This is a tribute page to my Nanny, Thelma Louise Thomas. We never called her Grandma or the shortened version which my Mother goes by of Nana.
When I was a child and asked what does Nanny mean, my mother simply replied, “someone who takes care of you.”
From that point forward I never questioned the Nanny name again. I did wonder why my Mom named me Kelsie Louise and not a more trendy middle name. I was too young to appreciate the honor of being named after my Nanny.
My cousins must have realized how lucky I was to have a lasting piece of Nanny because they would tease me and call me Weezy. Lil Wayne made that term popular in years to come but during the mid 80s I was so not feeling it.
Later in life, Louise was made popular by the hit show, The Jeffersons. When I was referred to by my middle name I took it as taunting and still wasn’t feeling it.
Ironically, it wasn’t until my Nanny’s passing that I began to embrace Louise. I was responsible for preparing her obituary which was three full, double sided pages, printed on pale pink card stock. During the listing of surviving family I was privileged to list my full name, Kelsie Louise Smoot.
She was a long time member of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Pontiac, MI. Sundays were always eventful with embellished suits, pretty hats and the shoes and purses to match. My Nanny knew fashion and how to accessorize. She had personal shoppers in what we know as Macys but was Hudsons back in the day.
I reaped the benefits of her being a department store regular. When the sales ladies found out I was her grand daughter, they would load me up with perfume samples.
Nanny held her own as the head of her household. I never met my Grandfather because he died from injuries sustained in a fire. My Nanny kept a clean house and I loved her cooking. Her favorite restaurant was Chi Chi’s, a Mexican chain which has gone out of buisiness.
Nanny’s garden was in full bloom every spring with tulips along her back fence that greeted me at eye height as a child. One of my fondest memories was planting annuals in her front yard for Mother’s Day. I worked all day making sure her home was the prettiest on the block.
Nanny passed at her home from natural causes at the age of 93. Mom and I had stopped by to visit and I remember feeling comforted in her presence. We left and later that night my Mom received the call that Nanny had taken her last breath.
So there you have it. Kelsie Lou is more than a name.
The purpose of this tribute is to acknowledge a vital person in my life. My wish is for all readers of this blog to stop and give thanks to that key person in your life. Give a person their flowers while they are still living. If that person has passed on, let your lifestyle and values reflect the positive qualities you were taught.