascinate a young child) and eat some of her delicious biscuits.  She always seemed to have a bountiful supply.

Confusion arose when the Cheeks called their dog.  When they called “Sandy”, I would come running to the Cheek’s kitchen door.  When Mom or Dad called “Sandy”, the dog would come charging up our back steps – hoping for a handout, no doubt.  Neither the dog nor I could get it straight.  This evidently went on for some time before Dad arrived at a solution.  He contacted the Cheek children and offered them a quarter to change the dog’s name to Rex.  These were the Great Depression years, and a quarter was no mean piece of change.  The deal was struck, and the dog got a new name.  I don’t know how long it took Rex to understand that he was no longer “Sandy”, but over time the name change took, and the problem was solved.

The first Sandy in our family may have been Saunders (Sandy) Slate, my great- grandfather and the father of Loula Slate.  Loula gave my father Saunders for a middle name and called him Sandy, and then came my turn to carry the name.  In recent family generations the nickname has proliferated.  There is my son, Edwin Saunders (Sandy) Jordan, Jr., Robert Saunders (Sandy) Buchanan (a grandnephew), and Robert Saunders (Sandy) Neblett (another grandnephew).  Have I missed anyone?  And I once thought that Sandy was just a name for girls and dogs and a few Scotsmen.


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