Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I miss you.
Until we meet again!
- author unknown
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memories of Nanny Tom

Memories from Margaret Hall Calhoun, of her grandmother:
Nanny Tom used to come to our house for 3-4 weeks (sometimes longer) in the summer. She loved the nursery and would stick cuttings in the greenhouse. Daddy would get the clippings for her and she would make the cuttings and fill the mist beds. I used to think it wasn't much of a vacation for her having to work (in the summer time in the greenhouse, of all places) while she visited us, but she seemed to like it really well. Maybe she just didn't like staying around the house.
She always wore dresses and had a handerchief in her pocket.
The thing I remember most about Nanny Tom were her sugar cookies. My sisters mentioned them also so I imagine that was one of our fondest memories of her. She would make a batch the very day she arrived for the summer. It took so long for them to chill in the refrigerator... I just didn't think I could wait. The last thing she did before returning to Orlando was make a last batch of cookies. Her macaroni and cheese was the best I have ever tasted, and I have never been able to reproduce it even though I watched her make it many times.
Nanny Tom moved to Florida from Mississippi around the same time Nanny Newton (Mama's mother) died. She slipped into the "grandmother" role as naturally as could be.
I absolutely loved to go to Orlando to visit with Nanny Tom and Aunt Mim and Uncle "Possum"before he died. They went to Sanibel and collected shells. They had tons of really beautiful ones.That is where the three of us got our love for shelling.
Memories from Andrea Hall Jerger, of her grandmother:
I remember, that when Nanny Tom came to stay with us, she would stay up late with me..(No one else would) to watch scary TV shows. I think the actual show's name was "Thriller"..this was long before Michael Jackson. I don't know if she liked them, too...or if she knew that I needed a watching partner!! I was around 8, 9 10...somewhere in there. During those visits, she would also make her fabulous sugar cookies...She would alway leave a "chunk" of cookie dough for each one of us, Margaret, Miriam, and me. I do not eat a sugar cookie, today that I don't remember how good HER cookies were, and how especially good the dough was!! I have never tasted a sugar cookie, since that was as good as hers...Have no idea where that recipe is, either.

When I was around 5...I had sneaked out in the orange grove behind our house, and was smoking one of Mama's or Daddy's cigarettes. She caught me...Didn't punish me, but said "Your Daddy will be so disappointed in you." That was all that was necessary...never "lit up" again!!


Memories from Miriam Hall Gottfried of her grandmother:
I thought I was going to be 5'10" because of Nanny Tom...I just knew I would inherit her height...wrong!!!

She made the best salmon croquettes in the whole wide world...Daddy and I always planned visits around lunch time...and oh, her sugar cookies...they were the best, too! She'd let us kids sneak the dough while it was "chilling."

When her health was failing and she was in Orlando Regional (old name), Mama and I would take turns going to help...they had her on a lot pain killers, so the visits were always quite "entertaining." One day Mama was trying to coax her into eating her carrots and Nanny Tom ever so politely told Mama, "Frances, if they look so damn good, YOU eat them." (Keep in mind Nanny Tom never my knowledge) Then there was the time when I walked in and she called me over in a frantic voice that she didn't want me to visit that day because "that woman (her roommate) had a MAN with her." Well, it turned out to be a priest and he was making his last visit. Oh, and let's not forget when Rev. Brackman (our preacher at the time) stopped by and Nanny Tom kept staring and staring until she finally told him to "get that feather off your nose, young man!" (Of course there was no feather) Many times during my visits, I would be one of her sons and we would talk of the old days when "I" (Uncle Charlie or Uncle Alan) was a youngster. I think my favorite though was when Mama walked in and Nanny Tom was putting together this invisible ball of stuff...when Mama asked her what she was doing, she replied, "I'm gathering all these things y'all keep telling me I don't see, and then I'm going to ram them down your throat!"

Our Nanny Tom worked in the nursery...mainly with the orchids...until she could no longer walk. She always had a smile and kind word of encouragement for us. She loved us...and we knew it.

Her favorite place to eat was Morrison's Cafeteria...mine, too when we were with her!

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