I’m sure anyone my age remembers the show Happy Days. Remember how Ritchie Cunningham’s sister, Joanie, fell in love with the Fonz’s cousin, Chachi? I thought Chachi was something they made up for the show. So, color me surprised a few years back when I found several photos of my Dad signed “Chachy”.
The first one was a photo from his days in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He sent it to his mother and it was signed Chachy. When I first found this, we all got a big kick out of teasing him. In fact, a couple of the grandkids got to calling him Papa Chachy.
I don’t recall ever asking him how he got this nickname. If I did, I don’t remember getting a straight answer. He died three years ago, so I’ve lost my chance.
You know, it’s funny how you can see things but not see all the details. The other day I was remembering my Dad as the anniversary of his death had come. Good, fond memories. I was looking over a photo of him when he was about 18. He’s wearing a jean jacket. Funny thing is I never noticed that the word “Chachy” stitched on the left hand side of the jacket.
My Dad is the one on the left with the jacket on. If you look closely you can see the word “Chachy”. The photo was taken somewhere around 1944-1945.
Nicknames used to be a bigger part of our culture. Baseball players always had nicknames. Most of grandfather’s Portuguese cousins had nicknames. I’m pretty sure that was because they all had the same first name and it was the only way to keep them straight. And, my Dad had a nickname.
So, Chachy, I’m thinking about you on this third anniversary of your passing away. And, I’m getting a kick out seeing this photo and recognizing this little detail after so many years.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com