Alice and Fran are my grandmothers; matriarchs of large, working-class, Catholic families in Dorchester and Milton, MA. To me they represent strength, hard work, fearlessness, fierce loyalty and self-possessed femininity. Two completely different people raising families less than three miles apart, likely unaware of the impact they would have on the generations of women that followed. I’m one of those women, 7 grandchildren on one side and 19 on the other. There’s great grandchildren now on both sides and I expect great-great grandchildren within the next few years.
Alice (Costello) McNeill, (1929 – 1988) My Dad’s mother and, more importantly, my Nana Alice. She passed away when I was in 6th grade and sadly, I don’t know much about Alice as a person, as a woman, but I do know she was an incredibly fun Nana. She cooked my grandfather’s meals, did all the housework, yardwork, laundry, shopping and bills. Yet she still had time to sit with me in the front yard on those tortuous thigh pinching plastic lounge chairs; two baby oil slathered, sun worshiping ladies with their feet cooling in a kiddie pool and a can of TAB warming in their hands. She grew roses too. Nothing fancy just red, white, pink and yellow American roses that smelled amazing. She stockpiled cans of Fruit Punch under the kitchen table and rainbow sherbet in the freezer, which BTW came together to make the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on a lady’s mood. She tracked down, paid an exorbitant price for and gave me my first Cabbage patch doll for Christmas. She loved sunshine, flowers, dogs and bargain shopping. Me too.
Frances Mackenzie (Smith) Loughran (1920 – 2013) My Mom’s mother and my Nana Loughran. If Alice was the fun Nana, Fran was the stand-up-straight, help-your-mother Nana. She served in the British army in WWII, raised seven children in a house with one bathroom, took in countless relatives and future SIL’s. She baked irresistible lemon Danish, smoked Kent’s while stirring the Thanksgiving gravy and wore pearls/pencil skirts/heeled boots well into her 80’s. She was smart, stylish and confident with an old school appreciation for well-behaved children, Manhattans and civilized beach cottage vacations involving paperback novels, water only up to one’s knees and afternoon cocktails. I attribute my love of reading, the beach and craft cocktails to her. I tend to think she’d like that.
When I was thinking of potential names for my cannabis accounting & finance firm I knew from a practical perspective it needed to be short, easy to remember and unique, but not too much so. But it also had to be deeply personal and meaningful; to reflect the significance of my taking control of my education, professional experience and passion for my career; moving from corporate life to cannapreneur life. I considered places, phrases, animals, flowers, finance terms, play on words, etc. Nothing felt quite right until I started to put together the names of people I love, who also had a wonderfully positive influence on my life.
And there it was, Alice & Fran.