Nick Pompei Photography | 21/52 - 52 Most Influential People

21/52 - 52 Most Influential People

January 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment


Mary Ellen 'Nanny' Pompei 21/52


Meet The Person:

Mary Ellen “Nanny” Pompei - Grandmother.

Mary Ellen is a retired mother of three, grandmother of five and great grandmother of three. Mary is a retired industry worker. She has worked off and on in various factory jobs for most of her adult life. She has worked part time the last few years when her company has needed extra work but has since retired.

Now that she is retired, Mary enjoys her time off. She likes being able to sleep in and wake up on her own terms. Not having anything to do most days is certainly a perk of being retired! Mary is also a huge football fan, especially watching the Eagles. If you have ever watched football with Mary Ellen, it is a spirited adventure in and of itself! She will often go to watch the local team, Pennridge High School, play football games.

Mary Ellen also has a great group of friends that she is still very close with. In fact, many of these girls are long time friends from high school. They have remained a close knit group after all these years and still get together whenever they can.

Mary also likes spending time up in the Poconos whenever she gets the chance. The Poconos was always the vacation destination, staying in her cabin off of Lake Nockamixon. 


Influence 21/52Mary Ellen 'Nanny' Pompei Nanny with her great smile



Nanny. Nan. Mar. Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen Hellen Watermellon. Yep, that’s Nanny! Mary Ellen is my other surviving grandparent, along with last weeks model, Jeanette. And just as with Jeanette, Nanny helped to raise me. I would usually go over their house right after school for many years. The best part about growing up was how close Nanny lived to us. She literally lived a half mile from my house, right on the other side of route 313. Not that we were allowed to walk there, but it sure made it nice to quickly get to and from their house.

I loved going over to their house. They had a nice rancher sitting on a cool piece of land off the side of a hill and overlooking Lake Nockamixon. They had a cool basement as well, with a tv and some chairs and couches. My grandfather had a really nice coal burning stove down there to keep the house warm. And the best part about that basement? The rocking chair. Not just any rocking chair, an heirloom rocking chair that was my grandfathers growing up. It was a little kids chair and had this nice black muted finish on it. I would sit and rock on that chair watching tv for hours! When I got older, I would set up couch cushions behind the chair and see how far back I could rock it before tipping over. That would keep me entertained for hours! If it were only that simple anymore. And the best part about that chair, was this past Christmas Eve, my son Cooper got to sit on that chair and “rocky rocky” back and forth. It’s crazy how life comes full circle.

Christmas Eve was without a doubt the best time to be at Nanny’s house. It has been a long standing tradition that the Pompei side of the family goes over to her house on Christmas Eve. I am pretty confident that I have not missed a Christmas Eve at Nanny’s for 31 years running! They used to put old school silver tinsel on the tree and put it right in the big bay window out front. Going over there and being with that side of the family was a blast. And when it was over it wasn’t that depressing because the big man was coming that night and you had plenty more to open the next day!

I had a few friends from school that lived on her street. So we would hang out after school down at the creek right next to Nanny’s house that fed into the lake. We would catch crayfish and frogs, skip stones and spend hours on end down there until it was dark. I loved being down at that creek. It’s one of those things that as a kid you think it’s just ‘normal’ to have something like that right next to your grandmothers house. But looking back now, it was a great way to connect with nature and be outside instead of playing video games inside. We need more creeks for kids these days!

And lastly, this write-up wouldn’t be complete without a funny story. My sister and I stayed over Nanny’s house for a night or two when my parents went away. I was around 10 years old or so. And I get out of the shower and put my sweatpants on to head to school and all of a sudden I start getting this crazy pinching pain on the inside of my thigh. Then again and again. I am now jumping around trying to rip my pants off, Nanny is standing in the hallway asking me what the heck is going on and of course laughing at me. I finally get my pants off to find a yellowjacket buzzing around in there. To this day she still brings up that story and laughs her butt off!

I am so fortunate to have two unbelievable ladies in my life that I get to call my Grandmothers. Nanny is full of piss and vinegar and is an absolute riot to be around. Her laugh is infectious and instantly makes everyone else around her laugh right along. She is extremely kind and will help you out with whatever you need. She is the glue that binds the Pompei family and I am so glad that Cooper gets to have Nanny in his life too. I love you Nanny, thanks for everything. 



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