Thursday, January 5, 2006


City Personals
Mary Clay Brooks

Glenn Fant recalls fond memories of ‘Nonnie’

On Christmas Eve, my grandmother, Claiborne Thompson (fondly called Nonnie), was called home. She did not suffer and died the way she always had said she wanted to - in her sleep. She woke up earlier that day to tell her son, Rowan, that she had just come up from eating lunch and someone had rearranged her furniture. They had done so to set up the beautiful manger scene - didn’t he see it? I am sure it was the grandest manger scene ever!

Nancy Fant Smith told me two weeks ago that before Nonnie’s 80th birthday party, that she had asked her father, Glenn Fant, to write down some memories of her. “Daddy had, by her birthday, died, but not before he had written his memories. Claiborne moved to Holly Springs when she was 11. She was the only girl in town with a car, given to her by her father as a bribe to get her to move here. So there she was, 11 with a car and smoking cigarettes.” What a glorious memory Gramps had of my Nonnie!

Those seem to be all I have of her - glorious, colorful memories. When we were young, we would spend our summers in Holly Springs. Always on our first night here, we would be visited by a “Fairy.” We would leave out a pie pan over the vent in the kitchen behind the door. When we awoke the next morning, we would have treats galore - usually Elmer’s Gold Brick Eggs and various other goodies. My “Holly Springs friends” would beg to spend the night that first night so they, too, could partake in the “Fairy’s” goodies! Nonnie rarely turned down my friends, as she always wanted us to have a good time and how can one have a good time if one is not surrounded by friends?

Tragedy seemed to find Nonnie often, in her younger years. She lost a son when he was just over two years old, then a husband on New Year’s Day when my Momma was in the first grade and then her mother (who I was blessed to know for a few short years). Amid this, she persevered, holding her head high and moving forward, raising two children. Nothing ever seemed to get her down. Even on her worst day, she would always ask what she could do for you - as she needed nothing!

God was gracious to us, as He allowed my children, Caitlyn and Grady, to really get to know their great-grandmother. I am not sure how many others can say that. She so loved my children, as they loved her. Grady has taken this very well, as he understands (or seems to, anyway) that Nonnie is an angel, his angel, and will be with him forever.

Nonnie never had a cruel word to say about anyone. We moved back here when I was young to live with her. There were a lot of things she could have said about my Daddy, as we had left him. She bit her tongue during holidays and birthdays and always welcomed him in her home to break bread with all of us.

There are tons of memories that I will keep in my head and heart forever about my grandmother. She was the most special person I have ever, or will ever, know. I am sure there are tons of people running around the town and county who, too, have great memories of her - at Crawford’s Drug Store, the Chamber of Commerce, the South Reporter and Collier Carlton’s law office. She touched so many lives in such a positive way. I know that she is at peace and will always be remembered with a smile.

Those who attended Nonnie’s service from out of town were Rita and Johnny Langus of Mobile, Ala., Shelby French of Humboldt, Tenn., Bea McCrosky of Jackson, Alex McCrosky from Az., Alan and Laura Clayton of Memphis, Tenn., Beverly and Shelby Fitch of Collierville, Tenn., Andy Seale of Nashville, Tenn., Hamilton Seale of Pensacola, Fla., John and Paula Farese of Oxford and Ruff Fant of Washington, DC.

Katy and Chris Barbour of Nashville, Tenn., were guests of Margaret Ann and Norbert Barruel last week.

Helene Doxey of Waveland, spent the Christmas holidays with her aunt, Hallie Chatham, and her brother, Ralph Doxey.

James and Tricia Johnson of Asheville, NC, were visitors of her great-aunt, May Alice Booker, earlier last week. Later in the week, May Alice’s neices, Sandra Nevin and Linda Tiller of Greenville, SC, arrived to spend time with her.

John and Mimi Benoist and children, Frances and Logan, of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Mary Ann and Paul Van der Voort and children, Hunter, Sterling and Hayden, of Nashville, Tenn., spent the New Year with their mother, Jeane Benoist. While here, they also celebrated Jeane’s birthday with her. Happy Birthday!

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