She was french. Very strong accent. I remember when we were little Susan and I would correct her pronunciation of some words, like Scope mouthwash. We had a game called "Probe" and she called that Scope, and called the mouthwash "Probe". That cracked me up.
One Christmas, Nanny was staying with us from Long Island, where she used to live before she moved to RI to be near us. I was 5, I think. Susan and I had made cookies for Santa, and lovingly placed them by the fireplace as our Christmas offering. On Christmas morning Susan and I were overjoyed - Santa had eaten our cookies! Only crumbs were left! We were jumping up and down celebrating, when Nanny surprisingly exclaimed, "They were for Santa?!?!"
Oh my, did we cry.
Susan tells this story best, but I'll try to do it justice. Nanny took our family to NYC to see the Nutcracker and stay at the Plaza. We were walking through the lobby of the hotel when the elastic popped on Nanny's slip and Susan noticed it starting to fall below the hem of her skirt. "Nanny, your slip!" Susan said. "Pay no attention," Nanny said, and kept walking. It fell lower. "Nanny!!!" "Ignore it!" Walking, walking, walking. Finally it was down around her ankles. Nanny stepped out of it, looking straight ahead, and kept walking.
Cool lady, right?
She used to take Susan and I to the movies all the time. But not Disney movies, there was nothing to learn from those. She took us to see Fame (there was a boob shot in there - otherwise I loved this one), All That Jazz, Watership Down, The Great Santini....I would leave these movies shuddering and have nightmares for weeks. "Maybe that wasn't the best idea....." Nanny would say as we left. Each time.
When I brought my boys to visit her, she would set our a whole bag of Milano cookies. "One cookie each, boys" I would say. Nanny would quickly dismiss me with, "They are my Great Grandchildren - if they want to eat the whole bag of cookies, they can." And so it was.
There are so many stories of this wonderful lady....but I'll finish with her last one.
When Nanny got much older, she had to leave her beloved condo for a nursing home. All she wanted to eat was chocolate and wine. When she turned 97 I called her on the phone.
"Happy Birthday, Nanny!"
"No, Nanny, you're 97."
Then the following year.....
"Happy Birthday, Nanny!"
"No, Nanny, you're 98!"
"Oh, really? Ok."
Finally, 1 year later.....
"Happy Birthday Nanny! We love you!!!"
"Yea!!! You are! You made it!!! Congratulations Nanny!!!!"
She died the next day. That tough old bird...going out on her own terms.
I miss her every day.
Nanny holding TJ, her first Great-Grandchild
Nanny, Susan holding Peter, and me holding TJ