Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
News

Schrader: A good nickname that stuck

Tony Xidis. Photo submitted.
Tony Xidis. Photo submitted.

What’s in a childhood nickname like Beanzie?

Nicknames were common back in my school days and one of my classmates, David Blank, created such tags for many of the boys. One of mine that is mentionable was “Shuns” which was short for “Captions” which was the answer I gave in English class one day when the teacher asked “What is the term for the words used with a newspaper photo?” So he shortened it to Shuns and I was stuck with that for years. Of course we devised a nickname for him: “Kets.” That was short for “Blankets” which was an extension of his name.

So when a Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club member recently told me about their annual bike marathon that used the name of one of their members nicknamed “Beanzie” in the title I was curious how this man got tagged. It turns out that five DeKalb men who were avid bikers – Jay Schneider, Marv Fogel, Dean Krutoff, Bill Finucane, and Toney Xidis, met weekly for breakfast at the Lincoln Inn before embarking on their spin around the county. One morning the conversation drifted to childhood names and Toney wouldn’t admit to having one. This just piqued the curiosity of the others who did some detective work to discover his moniker through a family member. So he became “Beanzie” once again to his buddies, after shedding the name some 40 years earlier.

Asking Toney how this name came about, he admitted he didn’t remember for a long time but then once day asked his Aunt Martha how he got tagged with it. She explained that when he was a youngster he was hyperactive, always jumping around, so instead of “Jumping Bean” they just shortened it to “Beanzie.” He had an older brother who was a bit on the round side and so was called “Butterbean.” Then a half brother was dubbed “Taki” but no one remembers how that came about.

So when the Kiwanis wanted a unique name for their annual fundraiser, a ride that runs from 23 to 101 miles around DeKalb County, “Biking with Beanzie” caught on. Now in its 11th year, the ride attracted 530 bike enthusiasts just two years ago. They hope to attract at least 500 this Sunday, so they’ve ordered that many T-shirts with the Beanzie design on them. Toney also told about the clever roadside signs they would put up along the route with Burma Shave jingles. Then came some artwork on posters that depicted such scenes as Mt. Beanzie– three U.S. presidents and Toney – just like the one in the Black Hills.

I heard another quirky story about the route markers, the members who paint arrows and numbers on the roadway to keep the riders on course. It seems there was some road kill on the route where they needed to paint a strip. So that year a painted line ran right over the top of the road kill. Much easier than having to find a scoop shovel and remove the critter from the pavement, I guess. The ride is a scenic one, winding through the countryside and stretching as far as Shabbona State Park and west of Paw Paw where the “wind farms” can be viewed. (But be careful, those big blades might whish you right off your bike.) There are plenty of rest stops with drinks, and “SAG” wagons to aid ailing pedalers or a crippled bike.

People can sign up that morning at the DeKalb High School parking lot from 6:30 to 10 a.m. or register earlier online at www.Active.com.

It’s not only scenic and good exercise but the funds they raise provide more pathways, green ways and other community service projects undertaken by the club. And if you look closely you will see Beanzie himself at the starting point. In real life he was a clinical social worker in the Sycamore School District for many years, now retired and still biking.

• Barry Schrader was editor of the Daily Chronicle from 1969-1972 and later worked at newspapers in San Francisco’s East Bay. He and his wife are retired and live in DeKalb. Visit his Web site, www.dekalbcountylife.com, for an archive of columns. Reach Barry at barry815@sbcglobal.net or P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115.

Loading more