Today is my grandmother's birthday. I would love to share her age, but Nana pointed out in a conversation yesterday that it is poor manners to discuss such things.
Because my own mother is also called "Nana" by her grandkids, we re-named my Nana "Nu Nana" for use with the great-grandchildren. She said it's not too often that she gets to be "new."
Nu Nana came to America from Scotland when she was six years old. Her mother had given birth to her at an almost unprecedented 47 years of age (and would sadly pass away a few short months later). Her father, who had fought in the Boer War, died when Nu Nana was only six. She moved to Chicago to live with an older brother, eventually married a Chicago policeman, and raised six children in the southside Chicago community of Beverly.
As a kid, I thought Nu Nana was fantastically sophisticated. She could answer every single question on Jeopardy without hesitation. She smelled like fancy lotions and fruit. She completed crossword puzzles at lightening speed while drinking scalding hot tea that I staunchly refused:
I just can't understand how you are my granddaughter, Marianne...our people drink tea!
She always had a book on her nightstand and criticized young American kids for learning Dick & Jane instead of Jane Eyre (which she insists she read when she was only five).
Nu Nana continues to amaze me with her sharp intelligence and wicked sense of humor. She is prepared to discuss politics, literature, and world events with anyone who crosses her path. She maintains a Jacqueline Onassis kind of style and still encourages me to stand up straight every time I see her.
Thank you for everything, Nu Nana, and here's to a great day!
And for your birthday next year...
I'm thinking Vegas?