Steel in the News
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Posted by Ted Sheppard on December 1, 2010 at 9:33 AM.
When I first started in the steel erection business, there were a lot of nicknames. I don’t see that as much any more. However, I just heard a new one a few weeks ago: No Neck Monaghan. I thought that was a great one, especially because my wife is a Monaghan.
Naturally everyone with the surname Smith had a nickname. There was Cincinnati Smith, Bicycle Smitty, Havre de Grace Smith, and a dozen others. Many indicated where they were from, but I don’t know how Kokomo Joe got his nickname, because he was from Pittsburgh. There was a guy called Waterhead. I don’t know what it meant, or where it came from. I just didn’t want to go there.
My wife loves hearing these names, although she got into it in a funny way. A highway bridge was being built in Athol Springs, N.Y., and it was very, very cold. My car wouldn’t start, because it was 24 below zero. At least, that was what my thermometer said, but that was as low as it went.
I called the superintendent and told him of my problem. He said since we were starting the bridge that morning, he would send Buck Rogers to get me. Well in those days Buck Rogers was a very slim, sleek and handsome comic strip astronaut. Not my Buck Rogers, however.
I told my wife that I would be out back with the car, and that she should just tell Buck to come around. I forgot to tell her what Buck looked like. He was anything but slim and sleek. As I came in the back door of our apartment, I found Mary on the couch laughing and laughing. I asked her what was so funny, and she said that as she had opened the door she said , “You must be Buck Rogers.” He replied that that was just what everyone called him. “My real name is Roy.” Mary told him that I was out back and quickly closed the door.
Over the years, Mary got to know Beechnut, a multitude of Blackies, and many others. But she never forgot Buck, or Roy for that matter.