I recently was talking with a lady who found out I go by the name “Nonny” with my grandchildren and that I share some of my reflections on life on “Nonny’s Blog.”
“That’s so interesting that you use the name “Nonny,” she said. How did you come to be called “Nonny”?
I told her I had never heard the name Nonny used as a grandmother name until many years earlier when a young man who was a friend of one of my daughters happened to mention something about his Nonny. I tucked that name in my brain and when my grandchildren were born, I coaxed the little ones to say, “Nah . . . nah” and then “Nee . . . nee” until they could put the two sounds together. “NAHnee! Yes! They pronounced “NAHnee” beautifully. I later spelled it “N…O…N…N…Y” to match traditional spellings of Daddy and Mommy. And the spectacular thing for me was that Nonny rhymes with my name, Connie!
This lady went on to say, “Our two sons called my mother ‘Nonny’ from the
time they could talk. The other grandchildren in the family all called her ‘Grandmommy.’ We don’t know what prompted our boys to say ‘Nonny’ . . . other than it sort of sounds like ‘Mommy.’”
She continued by saying that when their Nonny had died a couple of years prior, a family member requested that the children and grandchildren write some sort of remembrance that he would share at the funeral. Her younger son’s written memories took the form of a poem.
She sent me a copy of her son’s loving memories of his Nonny from the time he was a child up through when he was a young man no longer living in the city of his parents and grandmother. His poem is enlivened with a favorite phrase Nonny would say when he would run in from outdoor summer playtime, “You’re as hot as a bear.” * And it is sprinkled with preferred foods she would serve. Then, this grandson fills his verse with the prime explanation for the many week-end drives as an adult that he made from Nashville to Louisville.
He expresses himself in the latter part of his poem by saying,
The main reason I came home from Nashville, driving mile after mile
Was to walk into your room and see you smile.
That smile, oh it could light up the room.
That smile, it could dance in a ballroom.
That smile, it was sweeter than perfume.*
And finally, his closing words manifest the assurance of his Nonny’s freedom from pain and her passing into everlasting life. He proclaims how he and the others gathered in the church for what is usually considered a time of mourning, will find it within themselves to be celebrants as they leave the service to accompany her physical remains to the grave site: “So later on we’re all going to walk down this aisle / Not sad or crying, but rather filled with your smile.” *
I’m glad to share this story with you of ANOTHER NONNY.
My reflection on a Grandson’s Eulogy
* from the Poem “Smile” by Caleb Love
Connie Carlisle Polley, 2019