Movies Making Nicknames
Recently two people told me how they heard I got the nickname “Rock”. They both told the same story; therefore, it must be true.
They said I was visiting a friend and the friend’s mother, not knowing me, and wanting to know who her child was associating with, asked my name. And I said, “Rock” and the name adhered to me. That is wrong. Wrong! (Both times)
I was there, I know. My story is more dramatic and more like an epic. What really happened was that in 1956 a new kid came into our English class. I remember the classroom. It was in the 2nd level of the Winn Street with windows on the Winn Street side. I remember Warren Gordon was in the first seat of my row, then me. I bet that is because we were arranged alphabetically order.
The new kid was tall and lanky. His last name was Crane. Sometime during his first day in that class I jokingly called him Ichabod Crane. He favored the teacher in the Disney movie of the HEADLESS HORSEMAN.
It made him mad. He was infuriated! He glared at me. Opps. I realized he had a score to settle with me.
At lunch time up on the baseball field, near the tennis court, he came directly at me, frowning. He shoved me and in so many words asked me what gave me the right to give him a name. He was right. He was also bigger than me. I apologized.
An apology wasn’t good enough. He wanted a piece of my ass. He shoved me again.
Again, I apologized and I think, if it was not from outside interference of some blood thirsty friends, who would love to see a good fight, started shouting and telling each of us to hit the other one, and even went as far as trying to shove each other into opposing force.
Ichabod Crane obliged them. He jumped at me with his fists swinging like windmill blades. No style, no grace. The poor guy didn’t realize he had no guard up for defense. He thought he just needed two deadly weapons.
I popped him in his unguarded nose. Blood went everywhere.
This enraged him even more. He came at me wilder using the same windmill tactic. Again I popped him in the face, this time his lip.
Finally, somebody hollowed, “Teacher!” and cigarettes were stepped on we automatically quit fighting as if nothing happened, except one of us had a bloody nose and a ripped lip.
I think probably the reason Crane had a chip on his shoulder is because he was (1) strung out because he had to start all over and (2) he wanted to make a “rough-guy” statement to show he was no one to mess with. And I was a good target. Not only was I a wise-cracker but I probably was also the smallest guy in class.
I’m not sure getting his nose bloodied by the smallest guy in class was exactly the statement he had in mind.
It just so happened the week before at The Strand Theater I saw the movie SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME starring Paul Newman and Sal Mineo. It was the success story of boxer Rocky Graziano. I took notes: looking for an opening and keep up a guard.
And that same week as the fight at The Strand was the movie WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? Starring Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall. With the name of the movie; the fact the previous money was about a professional boxer named Rocky; and my surname is Hunter, after our fight, somebody (I think it was Neal Lawrence) said, WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?
Someplace, wherever Crane may be, he may just finishing up his blog post saying, “and that is how I got the nickname Ichabod.”
And someplace else, a 34 year old son of mine reading this might be saying, “That is why my name is Rockwell Tyson Hunter?”
Well, it could be Edwin Tyson Hunter, III.