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In this family with five living generations of females, lots of heads turn when someone calls for 'Nanny.'
In August, the five generations of the family enjoyed a trip to one of their favorite places, Nags Head. Shirley Gutridge is seated, with (from left) Addison, Stephanie and Emily Williams and Kathy Parker.
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By CATHY DYSON
When Stephanie Williams became a grandmother almost three years ago, she was the seventh generation of women in her family to carry on a certain tradition.
She became known as "Nanny" to her granddaughter, Addison Mae Williams, who was born Oct. 26, 2009.
The only problem is, two other women in the group have the same title. That's what happens when there are five living generations in one family.
But Williams, who is in the middle generation, and others came up with a solution so little Addy could tell one Nanny from another.
Addy calls the senior member of the group Nanny Shirley.
That's Shirley Gutridge, who is 81. She suffers from Alzheimer's disease, but still recognizes family members and is drawn to her great-great-granddaughter.
"She just lights up like a Christmas tree when Addy walks into the room," said Kathy Parker.
Parker is 61, Gutridge's daughter and the representative of the second-oldest generation, even though she doesn't look nearly old enough to be a great-grandmother.
She's known to Addy as Nanny Kat.
Then there's Addy's "real" Nanny, Stephanie Williams, who is 42.
Each of the women in the three older generations is called Nanny by her own grandchildren. The only time that's a problem is when the whole clan is together. Three female heads turn at the mere mention of "Nanny," then the women figure out which one has been summoned.
Stephanie Williams' daughter, Emily, is 19 and gave birth to Addy when she was 16.
"It was quite a surprise," Stephanie Williams said about Addy's birth, "but she has turned out to be the joy of so many lives."
Emily Williams wasn't the only female in her family to become a mother as a teenager. Her grandmother and great-grandmother did the same, and Emily thinks it's neat that her family has so many living generations.
"Growing up, I used to love saying I had a great-grandmother because nobody else ever had one," Emily Williams said. "It's great to have all these women around. They're there for me all the time."
Stephanie Williams also has been surprised to hear from friends who act as if spending time with their grandparents is a chore.
When she was younger and her grandmother lived in Jacksonville, Fla., she couldn't wait for family vacations and trips to Disney World.