Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back from Memphis

The real Ociee Nash (Whitman) was honored this weekend as a new inductee into the Saint Agnes Academy "Hall of Fame." Her family, the Whitmans, could not have been more delighted or prouder. Surely Ociee herself was dancing on the clouds as her name was called and so kindly added to the list of other outstanding graduates of the school.

The organizers permitted me to accept the award and to speak on Ociee's behalf. For the occasion, I had planned to read my grandmother's own words of praise from a 1925 "75th" anniversary publication.
In her beautifully penned piece, Ociee writes about St. Agnes Academy, happily recalling her treasured years there, most especially, as she singles out several of the beloved Dominican nuns. I would follow her words with a personal memory of my own, regarding my grandmother's support and devotion to our school.

HOWEVER, just before the program began, I was told Ociee's tribute in the decades old publication so touched the committee, they would introduce me by quoting directly from her text! YIKES.

Although I'd not planned to read from one of my books, I had little choice. Right?! So I read from the chapter where George Nash takes his daughter Ociee into St. Agnes (the original building on Vance) for the very first time.

KNOWING MY GRANDMOTHER, I have to believe she orchestrated every moment of the Hall of Fame event, including the shameless "tooting of my own horn." After all, she was a business woman with a keen sense of promoting things about which she cared, including St. Agnes and, fortunately for me, including her granddaughter's work!

Friday night's celebration was one of the best evenings of my life. I will be forever grateful to the school, of course, and also to Jane Tonning, Ginger Jordan, Suzanne Gehringer, Marta Patrick, and to Barbara Daush, O.P.A., president of St. Agnes and St. Dominic School.

I truly hope Ociee Nash Whitman enjoyed her front row seat . . . I saved one right next to me.

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