What’s in a name?

Lovely Laura has set me a puzzle.

As Grannyhood races towards me she has asked what I would prefer to be called post birth. This is most thoughtful of her. I had rather presumed that my future nomenclature would be presented to me by my descendants. I had never dreamed that I should be given a choice in the matter.After all I have never had a say in my name before.

Well, I suppose that that is not strictly true. I did choose to take my husband’s surname when we married. But it was a rather pretty name….Lovelace…with historical connections…..some more salubrious than others.

This small conundrum has led me down the path of our family history. My mother, Laura’s grandma didn’t have a choice in the matter of her grandma title. My brother Bob had given her the nickname of Bat , shortened from The Old Bat, so as a matter of course she became Grandma Bat. She relished her nickname and would answer the telephone saying “Bat Cave here, Old Bat speaking”. Like me she used sweeteners in her tea and referred to these as her “Bat Droppings”. Sadly she died just before Laura’s second birthday, so Laura now, has no memories of her but I well remember that two of the first words she ever spoke were ……Grandma Bat.

Grandma Bat

Laura’s other grandma, to distinguish her from my mother, was called Grandma Joan with her husband who was Laura’s stepfather as Grandad Jackson. Thinking about it there does seem to be a theme here of the use of the title of Grandma.

A very poor picture of Grandma Joan

This was also true of my own grandmothers. My father’s mother was a wonderful, warm, tall rather statuesque lady……whom we called Big Grandma, for obvious reasons.

Grandad, Robert ( aka Bob), myself and Big Grandma in the front room at Grangeville, Knotttingley.

She had clearly had a difficult life, her husband , Albert Hargrave had died in 1916 in the First World War and so had never had the chance to see his son, my father, who was born in the October of that year. She had later remarried and had another son and had devoted much of her life to caring for her elderly mother and chronically ill aunt who lived with her. My father always insisted that he had been brought up in a markedly female household and that this accounted for his good nature.

My father and his mother, our Big Grandma.
My father ” tormenting” my big brother by hanging him on the washing line!

My mother’s mother, I remember, as being a tiny, rather particular, prim and proper old lady. Interestingly enough, her maiden name had been Pettit…..so perhaps the family name had had its origins in their physique. Due to her small stature……she was called by us, Little Grandma.

Me, my mother (aka Grandma Bat), Little Grandma, Susan and Auntie Hilda in the garden at Poplar Avenue, Townville.

To be fair, Little Grandma was always very kind and gentle with me but my elder brother and sister report her as being a bit of a tartar. She was an ex,turn of the 20th century, schoolteacher and liked things to be done “properly”. Elbows off the table at mealtimes, children should be seen and not heard etc. Until the ripe old age of 7 or 8 I had to have an afternoon nap….and stay still and quiet as I did so if I happened to be at her house.She was particularly keen that she should be referred to by us in a respectful manner and called either Grandmother or Grandma.

For years I couldn’t understand why she insisted that I was mispronouncing her title and why she would repeatedly reprimand me and insist that I repeat her name correctly. I now realise that as I was speaking with a West Yorkshire accent ……I was actually saying Granma and not GranDma. I just couldn’t hear the difference.

My big brother had a strong will and clashed with Little Grandma. He infuriated her by insisting upon calling her….to her face…Little Grimmie. Many battles were fought between them about that nickname with neither willing to lose face or accept defeat.

Following my remarriage when she was only 4 Laura acquired another set of grandparents, Gary’s mum and dad. Initially she called them Mummy and Daddy Lovelace but once Jamie her younger brother was born those names were dropped in favour of Nannie and Granddad. They were wonderful grandparents for both her and Jamie and are the ones she has the most recent memories of.

Laura and Nannie Lovelace

So what should it be Granny, Grandma or Nanny? My good friend Maggie rather fancied being called Baboushka by her grandchildren but her daughters vetoed that choice and she has remained simply Grandma.

Laura’s little boy will have Iranian heritage on his father’s side. So I checked out what grandma is in Farsi. Apparently it is madar bozorg. Laura suggested that as a mixture of the two and a reference to my own family’s lunatic tendencies that I could be Grandma Berserk.

I think my grandma name will ultimately be in the lap of the gods and will evolve out of whatever my daughter and her partner refer to me as, in my grandsons presence . Hopefully, it wont be too rude!!!

So what do you think? What is your granny name? Any thoughts about what mine should be?

7 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Good Greif… I think Susan has morphed into Little Grandma, what fabulous images.
    I can see Gary in his mum too what a happy picture of her.
    Now as for the name… Grannie Fi Fi & Grampy Gazza ? but I rather like Baba-ohna & Baba-Gazza 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And, on my Dad’s side, I had a Gran (who I was very close to and who lived the longest, dying whilst I was at university) and Grandad (who suffered badly with mustard gas in WW1) and, on my Mum’s side, I had a Nana and Grandad (who worked on the Queen Mary – he used to bring me back hard jelly sugary sweets from NYC!).

    Liked by 1 person

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