The Name Game

So, why “hokes”

I’m a Hoke or Hokey, just as every Hochanadel has shared those nicknames and can verify that MANY mistaken versions pop up in writing and aloud. We laugh, we groan, we share them with siblings and cousins and collect them in a bulging file.

My most cringe-worthy favorites – of 44:

Hodelnocel, Hovanagel, Hokanato, Hochanazez, Hochachello, Hakendale, Nochanadel, Rochanadel, Hakanotou and Hokenadeau

Spoken mutations, jokey or otherwise:

Hokem-otto, Hasanudu, Hoke-a-pock-a-newberry blues

Lastly, I like this one faxed to my dad on his last job: Hoekenettle

I used to dread the first day in a new classroom where a teacher would struggle, settling on either a good-faith-but-faulty pronunciation or a joke. Either way, every class would break up into laughter. So my first function in each new school was comic relief – and maybe respite from ridicule for any classmate vulnerable by appearance, odor or faulty family reputation.

My musician younger brother Jim changed his name to Hoke on finding the only employer who consistently pronounced Hochanadel correctly was Emmylou Harris,  a goddess in many ways.

And considering how Jim and I co-discovered music together, this whole thing is a sort of hokes (plural, like hokes’) jukebox anyway.