Monday, January 26, 2009

You Can Call Me Ray. You Can Call Me Jay. Just Don't Call Me Granddad

As Baby Boomers go about reinventing "old age," one of the time-honored traditions they're ditching as grandparents is accepting nicknames that connote advancing years. According to the Wall Street Journal, many Boomers can't abide the idea of being called "grandpa," "grandma," "gramps," "granny," and the like.

Susan Wilkofsky, a 56-year-old documentary filmmaker who is youthful looking for her years, became a grandmother last Christmas. She rejected the Yiddish appellation "bubbe" because it suggested a frumpy old woman from the old country who has an accent and wears a babushka. She settled instead on "Glamma," as in, glamorous grandmother.

When comedy writer Alan Zweibel hears the term "grandpa," he thinks of a hunched-over old man who "pees involuntarily." He opted for "Lefty" or "Sheriff."

That got us to thinking what we want to be called when first grandchild arrives. (One of us has a 25-year-old daughter, so that occasion may not be that far away.) There's a good chance that we'll end up letting the little tykes call us whatever they want -- or whatever they can pronounce. The two-year-old daughter of one of our colleagues mangled the pronunciation of her grandmother's name, Sallie, to Lahi -- and the cognomen has stuck for more than 20 years. We intend to be more proactive in regards to the selection of our own name. We're partial to Bocephus. Or, should we decide to grow whiskers, maybe Woolly Bully.

Meanwhile, Boomers are reinventing time-honored grandparental roles in more profound ways. It's worth taking another look at Matt Thornhill's column, tagged "The Nanas and the Papas," written a year ago.

(Photo credit for image of Granny Clampett:


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Matt Thornhill's column "The Nanas And Papas".
Although I am not a grandparent yet, I wonder how I will fell about this when the time comes.
Something to think about.

Cathy Warren

Anonymous said...

I never looked at it from the older prospective. This article made me think what my grandparents think of their nicknames.

Bob Adams said...

Thanks guys for great writing on a topic near and dear to my heart. I'm a new Boomer grandfather and really resonated with your comments. Keep up the good work!

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