I grew up in a neighborhood and at a time where most of the children were sent outside to play. But I preferred to be inside. When I was a very little girl, my mother finally convinced me to go outside and play with the other kids in the area. So one day I rode my tricycle down the street where we lived and some children pushed me off. I left my bike right there, went running home, and refused to ever go back out again. Whenever my parents tried to get me to play with the other children, I'd always find a way to sneak back into the house. One summer afternoon, my mother decided that I should spend the day outdoors. She sent me on my way to play and locked the door behind me so I couldn't get back inside. Thankfully, my mother's mother, whom I called Nana, lived with us. She came to the door and saved the day. I remember her turning to my mother and saying, "Jeanette, you cannot lock this child outside. She's just a little girl!" So they let me back in. I immediately ran up to my room and spent the rest of the day putting on a show with my favorite dolls and stuffed animals. Whenever I'd put on these shows, I'd imagine an audience the size of the Ed Sullivan Theater inside my bedroom. And let's be clear, it was standing room only. Later that afternoon my parents thought I'd had a breakthrough when they heard what they imagined were a couple of kids from the neighborhood playing with me. It turns out that the various voices they overheard were all mine. It was just me, playing and performing all by myself.
I adored my mother's mother -- my grandmother Nana. She was very jolly and had a warm spirit. She was exactly what a grandmother should be -- kind, loving, and affectionate. Nana had a very sweet fox terrier named Snookie, whom I also adored. But I must be perfectly honest with you. Until recently, the name Snookie has always meant so much to me because it reminds me of my grandmother. Now unfortunately, I can barely say the name without conjuring up thoughts of the Jersey shore. It just isn't right that such a precious memory has been tainted?make that tanned?by the association!