from the desk of the publisher: What’s in a name?

By Robin Goldsworthy

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The ides of March are behind us and our family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild. Ashlynn Loree Goldsworthy is due at any time and with four sons, you can only imagine how excited we are to welcome a girl.

Ashlynn, a beautiful name, means dream, however perhaps even more significant is her middle name: Loree. Loree is very special. It is the middle name of my mother-in-law and sons’ grandmother Saralyn. When my son and daughter-in-law announced what they decided to name their daughter, the importance of her middle name was not lost on any of us. Saralyn has been a major part of our lives and the bond that she has created with her four grandsons is something to be envied. She has traveled with them, dined with them and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she slipped them some cash every now and then. She watched over them when they were tiny, took them to the zoo, Disneyland and SeaWorld among many other places and was and is always just a phone call away. The addition of Loree to Ashlynn’s identity reflects decades of loving care that I know she will proudly bear.

But now to me and my title.

As Ashlynn’s due date draws nearer, I’ve been asked what I want to be called. Grandma? Grandmother? Nana? Gigi? Granny? (I seriously don’t think so.) Growing up I called both sets of grandparents Nana and Ducky – I don’t know where Ducky came from – perhaps the English influence.

Unfortunately I didn’t know either set of grandparents very well. My maternal grandfather died before I was born. My grandmother lived in Boston and seemed to me to be more stern than fun. She “tsked-tsked” my mother for allowing us to have a cheeseburger rather than an egg when we went out for a late breakfast, for example.

My paternal grandparents lived in Canada and we rarely saw them. I know that my mother adored her father-in-law, but I barely remember him. He, my grandmother and my father all died in the ‘70s; my mother in 1996, so there is no one to talk to regarding what kind of people they were.

Because I didn’t have a strong bond with any of my grandparents, there’s no name that I naturally gravitate toward that reflects the relationship I want to have with my grandchild. So I visited a website – – to get some insight as to the possibilities available.

Whereas I thought of just a few possibilities, there are literally hundreds of grandparent names classified as traditional, trendy, playful, personality and interest-bred and international. There are names like Big Mama, MeeMee, Ona, Coco, LaLa, Mammi, Salsa, Yama, Doodie, Pittypat, Tootsie, Twinkle, Bubbles and Queenie. A variety of names that certainly conjure up a variety of images.

I know that in our foothill community there are lots of grandparents. I would love to hear from you about the special name your grandchild uses when talking to you.

In the meantime, I’m going to wear my special “granny hat” and “granny glasses” to get in the granny groove.

Special thanks to friend Jeff who gave me the granny hat with instructions to always wear it so Ashlynn will always know when her grandma is in the house.