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What's in a Name?

When I was working on my YA novel, I had to come up with three older women's nicknames - two were grandmothers. I've always loved the story behind my maternal grandmother's name, so I had collected a few over the years. I knew just which ones to use. 

Here are some of my favorites: My Greek neighbors' grandchildren called them Yaya and Papoo. (yaw-yaw and paw-poo) My husband's French-Canadian grandparents were known as Meme and Pepe (mem-ay and pep-pay) I couldn't figure out how to get the accents in there.

My own children called my dad Popta and my mom is known as Miya. (My daughter invented those...nothing we taught her.) I would say, "Here comes Grandma! Say Grandma!" and my little one would look up at me with her big blue Tweety Bird eyes and say, "Miii-ya" -- perfectly convinced she'd repeated what I said. After a number of attempts, we gave in....and Miya it was!

The nickname of my mom's mother was serendipitous...and became so well known that everyone in her town called her that by the time she died. Some of the younger people in her church didn't even know her real name! My grandmother had a "change of life" baby when her two eldest daughters were married and pregnant. My mom was 16 and still at home. When the two older sisters would stop by for a visit to see their little brother and bring his same-age niece and nephew, he would get jealous when they called her "Mom". He would stomp his little foot and holler, "That's not You Mom!! That's ME Mom!" From then on, she was known as Memom

My Memom was a wonderful woman who truly made this world a better place to be. I'll never forget the hundreds and hundreds of people who lined up at the funeral home to pay their respects and share with us the kindnesses she had shown them.

My post was inspired by a discussion on another thread I started with kellyfineman who told me about her Mommie Dot. (Isn't that the cutest name?) Now it's your turn...

HERE'S THE TOPICGRANDPARENT'S NICKNAMES...What were their nicknames (and possibly...why did you call them that?)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
My grandparents went by pretty standard names. My great-grandmother, though, we called Omi (german, I think, for grandmother)--and it was years before I realized that wasn't her actual NAME. Then when HER daughter became our kids' great-grandmother, she decided she wanted to be Omi, too. Just confusing, for me--I think I was still stuck on Omi being a different person. :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: Grandparent Names
That is so cute, thinking it was her real name! (One of the aides at my school is German and her grandchildren call her Oma.)
Like you, I prefer if people choose a unique name - it makes communication so much more convoluted if you have to distinguish. Then what do you say? "No, no...I didn't mean the young one, I meant you - the OLD one!" haha
Feb. 19th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
I just called my grandmother Grandma, but when she was older and had great-grandchildren who already had Grandmas, she became known as "Honey," because she would always ask the babies if they'd give her "a little honey" (hugs and kisses).
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
I love Honey! If only I were sweeter, maybe someone will call me that one day. How sweet (haha)...seriously, that is a great nickname with an adorable story behind it. Out of curiosity, where was she from?
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Burnet County, Texas!
Feb. 20th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh, even better with a Texas drawl - perfect!
: )
Feb. 19th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Grandparent Names
I'm a traditional Grannie, and most of my family members use variations on the same--Grandmother, Grandma, MawMaw, Gran, Grams, etc. On my website I have a nice listing of grandmother names and grandfather names in case anyone is looking for just the right name! There's also an article about conflicts over grandparent names.
I've already picked out my great-grandmother name. It's going to be GiGi or GeGe--haven't decided on the spelling yet!
Feb. 20th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: Grandparent Names
Thanks for sharing the links...I really enjoyed reading the different choices for grandparent names. The conflict article is very well written and contains sage advice soon-to-be grandparents should heed. You have a nice writing style.

Unsolicited advice on great-grandmother name: My uncle's nickname is G.G. When my Chinese sister-in-law heard that, she got hysterical. It seems it is slang in Chinese for a certain part of a male's anatomy. So, depending on where you live, that might create some issues in school for your future grandkids. (Just picturing him on the playground...fill in ideas here...) It is actually spelled with a J, though.

Did the women in your family choose their own names or were they chosen by the parents of the baby? Just curious...
Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Grandparent Names
What a hilarious story! I may have to rethink my great-grandmother name! The women in my family choose their own names. I planned to be a Nana. The traditional name in my family was Grannie, but that sounded too old. But when I held my first grandchild, "Say Hello to your Grannie" just popped out of my mouth. I've been Grannie ever since, and I don't regret it!
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
Hope I didn't burst your bubble!
I'll bet your great-grandma name will pop right out and be perfection...just like Grannie.

I'm looking forward to grandmotherhood, but it's sure to be a few years off.
Enjoy your grandbabies!
Feb. 19th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
I didn't know any of my grandparents well enough to have nicknames, but my son Jack called my mother-in-law Mugga and that became her name in the whole family. She did not want to be grandma. My husband's grandmother was called Nannie for the same reason.
I like being Grandma. I'm "the bad Grandma" because I swear and am not born-again. Luckily Little Jack, who is 11, loves me best! It's our little joke.
Feb. 20th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Bad Grandma! That's hilarious! That's what I'll probably be, too. haha

I think Jack must be a very smart kid.
: )
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
Amazing coincidence!
My grandparents nicknames are exactly the same as yours! What are the odds?...... oh yeah, I am your brother .... Perhaps we can expand this theme for my sake? Our Aunt "Penny"! Penny, is a nickname which comes from the story that our father Jay (J. Howard), saved his pennies up and paid for "Penny's" delivery. Even her own husband calls her "Penny" still. Which reminds me, what is her real name? Also since she is named after a penny shouldn't the possessive of her name be "Pennies"? A thought for you teachers out there....
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Amazing coincidence!
Ha! I actually thought of Penny while I was writing it. Her real name is Judith Ann. No one ever called her Judy - just Judith or Penny. I'll bet as a business owner she went by Judith. I'll have to ask her what her friends call her. (BTW, she was getting ready to leave on a vacation and fell and broke her ankle earlier this week. Aunt Linda had hip replacement surgery the same day!)

The possessive would be Penny's. Plural is Pennies. Let's use it in a sentence! :)

Penny's conference was quite a fluke. There were thirteen Pennies there. (HAHAHAHA)

Now if I were REALLY writing that I would reword it to avoid such an oddity....there were thirteen women named Penny who attended....
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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