My boyfriend laughs at me because I use antiquated, grandmother-like words when describing people or situations, for example I’ll say whipper-snapper, fusspot, spitfire, and today’s Blog-off word, shenanigans. I credit my 87-year-old Nanny, as well as my great great grandmother for this influence.
My great, great grandmother was born in 1896 and lived till I was 10-years-old, she was my mother’s great grandmother, so my great great. Crazy no? When I was born she told my mother that she hoped to live to my 10th birthday. Being in her 80s already, it was a pretty ambitious plan. However, on my 10th birthday there was a lunar eclipse and that night she died. She was 97-years-old, talk about being strong minded. I used to visit her at her nursing home every Sunday with my mom. She was often humming and singing dirty limericks and sayings, one went: “Ladies and gentlemen take my advice, pull down your britches and slide on the ice.” Her name was Julia and she used to play the piano by ear for the silent pictures and marched in the woman’s right to vote march in Washington in 1919. She had left a note for her husband saying “gone shopping” and came back three days later after traveling from NY to DC. She says it was a drunken, crazy time, lol, talk about ruining that suffrage image in my mind. During all the amazing things she saw in her lifetime, from civil rights to a man landing on the moon, she always thought seeing the Berlin Wall being torn down was one of the most amazing, since her family was originally from Germany. I wear her engagement diamond around my neck; my mom turned it into a necklace for me when I graduated high-school.
Nanny, who I’m very close to and who helped raise me, also influenced my old fashioned vocabulary. The best way to describe her is, a smarter Rose Nyland (Betty White) in Golden Girls. For instance, my Nanny never curses instead she says “oh dear” or “woe is me.” Not that I don’t curse, but I do find myself saying her expressions like, “you get more bees with honey than you do vinegar” and using her phrases and words as well. I’m seeing her this weekend, can’t wait. Here's another lasting Nanny phrase: when someone farts she'll say, "better out than in."