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Op-eds

What grandfather name fits…

  • Howard Feldman 2018
I honestly had no idea how challenging it would be to choose a name for our new granddaughter to call us. We are certainly not the first people in the world to have a grandchild and it seemed to me that others slipped into the names with enviable ease. Why this would turn out to be so darn difficult, I genuinely have no idea.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | Jul 26, 2018

Perhaps it’s because we were given the rule that my wife and I had to match. If I was Ying, then she had to be Yang. If I was Stan then she had to be Pete, me Salt to her Pepper, and so on. There would be no mixing of styles and languages, and although we could choose anything we fancied, this was one rule that we needed to abide by.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that we are not the Bobba and Zaida type in that we are still in our forties (at least I will be for a few weeks). My own Zaida was the kindest, most gentle man in the whole world. But he was also the oldest. I adored him, but I never imagined being him. Saba and Safta are nice, but it just feels like I am trying too hard. I am a staunch Zionist. I am just not a Hebrew.

I wanted to go with “Pops”, but my wife wasn’t happy to be Lolly. And I get that. I imagine that Lollies are completely daft and will definitely always forget to fetch the kid from school on Tuesday when it’s her turn to collect her, give her lunch and take her to “modern”. Lolly is genuinely a sweet person but as mad as a hatter, and doesn’t inspire the confidence that a working mom requires from her mother-in-law. Just saying.

I didn’t mind Mkulu and Gogo, but what about future grandchildren who might live in Israel or Singapore or Christchurch? I also am a bit fearful about cultural appropriation. I would hate for Twitter to decide that we have not only stolen the land, the minerals and all the best holiday homes, but now also the language. It’s probably best to leave that one well alone.

Opa became a viable option, at least for me. My mother’s father was very Germanic – and a little difficult and sometimes unpleasant one. Which turned out to be the problem as I apparently have enough “Opa-like” tendencies which no one wants to encourage. Least of all my wife, who has dreaded me becoming my Opa for the past 27 years of our marriage. So, that option was removed off the very neat and tidy table, and we landed back to square one.

The “Insta” teenage crowd tried to convince us to go the celeb route. Apparently, “Glammy” is “on fleek” right now. But that made my wife think of tight leather trousers, botox, fillers and magnificently puckered lips. Impressive, but our granddaughter will be unlikely to attend Saheti.

I opened it up to my Morning Show listeners, who assisted us in arriving at the answer. I gave them the rules. I explained the issues and asked for help. It is true to say that they know me and understand me, and they would never lead me astray. I believe it was “Fay” who started the process that would end in the decision. “What about Grumpy and Happy?” she asked. Sadly, I didn’t need to question who she thought was which.

I told the family what Fay had suggested, but my wife said that she would not be known forever as a dwarf. She seemed to have no issue about the fact that my listeners didn’t consider me all sparkle and sunshine. I have to say it hurt a little.

But she thought about it and reverted with the edict. From henceforth, and from now on (assuming it doesn’t mean the same thing), he and she, grandfather and grandmother to this new little person, and please G-d to future grandchildren, even those in Christchurch, will be known as Grumpy and Granny. It’s simple, it’s descriptive and most of all, it matches.

“But what happens if I am not always Grumpy?” I asked tentatively. “Well,” she said after thinking about it, “if you become a little more cheerful… then we can always call you Opa!”

1 Comment

  1. 1 Yusuf bhyat 27 Jul
    Oh man . I have not much to say other than this article has just made me smile. Awesome sweet

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