Naomi and Olive – Two Truly Southern Women
I am often asked what is the story behind the name of your store, Naomi & Olive? Who were these women? My shop is named for my two grandmothers, Naomi Jordan and Olive Fannin. Let me tell you a little bit about these two fascinating Southern women…
Naomi Jordan was my paternal grandmother. Naomi grew up in South Georgia, the oldest of a passel of kids. Her father was an itinerant pastor and, as such was his occupation, the family was dirt poor. My grandmother remembered never wearing shoes in the summer, as they needed to save them for colder weather. She married my grandfather, Thomas Jordan, before WWII, and they had two children, my father, William, and my Aunt Betty. My grandfather was gone, serving in the Philippines for four years during the war, and was sent home wounded. My grandmother had learned early on to weather whatever life tossed her way, and she was a tough lady.
Although life was hard at times, Naomi had the sunniest disposition and was so much fun! I adored her from an early age. She was thrifty and resourceful. My grandfather worked as a “milkman” for years with Sealtest Dairy, which has inspired my collection of vintage Sealtest bottles and advertising items. He rose early every morning to deliver milk and Naomi was right there fixing his breakfast and seeing him off to work. I lived down the street from them until I was five and some of my earliest memories are from their home. I loved to spend the night at their house on Friday nights. My grandfather retired early, but my grandmother (we always called her “Mom”) would pull out the sleeper sofa, make us a snack, and turn the television on to “The Honeymooners”. I would snuggle up and we would watch until I fell asleep.
Naomi loved to play cards and she also fried the best catfish and hushpuppies I have ever eaten. I think my love for family games, vintage style, and good Southern food were all inspired by Naomi Jordan, my “Mom!” I like to think that she would love all the kitchen items and adorable dish towels that we stock.
My maternal grandmother was Olive Fannin. Her background was very different from Naomi’s, but equally as inspirational. Olive came to the United States of America on a ship as an immigrant from England. She was eight years old when she landed on US soil. Her father and brothers worked in the iron mills of Birmingham, Alabama for years. My grandfather, her husband Iry Fannin, was a supervisor at US Steel. They lived in a modest house, but my earliest memories of their home are of the lovely décor and handmade items. Olive was quite a seamstress, as well as a master of crochet.
My great grandmother lived in their home until her death (before I was born) and many of the lovely items she had brought from England, including a tea set, graced the home. Olive was a fantastic cook as well, and I grew up eating Yorkshire pudding and other English treats! She passed on the talents of cooking and sewing to my Mom – many of the adorable outfits I wore as a child were made by my Mom as a result.
Olive was never happier than when she was in the kitchen. Her desserts were legendary. She never forgot her British heritage and those foods, but she also became an accomplished Southern cook. I still possess some of her recipe cards written in her hand, and several of her cookbooks. I also want to inherit her big yellowware bowl that is now in my Mom’s kitchen! I like to think that she would love all the pottery and handmade textiles at Naomi & Olive.
So, there you have it – Naomi & Olive! Come visit us and grace your home with lovely items that will become a memorable part of your home. After all, isn’t the unique character of homes from your childhood a special part of your memories?