Sorry to keep y’all waiting all week long (I know the suspense is killing you), here’s the sequelt to my weekend trip to Beaumont.
After spending time with the Italian side of the family, Caroline and I went to spend the night at my Nanny’s house. Nanny is my mama’s mama, so she represents a whole different sector of my gene pool.
Nanny is 88 years old, but y’all would never know it. She has more energy and enthusiasm than people half her age. All of her friends are at least 15-20 years younger than she is because as she will tell you “I don’t like to spend time with old people”. In fact, the week before we arrived she had hosted a Bunco party at her house, you know for all her young friends in their 70’s.
She has always known how to stay young. I remember being in high school and walking down the street to borrow her clothes and her jewelry. I’m betting that not too many grandmothers have a wardrobe that their granddaughters would like to wear. You don’t see too many 15 year olds wearing SAS shoes with a nice paisley polyester blouse. But Nanny has always had style.
She was the first person I knew that owned a video camera, a VCR and an answering machine. In fact, my mama said that Nanny called her just the other day and asked “What is an iPod and do I need to get one?” I am sorry, but that is current y’all.
When we walked through the door, it was all so warm and familiar. I can’t identify what her house smells like, but it’s a part of my life. Even when we got home on Sunday, I could smell it on my clothes and in my hair. It’s just the smell of home and comfort, a combination of Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco, fresh cinnamon cake out of the oven and perfume. If I could buy it in a bottle, I would.
Caroline was in complete awe of Nanny’s house. There are more things to look at than you could possibly see in just one visit. She still has our old toy closet filled with toys from our childhood and books that bring back so many memories. Caroline walked into that closet, found a huge box full of more jewelry than you can imagine and said “Oh Mama, this is interesting”. It’s like a little piece of heaven on earth for a little girl, and I know because it’s where I spent so much of my childhood.
At one point, I was on the other side of the house and I heard a familiar noise that made me laugh out loud. It was the sound of Samba music coming from the electric organ that Nanny has in her sitting room. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Caroline discovered it and once she did, she was hooked. I spent a lot of hours playing that same organ with my sister making up variety shows and musicals that would rival the Sweeney Sisters. We’d put Nanny’s nightgowns on our head for our hair and drape ourselves in anything we could find in her jewelry box.
If you don’t want a honest answer, then you better not ask Nanny a question. Sometimes she’ll even give her opinion before you’ve asked. When she came out of surgery last year, my mama was waiting for her and sat holding her hand. Nanny looked at her and said “I really wish you’d do something with your hair. It just looks terrible”. I have always thought she’s kind of like a mama cat, she likes to take all her babies and get them cleaned up just right. I remember one Thanksgiving when P and I drove 7 hours to get to the lakehouse and when I walked in the door she said “Oh it makes me so sad that you don’t wear makeup anymore”. She feels strongly about looking your best (even on 7 hour car rides), in fact I don’t have a picture of her from this weekend because she didn’t have her “face on”.
The biggest thing (literally) that she worries about is all of her girls’ weight. Gulley said that she knew she was officially part of the family when Nanny told her she’d put on a few pounds. But here’s the kicker, anytime you visit she will always have your favorite dessert fresh out of the oven. It’s like she wants you to look good, but she also wants to indulge you in your favorite food. In fact, one of the first things she said after I walked in the door was that she had made my favorite banana pudding. It was so good I could’ve eaten the whole bowl. And oh my goodness, her sweet tea is like no other y’all will ever taste. I’d be willing to bet that the sugar to tea ratio errs high on the side of sugar. It’s like heaven in a glass.
After Caroline finally passed out from the sheer exhaustion of looking through all that jewelry, Nanny and I stayed up talking. This has always been one of my favorite things about Nanny, she’s a night owl like me (or at least like me before I had a 3 year old that likes to wake up when it’s still “darken” outside). When I was little she always let me stay up late with her to watch The Tonight Show, in fact the night that Johnny Carson did his last show I was off at college, but I had to call Nanny on the phone because the sound of Johnny’s voice will always remind me of those renegade nights at her house where I was allowed to stay up until 11:30.
When we got up to leave the next morning, Caroline wasn’t ready to leave and neither was I. That’s the thing about Nanny, she knows how to make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world when you’re with her. She listens to everything you say and even when I was little, never made me feel like my thoughts didn’t matter. I think Caroline summed it up best as we were leaving, she said “Oh Mama, I want to take one of these road trips again sometime.”
Mama does too.
What a blessing to have a Nanny like yours!
Sounds to me like longevity runs strong in your bloodline.
I am sitting her with tears sreaming down my face. You did a great job of summing it all up. I am so thankful that you have had your Nanny, and I am glad that you and Caroline got to visit.
Blessed Beyond Measure
THIS is precious and hysterical at the same time – a rare treat. 88 and she wants an iPod – man do I love that. Makes me feel young at 51 to have one. I’m seriously sitting here with tears running down my face and LOL at the same time over this. Her coming out of surgery to tell someone they need to fix their hair, telling you she’s sad you dont wear makeup – man would I love spend an afternoon her. You wouldnt have to weigh a single word, just throw it out there, knowing she could handle catching it, whatever it was. At 88, if I were you, I’d be writing in visits with her on your calendar. Soak them up, as many as you can. She sounds priceless, as is your wonderful writing. xoxoox
We should all be penciling in road trips to Nanny’s! That’s how I wanna be when I’m 88. Especially the “concerned about your health, but feeding you your favorite dessert” part!