When I was little, my great grandmother, Nanny, functioned as my grandmother. It worked quite well because my mom needed to take care of her aging mother, I needed a grandmother, and she needed a little girl to dote on. Nanny raised two girls in the forties and fifties (my mom always says that her memoir will be titled We wore curlers to bed because today's generation just doesn't get it). When it came to grandkids Nanny had 7 grandsons, and always wished she had a granddaughter.
My middle name is Grace, after Nanny. My physics teacher calls me Grace because, "when I found out her middle name was Grace I just thought it was so ironic that I couldn't let it go". Nanny always said about the name, "what a stupid name. Grace." I happen to like it. I like that I have a name that means more than just a name, or a bible character.
My mom always says that I truly am Nanny's granddaughter because I like shoes. I like shoes because you can always find a pair that are pretty. It's really hard to have an unsuccessful day shoe shopping. Nanny liked having shoes. She would never buy one pair, she'd find a pair that she liked and then proceed to buy them in every color they had at ZCMI.
Once, when we went out of town, my mom convinced Nanny to take care of Lucius for a week. We were all a little tense as to how it would work, because Nanny could hardly handle four year old Sam, much less a cat. And yet, when we went to pick up Lucius, Nanny had become dear friends with her. We even took Lucius back to visit a few times.
We used to go on outings with Nanny all the time. We probably went to Cowboy Grub at least once a week. We'd go pick her up and take her up there for scones covered in honey. One of my most distinct memories of Nanny is her insisting, in her late eighties, that she could walk the several blocks home from lunch. I remember her standing on the street corner and my mom yelling out the window to make sure she'd be okay. Nanny was rather indignant and made it home.
Sometimes, Nanny and I would go on our own outings. I remember getting cookie dough ice cream at K-mart. My first piece of real jewelry was a gold locket with birds on the front that Nanny bought be a few months before she died. She bought my cousins and I hundreds of Laura Ashley dresses. When she died, I inherited her china - a pretty set with gold edging and pink flowers on the edges.
I remember visiting Nanny with my mom in the care home a week or so before she died. We went to this little cafe and my mom ordered a BLT. I thought that was disgusting because I hate tomatoes. Eventually, with my seven year old attention span, I tired of sitting at the table and went to watch the giant television which was playing "the proud family", which was an exceptional treat because we didn't have cable at home. Eventually my mom called me that it was time to go, and I was rather angry because I wanted to finish the episode. I had a fit, and that was the last time I saw Nanny.
But in my closet, I still have the huge fluffy sheep stuffed animal with plaid bows on it's ears she gave me the last Easter before she died.