Part of the Bay Area News Group

DON’T CALL Me Granny

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 at 11:08 am in Grandparenting.

Adair Lara (Contra Costa Times)
The “grandboomer” generation loves being grandparents but some of them are chafing at the name that traditionally goes with the role. “Grandma,” says Bay Area author Adair Lara, conjures up images of “dentures in a glass.” In this morning’s Times and Trib, we talked with Lara and other folks about being 21st century grandparents. Very fun discussion — and now we’re eager to hear your take on Grandma 2.0. And here, to start you off, are comments from a couple of readers:

Wow! Your article sure hit the nail on the head. My wife and I did not want to be grandma and grandpa and conspired to come up with alternate names. Then the little guy was born and my wife, Fran , decided she could care less what he called her. Gulp, I started to sweat. Well, he couldn’t pronounce grandma and kept getting stuck, but eventually it morphed into Gagee (long a and e, sort of like Foggy.)

Luckily, he called me Papa from the beginning. Now with 4 grandkids while still under 60, we feel blessed. Event though they like to tease and call me Poppi, they never mess with Gagee. On a final note, when playing with their friends at our daughter’s house, one of their friends asked “What’s a Gagee?”
— Bob and Fran Cummings


I really enjoyed your piece on Adair Lara and her fears of aging. Actually, I read it out loud to my husband who got a chuckle out of it… Live life to the fullest and forget everything else– be the best you can be and remember, 100 years ago, our life span averaged around 45 years and few people reached the age where they even became grandparents…Those who now say that “60 is the new 40,” etc. C’mon! Is that Shereshewsky guy for real? Sixty is 60! It is not the new middle age because no one has lived to 120! And, judging what the oldest person alive looked like at 114, I doubt anyone would want to…

What is interesting is that in the Slavic countries, a woman who is a grandmother (even if she is in her 40’s or 50’s) simply RELISHES being called “grandmother” and is very puzzled by why American women fear being called by what they have become thanks to their offspring giving birth to a new generation.
— Tina Milburn

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2 Responses to “DON’T CALL Me Granny”

  1. Caroline Wood Says:

    When my granddaughter was born my son asked me what I wanted to be called because the assumption was that I would go down the family line following my maternal grandmother and mother. They were called Gammer and there was no way I was going in that direction. I always thought it sounded cold, unfeeling and I wanted a warm, fuzzy, welcoming and safe-feeling name. I chose Nanny. At one point my three grandchildren were discussing changing the name and I said fine, what would you rather call me. That was several years ago and my grandma name has not changed.

    I have never understood the folks who do not want to be known as “grandparents.” I love the job.

  2. Nancy Scott Says:

    I really took it offensive! I am a 52 year old grandma, of a beautiful 9 year girl, which that made me a grandma at the young age of 42. Was I happy knowing I was going to be a grandma at 42? NO! Not because I was afraid of all of a sudden becoming a “Gray-haired, wrinkled, old woman,” who can’t listen to Linkin Park anymore, now that I was going to be called Grandma. But, it was my fear that my 19 year old son was going to be a daddy at the age of 20, due to me not feeling he or his girlfriend were mature enough. I love hearing the word, Grandma coming from my granddaughter’s mouth every time she sees me. Do I look 52? No. Do I act 52? No. In fact, I know I don’t act like a grandma, nor do I look old enough to be a grandma of a 9 year old, almost 10 year little girl, especially when people are shocked to find out I am her grandma, & not her mommy… I am sick and tired of “Baby-Boomer’s” fighting the aging process. Let’s face it, we are all going to get old, unless GOD makes us leave this wonderful earth at an early age. Do you know how many people I know who would love to have the opportunity to be called Grandma or Grandpa? It is a honor to become a grandparent, especially when you are young enough to be able to enjoy it. So, I say to those who don’t want to be called the traditional name, “Shame on you and get over yourself!”

    Nancy Scott

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