by Chelsey Blankenship January 05, 2017

When I was little I really hated daycare. I would beg my mom not to send me and when she did, I would kick and scream the whole way there (or so I hear). One of the many positives about being the baby of the family is you sometimes get what you want.

At the time, my mom was just a few years into running Germean's Flower Shop and my grandparents - Nanee and Popee - lived right next door to the business. My tears must have convinced my mom to talk my Popee into keeping me during the day saving me from the tortures of daycare. Boy was I lucky. I don't remember much of those days with Popee except him reading a lot to me and...his left leg. Yep, his left leg was mine and at the time no matter what grandchild sat on his lap, he would move them to his right leg always keeping his left side open for me. 

Popee passed away when I was just five years old and Nanee's heart broke. 

Living in the house she grew up in and raised all seven of her children was hard on Nanee after Popee's passing. All seven of her kids began to talk about her moving in with one of them. Before I knew it, my parent's yard had a new little house and a new resident - Nanee! Our lives changed forever.

Growing up with your grandmother next door is a really special thing. I feel like all of my favorite moments included Nanee in them.

  • Practicing my speech in the kitchen for book character day in the third grade - Nanee was there to critique.
  • Making up plays with my cousins and demanding an audience to watch our performance - Nanee was there.
  • Trying on my prom dress - Nanee was there.
  • Countless Valentine's Days when I would get checked out of school to go work in the flower shop - Nanee was there teaching me the perfect way to arrange one dozen red roses.
  • Convincing Nanee to sleep at MY parent's house while my friends and I had a slumber party at HER house - Nanee was NOT there, but she was right next door probably peeking through the window making sure we weren't getting too rowdy. 

You see that grandmother of mine knew the secret to life. She knew that everyone would go through highs and lows, but at the end of the day, all you really need is to love those around you and be loved in return. 

Nanee loved hard. She loved with no hesitation, no fear, no consequences. And she loved EVERYONE. 

Nanee started Germean's with her sister in 1959 (some say 1958 - it's debatable). Nanee's name was Hermean and her sister's - Geraldine. Put them together and that's where "Germean's" came from.

Growing up in the flower shop is truly one of the most impactful things about my childhood. I learned so much in that building - a lot of which was from this woman. Because of Nanee's influence and advice, Annie and I learned that sometimes sisters do make good business partners. 

On January 4, 2017, our Nanee passed away. I can't put into words how much my family will miss this beautiful soul, but take comfort in knowing that she will live on in our hearts always. 








Chelsey Blankenship
Chelsey Blankenship

Author


4 Responses

Terri Walker Clouatre
Terri Walker Clouatre

January 07, 2017

Beautiful tribute!!!!!

Caroline
Caroline

January 05, 2017

Loved reading this and filling in some holes in my Dunbar history! Thanks for sharing and for reminding us all, through lessons learned from Nanee, that all you need is love! :) Makes me smile to read about the love that has so clearly abounded in your life. Sounds like Nanee is back where she is supposed to be – with Popee. Lots of love to y’all.

Anita M. Saucier
Anita M. Saucier

January 05, 2017

This is such a touching, heartwarming tribute to your beautiful grandmother. We too loved her. Our love, thoughts, prayers, and sympathy are with you and your family.

Mom
Mom

January 05, 2017

Chel,
Nanee never missed anything you and Annie boo were involved in even if it meant closing down her business to be there. She was an inspiration to all who met her and her clever advice will definitely be a trait I hope to inherit. I will miss her so so much but I know she is already in heaven with pope who she missed so much!! That in itself makes me smile. Love you boo??. mom

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