My friend, Sam, inspired me recently by sharing the story behind the origin of his last name and its relationship to Easter. If you’re a friend of Sam’s on Facebook, you can read it here. For my last name, a Crocker was simply one who made pottery used for cooking. So, a Crocker was someone who had a knack for cooking. Not a gene I inherited (nor other members of my family that shall go unnamed).
Since I have a unique last name that I get frequent questions about, I thought I would let you in on a little family secret. NO, I AM NOT RELATED TO BETTY CROCKER! It still amazes me that grown adults think they are so creative when they ask me the following question, in one of these forms: “Are you related to Betty?” “Is your mom’s name Betty?” “Do you have a sister named Betty?” Each time someone asks me this, they think that they are the first person in the whole world to ever to be so intelligent, brilliant and witty to ask this of me.
As children my parents had instructed my sister and I in how to deal with prank phone callers. Because of caller ID and cell phone use nowadays, my guess is that prank calls are down. But when I was a kid, they were quite popular. I may have even made one or two myself…I really can’t remember J Every now and again we would get some smart aleck that would see the name “Crocker” in the phone book and figure they would call and ask for Betty. When this would happen, our trained reply was: “No, she can’t come to the phone right now. She’s in the hospital. She burnt her buns.” This would usually get a good laugh from the caller.
In high school, I got saddled with the nickname “Betty” by my freshmen football coach. His assertion was that since he thought that I hit like a girl, that I should have a girl’s name. I was a receiver in a run-dominated offense and I guess I wasn’t the best blocker. Maybe that’s why I eventually got to be a pretty boy quarterback J
Now when I get asked by adults if I’m related to Betty (as has happened at an airport security checkpoint and the checkout line at Target recently), I say with a stone-cold, no expression face: “No, that would not be possible. She’s a fictional character.” Most reply that they thought she was real (I guess like Orville Redenbacher or Sara Lee). But, alas, she is not. If you’re really interested, you can learn all about Betty Crocker and why I’m not related to her here.