When I was 3 years old we moved from California, where I was born, to Florida. While the change was major culture shock for most of my family, I was so young that it didn’t affect me. It really wasn’t until I was an adult myself that I realized how different the coasts really are. Especially when it comes to speech and slang.
Even though I grew up a Floridian I was raised in a house full of people that didn’t speak ‘southern.’ We didn’t say ‘y’all’ or ‘bless his heart.’ We didn’t eat grits or collards. Those weren’t things that they grew up doing or saying, so I wasn’t raised that way either.
I married into a family that has been southern born and bred. They own land with cows and sheep and horses. They use all the great southern slang and some even have the deep south accents.
I’ve spent so much of my life here that none of those things surprised or shocked me. I would’ve been far more surprised if that hadn’t been the case. One thing that I should’ve anticipated but didn’t, was the names that the grandparents want called.
For example, my daughter only has one grandma, which is my mom. However, she also has a memaw and a nana. My father is her grandpa, but my husband’s dad is her pop-pop.
The southern names for grandparents don’t end there either. There’s gigis, pepaws, pawpaws, memes, mawmaws and I’m sure the list goes on.
Even though I grew up with friends having all these weird (to me) names for their grandparents, it never dawned on me that my kids probably would too. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, I still have to double check that I’m calling the right grandma the right thing. Don’t want to mess with a southern grandma!