Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nana Everywhere

My grandmother, whom we called Nana, was one of a kind. She grew up on a farm in the Ozarks in Missouri, near the Alabama border, the daughter of a Scottish immigrant and a Cherokee woman. As long as I knew her (she died in 2004) she favored the same style: bold print polyester shirts and slacks, her hair cut short, permed and dyed black. She didn't really look like anyone else's grandmother. She had her own style. Nana style.

Nana with my brother and I in the late '90s. By this time she had pretty much stopped dying her hair.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived in Korea and found that my Nana's style was the style for old ladies. And when I say the style, I mean it. There is no variation. All of the halmoni (grandmothers) here dye their hair black and wear it short and permed, and they favor bold print shirts and slacks. They're even her same size: tiny! My Nana is everywhere.

Nana style at the bus stop.
I really miss my Nana. She and my grandfather, whom we called Joe, lived nearby, so my brother and I often stayed with them while my parents went out of town. We were pretty close, and since she passed there's been a Nana-shaped hole in my life. But now I can see her everyday.

It's wonderful.


  1. awwww. i think my grandma is the only halmoni who doesn't dress like that. so i guess she's like your grandma in the sense that she has her own style.

  2. thats alrit just get 1 of thoz korean gramas 2 b ur neeeew nana